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Too Many Ideas in your Mind? Let Your Hyper Creative Mind To Achieve Success

Too Many Ideas in your Mind? Let Your Hyper Creative Mind To Achieve Success

There’s no doubt about it – your hyper creative mind operates on a different level. You listen to people around you who long to rejuvenate their creativity.

But you? You can’t seem to shut your creativity up.

At all hours of the day and night random great ideas pop willy-nilly into your mind. And from the outside this would seem to be a great thing.

But it’s not. Your hyper creative mind is running you ragged. You’re chasing all your ideas and not completing what you set out to do. Frankly, you’re not really getting anywhere.

How can that be?

How can you be so creatively brilliant but never seem to achieve the level of success you know you could?

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Because you might be suffering from a hyper creative mind.

Understanding the Hyper Creative Mind

Hyper creative people have traits that are similar to ADHD:

The traits of inattention, impulsiveness, restlessness, daydreaming, lack of social skills, enthusiasm, hyperactivity, and difficulty in finishing projects are descriptive of successful and creative people as well as “ADDers.” (http://borntoexplore.org/evolve.htm)

Which means if you are hyper creative your inability to remain excited about a project once you get part way into it, is not simply because you are lazy, have no stick-to-it-ness, or just don’t care. Part of your brain is hardwired to want to spend all it’s time just creating those new brilliant ideas that get you so stoked up.

Now that we know it’s not all your fault that you’re this way, the question is, what can you do about it?

What can you do to turn that hyper-creative fire into hyper-success?

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3 Steps to Keep Your Hyper Creative Mind on Task

1. Be Aware of Your Brain’s Battle

Be mindful of what’s going on in your brain.On a simplistic level your brain has two systems that fight for control:

a)  The instinctual system that keeps you alive (if it’s cold get warm, if you’re hungry, eat). Your instinctual system lives in the moment and often knows what’s best for you (finish the project, get the paycheck).

b) And you have your intelligence system. This system can think and reason and decide what you might or might not want to do. This system allows you to override what might be best (you know it would be healthier if you went out and got that exercise but well, you’d rather watch TV).

As the two control systems battle it out the result is that you don’t always do the “right” thing. Every human has this internal battle, but for the hyper-creative person the bombardment of ideas creates fertile ground for more frequent and exhausting fighting. As in, you know you need to finish that project but the impulse to pursue your new idea feels too strong to ignore.

2. Explore Your Personal Hyper Creative Pattern

Ask yourself these questions:

  • On any given project, when do you begin to lose focus or interest?
  • Is it not too long after you begin a project?
  • When you start on the final stretch before the end of a project?
  • Do certain types of projects always lead to loss of interest?
  • Do you do better when you work in a group or alone?
  • When you have short or long deadlines?
  • Do you hate paperwork or love to see reams of organized folders?

Once you get when you begin to lose focus and what types of projects lead to lackluster interest, think about what the signals might be that precede your usual crash and dropping off a project. Do you start finding excuses to do other things? Do you stop keeping to a schedule or start calling friends? Do you start poking holes in your project and decide it’s just too flawed? Or do you simply start to cut corners and do less than your best?

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Take some time responding to the above questions because understanding your personal hyper-creative pattern will help you develop the best emergency plan in step 3.

3. Prepare an Emergency Stay-on-Task Plan

Generally speaking, hyper-creative people have strong highs and lows. You probably know this about yourself – you get that new idea and pow! you are higher than a kite and feel it’s this idea that will not only make the world a better place, but will skyrocket you to fame and riches. The best time to put your emergency plan into action is when you are on a high and you’ve just hit one of your signals (step 2) that the crash and loss of interest is coming.

The following ideas are suggestions to get you started on your own stay on task plan. But use what you know about yourself, and your responses in step 2, to develop a plan that is specific to your pattern and your needs.

Idea 1. Create a no way out for yourself

If you are the type of person who hates to disappoint people you can use this. Tell your boss you will have the project complete by Thursday and even if you have to stay up all Wednesday night you’ll probably get it done because you want to avoid having to go into their office and saying, “I’m sorry, I didn’t get it done after all.” For humans, avoiding discomfort is a strong tool so figure out something you want to avoid and then build that into your emergency plan.

Idea 2. Chunk the remaining project tasks

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Most steps of any project have multiple smaller steps. Even when you start to lose interest there are most likely aspects of the steps left that you innately enjoy. Breaking down what’s left into small bites will help you see that there are portions you’d still like to do.

Idea 3. Make your environment more fun

As you face your usual crash and loss of interest, make what you have left to do more fun. Is a fancy coffee drink a rare treat? Go to your favorite coffee house and get one while you sit there and crank through the dreaded paperwork. Or, if you always crash and burn at your desk, take your laptop outside. The point is to shake it up because that just might be enough so you can coast to safe project completion.

Don’t be hard on yourself. Keep in mind that even two steps forward and one step back is still moving forward. Ideas are great and what the world needs to continue to progress. Once you get a handle on your own hyper creative pattern you will begin to feel more like you are controlling it, rather than like it is controlling you. Then you can get back to being excited about all those great cool ideas with the confidence that now those very ideas that used to hinder your success can contribute to it.

Resource: The Hyper-Creative Personality by Blaire Palmer

Featured photo credit: Beautiful woman holding a paintbrush with colours coming out from it via Shutterstock

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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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