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Unleash your Inner Genius

Unleash your Inner Genius
Your Inner Genius

    Let’s say you are wrestling with a tough issue – maybe at work, at home, with your children or in your social life. You have been stuck for a while and you can’t seem to make a breakthrough. You want to come up with some really creative ideas. What can you do? Here are ten great practical ways to boost your inventiveness and to crack the problem:

    1. Ask why, why? Ask, ‘why has this issue arisen?’ Come up with six different reasons and for each of them ask, ‘why did this happen?’ Keep asking why for each cause. This helps you to better understand the different reasons why this is a problem and so in turn you will see different possible solutions.

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    2. Sleep on it. Ponder the issue and all its aspects for some time and then put it out of your mind. Get a good night’s sleep. The subconscious mind goes to work and often you come up with great ideas the next day.

    3. Talk it over with someone who has nothing to do with the situation. They will often ask basic questions or make seemingly silly suggestions that prompt good ideas. Two heads are better than one but people who are too close to the issue will often come up with the same ideas as you, so try an outsider.

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    4. Ask how some celebrity would tackle the issue – what would Steve Jobs do? Or Bob Geldof , or Richard Branson, or Salvador Dali or Margaret Thatcher or Madonna or Sherlock Holmes? Take each individual’s approach to its extremes and it will likely give you some radical solutions.

    5. Pick up any object at random and say to yourself, ‘this item contains the key to solving the problem.’ Then force some ideas. Try this with several different objects and you will have a selection of radical and inventive ideas.

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    6. Use similes. Try to think of a different problem in another walk of life that is like your problem. Say you want your staff at work to try new ways of working. You might imagine that this is like getting your children to eat vegetables. List various methods you might use with your children to encourage or persuade them to try vegetables. Then go through the list and then see if any of the ideas can be converted into things you can try at work.

    7. Imagine an ideal solution in a world where there are no constraints -e.g. you can use any resource you want. Now work back from that ideal and challenge each of the constraints that is holding you back from achieving it. Many of the obstacles can be overcome when you take this approach.

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    8. Open a dictionary and take any noun at random. Write down six attributes of that noun – so for tree you might write – root, branch, family, apple, trunk and tall. Then force some links between the word or its attributes and the problem in order to come up with fresh ideas. You will be surprised at how well this works – for individuals or in a group.

    9. Ponder the issue and then go for a walk around an art gallery or museum. The range of external stimuli will help you conceive plenty of new ideas.

    10. Draw a picture of the situation showing the people and the issues in simple cartoon style. Put it up on the wall and then imagine how the story could develop. Think of it as a cartoon strip. Many people’s brains work better in images than in words or numbers so this can lead to fantastic ideas.

    These methods work for individuals and for groups. Try them and see what suits you best. Above all keep reminding yourself – there are some great solutions for my problem – I haven’t found the right one yet but I will!

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    Paul Sloane

    Professional Keynote Speaker, Author, Innovation Expert

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    Last Updated on January 25, 2021

    6 Reasons Why Perfectionism Kills Your Productivity

    6 Reasons Why Perfectionism Kills Your Productivity

    Perfectionism sounds like a first world problem, but it stifles creative minds. Having a great idea but doubting your ability to execute it can leave you afraid to just complete and publish it. Some of the most successful inventors failed, but they kept going in pursuit of perfection. On the other end of the spectrum, perfectionism can hinder people when they spend too much time seeking recognition, gathering awards and wasting time patting themselves on the back. Whatever your art, go make good art and don’t spend time worrying that your idea isn’t perfect enough and certainly don’t waste time coming up with a new idea because you’re still congratulating yourself for the last one.

    1. Remember, perfection is subjective.

    If you’re worried about achieving perfectionism with any single project so much that you find yourself afraid to just finish it, then you aren’t being productive. Take a hard look at your work, edit and revise, then send it our into the world. If the reviews aren’t the greatest, learn from the feedback so you can improve next time.

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    2. Procrastination masquerades itself as perfectionism.

    People who procrastinate aren’t always lazy or trying to get out of doing something. Many who procrastinate do so because perfectionism is killing their productivity, telling them that if they wait a better idea will come to them.

    3. Recognize actions that waste time.

    Artists and all creative people need time to incubate; those ideas will only grow when properly watered, but if you’re not engaging in an activity that will help foster creativity, you might just be wasting time. Remember to do everything with purpose, even relaxing.

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    4. Don’t discriminate against your worth.

    No one is actually perfect. We often have tremendous ideas or write things that move people emotionally, but no one attains that final state of being perfect. So, don’t get down if your second idea isn’t as good as your first—or vice versa. Perfectionists tend to be the toughest critics of their work, so don’t criticize yourself. You are not your work no matter how good or how bad.

    5. Stress races your heart and freezes your innovation.

    Stress is a cyclic killer that perfectionists know well because that same system that engages and causes your palms to sweat over a great idea is the same system that kicks in and worries you that you’re not good enough. Perfectionism means striving for that ultimate level, and stress can propel you forward excitedly or leave you shaking in fear of the next step.

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    6. Meeting deadlines beats waiting for perfect work.

    Don’t let your fear of failure prevent you from meeting your deadline. Perfection is subjective and if you’re wasting time or procrastinating, you should just finish the job and learn from any mistakes. Being productive means completing work. You shouldn’t try for months or even years to perfect one project when you can produce projects that improve over time.

    Featured photo credit: morguefile via mrg.bz

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