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How Reserving a Domain Name Can Boost Creativity

How Reserving a Domain Name Can Boost Creativity
How Reserving a Domain Name Can Boost Creativity

What secrets lie within your creativity? For some, an early morning workout will produce the idea of the century while another person might find journaling to be most helpful. As they say, whatever works for you is obviously helpful. One idea which I have put into practice has been the reservation of domain names. This is a relatively low-cost practice which integrates your concept with the new web media. Let me explain.

Domain names capture a hint of an idea. It might be a project that you are working on or a company that you’d like to start. Each of these needs a domain name for a timely roll-out. There is of course a dilemma- do you create something and then grab a domain after the fact or do you buy the domain and then shape the concept around it? As often is the case, it depends on whom you ask. In my case, domain reservation activates something inside of me, a creative energy that just might click with an idea that I’m working on. In web 2.0, catching a domain might in fact make the difference between a successful product and a flop.

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I’ll use my own story as an example. I started The Daily Saint, a productivity blog, in 2005 as a blog about being involved in ministry work. In the two years since then, my passion for productivity has grown and the blog reflects a more secular angle but the initial ministry component still bubbles up now and again. Ministry is a part of who I am and so I go surfing for domain names. I ask myself, “What name would capture my heart for ministry if I were to start a second blog?” It’s a great process to say the least and it stretches me to think creatively and find a unique angle for a new project.

What else can domain reservation do for you? Domain reservation can be useful in other ways such as:

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Turn an idea into something concrete. When something in your head becomes matched with a website, product or organization, you’ve taken it to another level. An idea has become tangible and concrete.

Turn a concept into something communal. Having a domain name brings your idea into the marketplace, so to speak. By “going public” with your idea, others get to share in its development and maturation.

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Give your ideas accountability. There’s nothing like RSS subscribers to keep you going in the blogging world. When hundreds or thousands of folks are reading your content every day, ideas take on weight and weight equals accountability.

Put some dough behind your creativity. Putting some money into an idea can also bring creativity to another level. With domain reservation at less than $10 per year, it’s an investment worth making.

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Put some routine into your idea. It’s no secret- the best bloggers are “routiners”. They post regularly and well and have exemplary habits when it comes to bringing their ideas into the light.

If you’ve got an idea that you’d like to test on the open market, why not reserve a domain name today to give it some street cred? It’s as easy as searching for what’s available and then making the leap of faith towards commitment.

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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