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Change Your Mind. 13 Exercises To Become A Creative Genius

Change Your Mind. 13 Exercises To Become A Creative Genius

It is time to de-bunk that myth about creativity being a God-given talent only given to a select few. The reality is that the ability to be creative is within all of us. The notable author Malcolm Gladwell also affirms this in his book Outliers. From chess champions to musical prodigies such as the Beatles, Gladwell highlights the fact that that many creative geniuses in history are simply a product of many hours practicing their craft.

The whole field of Neuroscience, specifically Neuroplasticity is buzzing with excitement with more and more research showing that the brain is very flexible in its ability to learn, acquire different traits, and go through significant changes. As more people are making amazing changes to their brain through training, it should be great encouragement for everyone wanting to cultivate a more creative mind.

Here are 13 exercises to get you started.

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1. Draw something.

Nobody is expecting you to be the next Picasso. And your first attempt may be a stick figure, but drawing has been shown to have significant effects in activating parts of your right brain. Whether it is your coffee mug, your laptop, or your sunglasses, take out a pencil and just start sketching.

2. Origami.

The wonderful Japanese art of Origami is about as creative as creativity can get. Take a piece of paper and turn it into something spectacular. There is no shortage of resources online to get you started on your first crane.

3. Genre jump.

Read something completely outside of your typical genre and style. Find an author that you have never read before and who writes in a style you are not used to. If you typically read romance novels, try read something from an academic journal. Cross over to the literary “dark side” and allow different genres to stretch you. It will allow you to think and write in more creative ways.

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4. Adjective spill.

Look out the window, what do you see? Quickly describe it ten different ways! The tree? Green, lush, tall, rough, beautiful, swaying—get that creativity flowing as you force your brain to throw out some descriptive words.

5. Become bilingual, or trilingual.

A great way to get your creative brain firing new neurons is to start learning that language you have always dreamed of. Pop down to the old second-hand book store and pick up a little phrase book. Start learning a new phrase each day and impress your friends while you are at it.

6. Look for a new life hack.

Always be on the lookout for how you could do something better or different. Use an empty water bottle to separate an egg. Turn your toaster sideways to grill cheese.

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7. Get musical.

The effects of music on the brain is tremendous, not just because of therapeutic aspects but also in the activation of so many different regions. Almost every song can be broken down to a progression of 4 different chords that you can easily learn on guitar or piano. With endless resources online, charge up your creative mind through exposing it to learning music.

8. Travel.

Exposure to a different culture, landscape, foods, and people is an amazing experience in and of itself. It is certainly great for developing your creative mind as it soaks up all the new information. You don’t need to go to the other side of the world either; any environment that is “new” for the mind is beneficial.

9. Lights, camera, action.

Pretend to be someone else for ten or twenty minutes. Put on that southern Texan drawl, or that British East-ender accent. Have a little fun and think of that movie character you have always wanted to play. Putting yourself in another person’s shoes will certainly force you into being creative.

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10. Increase your vocabulary.

Open up your dictionary and randomly choose a word, and then try and use it in a conversation today. There are lots of online dictionaries also that will already have a new word featured for each day. Keep a list and keep adding to it. A larger vocabulary will allow you to be more creative with your words.

11. Paint.

Painting, rather than drawing, adds the major use of color. The combinations and balances that you are challenged with developing will require a creative spark. There is a great connection between the mind and colors. Playing around with varying contrasts will produce creativity.

12. Become an Iron chef.

Pick 4 ingredients out of your fridge or pantry and see what you can manage to come up with. But careful not  to make yourself sick! Also, you could take one ingredient and see how many different ways you could use it.

13. Calisthenics, Parkour, and dancing.

Exercise is absolutely crucial for a healthy brain. Tie exercise together with creativity and you have a great combination. Calisthenics are exercises based off your own body weight. Many of these exercises can be done using furniture in your house or down at the park on the kids playground—people have become quite creative in what they can use. If you are really comfortable with your abilities, then Parkour is a great way to combine exercise and creativity. Otherwise, here is just another reason for you to start taking dance lessons!

Featured photo credit: Schlüsselbein2007 via flickr.com

More by this author

Thai Nguyen

Thai's a Mindfulness-Meditation Coach, a 5-Star Chef and an International Kickboxer.

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Last Updated on November 12, 2020

15 Reasons Why You Can’t Achieve Your Goals

15 Reasons Why You Can’t Achieve Your Goals

The truth about many of our failed goals is that we haven’t achieved them because we didn’t know how to set and accomplish goals effectively, rather than having not had enough willpower, determination, or fortitude. There are strings of mistakes standing in our way of accomplished goals. Fortunately for us, we don’t have to fall victim to these mistakes for 2015. There are many common mistakes we make with setting goals, but there are also surefire ways to fix them too.

Goal Setting

1. You make your goals too vague.

Instead of having a vague goal of “going to the gym,” make your goals specific—something like, “run a mile around the indoor track each morning.”

2. You have no way of knowing where you are with your goals.

It’s hard to recognize where you are at reaching your goal if you have no way of measuring where you are with it. Instead, make your goal measurable with questions such as, “how much?” or “how many?” This way, you always know where you stand with your goals.

3. You make your goals impossible to reach.

If it’s impossible of reaching, you’re simply not going to reach for it. Sometimes, our past behavior can predict our future behavior, which means if you have no sign of changing a behavior within a week, don’t set a goal that wants to accomplish that. While you can do many things you set your mind to, it’ll be much easier if you realize your capabilities, and judge your goals from there.

4. You only list your long-term goals.

Long-term goals tend to fizzle out because we’re stuck on the larger view rather than what we need to accomplish in the here and now to get there. Instead, list out all the short-term goals involved with your long-term goal. For instance, if you want to seek a publisher for a book you’ve written, your short-term goals might involve your marketing your writing and writing for more magazines in order to accomplished your goal of publishing. By listing out the short-term goals involved with your long-term goal, you’ll focus more on doing what’s in front of you.

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5. You write your goals as negative statements.

It’s hard to reach a goal that’s worded as, “don’t fall into this stupid trap.” That’s not inspiring, and when you’re first starting out, you need inspiration to stay committed to your goal. Instead, make your goals positive statements, such as, “Be a friend who says yes more” rather than, “Stop being an idiot to your friends.”

6. You leave your goals in your head.

Don’t keep your goals stuck in your head. Write them down somewhere and keep them visible. It’s a way making your goals real and holding yourself accountable for achieving them.

Achieving Goals

7. You only focus on achieving one goal at a time, and you struggle each time.

In order to keep achieving your goals, one right after the others, you need to build the healthy habits to do so. For instance, if you want to write a book, developing a habit of writing each morning. If you want to lose weight and eventually run a marathon, develop a habit of running each morning. Focus on buildign habits, and your other goals in the future will come easier.

Studies show that it takes about 66 days on average to change or develop a habit.[1] If you focus on forming one habit every 66 days, that’ll get you closer to accomplishing your goals, and you’ll also build the capability to achieve more and more goals later on with the help of your newly formed habits.

8. You live in an environment that doesn’t support your goals.

Gary Keller and Jay Papasan in their book, The One Thing, state that environments are made up of people and places. They state that these two factors must line up to support your goals. Otherwise, they would cause friction to your goals. So make sure the people who surround you and your location both add something to your goals rather than take away from them.

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9. You get stuck on the end result with your goals.

James Clear brilliantly suggests that our focus should be on the systems we implement to reach our goals rather than the actual end result. For instance, if you’re trying to be healthier with your diet, focus more on sticking to your diet plan rather than on your desired end result. It’ll keep you more concentrated on what’s right in front of you rather than what’s up in the sky.

Keeping Motivated

10. You get discouraged with your mess-ups.

When I wake up each morning, I focus all my effort in building a small-win for myself. Why? Because we need confidence and momentum if we want to keep plowing through the obstacles of accomplishing our goals. Starting my day with small wins helps me forget what mess-ups I had yesterday, and be able to reset.

Your win can be as small as getting out of bed to writing a paragraph in your book. Whatever the case may be, highlight the victories when they come along, and don’t pay much attention to whatever mess-ups happened yesterday.

11. You downplay your wins.

When a win comes along, don’t downplay it or be too humble about it. Instead, make it a big deal. Celebrate each time you get closer to your goal with either a party or quality time doing what you love.

12. You get discouraged by all the work you have to do for your goals.

What happens when you focus on everything that’s in front of you is that you can lose sight of the big picture—what you’re actually doing this for and why you want to achieve it. By learning how to filter the big picture through your every day small goals, you’ll be able to keep your motivation for the long haul. Never let go of the big picture.

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13. You waste your downtime.

When I take a break, I usually fill my downtime with activities that further me toward my goals. For instance, I listen to podcasts about writing or entrepreneurship during my lunch times. This keeps my mind focused on the goal, and also utilizes my downtime with motivation to keep trying for my goals.

Wondering what you can do during your downtime? Here’re 20 Productive Ways to Use the Time.

14. You have no system of accountability.

If you announce your goal publicly, or promise to offer something to people, those people suddenly depend on your accomplishment. They are suddenly concerned for your goals, and help make sure you achieve them. Don’t see this as a burden. Instead, use it to fuel your hard work. Have people depend on you and you’ll be motivated to not let them down.

15. You fall victim to all your negative behaviors you’re trying to avoid with your goals.

Instead of making a “to-do” list, make a list of all the behaviors, patterns, and thinking you need to avoid if you ever want to reach your goal. For instance, you might want to chart down, “avoid Netflix” or “don’t think negatively about my capability.” By doing this, you’ll have a visible reminder of all the behavior you need to avoid in order to accomplish your goals. But make sure you balance this list out with your goals listed as positive statements.

How To Stop Failing Your Goal?

If you want to stop failing your goal and finally reach it, don’t miss these actionable tips explained by Jade in this episode of The Lifehack Show:

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Bottom Line

Overcoming our mistakes is the first step to building healthy systems for our goals. If you find one of these cogs jamming the gears to your goal-setting system, I hope you follow these solutions to keep your system healthy and able to churn out more goals.

Make this year where you finally achieve what you’ve only dreamed of.

More Goal Getting Tips

Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

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