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You Can Have A Creative Life If You Follow These Rules

You Can Have A Creative Life If You Follow These Rules

We all want a creative life, but actually living one can feel like a challenge at times. The thing to remember though is that living a creative life is a habit more than anything else, and as with all habits there are certain rules you can follow that make sticking to it easy.

If you’re wanting to life a more creative life, follow these ten rules and you’ll soon find living a creative life to be easier than you imagined.

1. Learn to say no to things that don’t light you up

To live a creative life you need to be specific about what you do and don’t let into your life. By saying no to things that don’t light you up and excite you, you’ll be making room for the things that do. You can’t do everything, so make sure the things you are doing are the very best for you and your creativity.

2. Let curiosity guide you

Let your curiosity guide your creativity and really take the time to explore. Being creative is all about exploration and discovery, so let your imagination run wild and be open to the possibilities of what could be. You never know what amazing opportunities might come your way.

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3. Expect, accept & embrace your natural imperfections

Nothing is perfect, and neither is your creative work. It’s easy to fall into the trap of lamenting your imperfections but they are natural and completely normal. Creative work isn’t meant to be ‘perfect.’ It’s meant to be real and raw, made by a human being not by a machine. Embrace the imperfections in your work and you’ll see yourself flourish creatively.

4. Don’t compare yourself with others

Comparison can be a huge trap in living a creative life. The problem when you compare is that you’re not comparing like for like. When you compare your work, with all its known inconsistencies and struggles, to someone else’s carefully curated presentation of their work, you are comparing two completely different things. It’s simply not a fair comparison, and you will lose every single time. Remember your creative work is wonderful and unique just as it is, there is no need for comparison.

5. Make the space and time live a creative life

Living a creative life is easy when you have the time and space dedicated to make it work. Even if you work a full time job and live in a tiny apartment, you can still make a small time and space for your creativity. It might be as small as a simple desk in the corner of your lounge room and small daily commitment to show up and create.

6. Create a daily creativity habit and stick to it

There’s amazing power in forming a daily creativity habit, and it doesn’t need to be a huge time commitment either. If all you have time for is 30 minutes a day, start with that. Commit to a specific time of day every single day and make that your time to create. Schedule it in like an appointment and stick to it as part of your daily routine. There is amazing power in forming a daily habit, it’s time to start harnessing it for your creativity.

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7. Stop being your own worst critic

For all the criticism you might get from others, it’s quite likely that you are actually your own worst critic. Think about the way you’re talking to yourself about your creative work and consider whether it’s negative or positive. If you find it’s leaning towards the negative end of the spectrum, put an end to it by affirming some more positive thoughts. Your work is good enough, you have enough time and you will get there!

8. Keep learning

To live a creative life, it’s important that you never stop learning. There are so many great creators who have come before us and there is a lot you can learn from them. Whatever your particular creative field, make an effort to learn something new every week. It could be as simple as reading the story of a great creator in your field or as in-depth as learning a completely new style or technique. Learning keeps your creative mind active and your ideas fresh.

9. Expose yourself to new experiences

Living a creative life and creating every day means you need to expose yourself to new experiences. Drawing an idea from within during the creative process can be difficult at times, particularly when you are lacking experiences to draw from. Living is what informs your creativity. It is where you will draw your inspiration from and its importance cannot be underestimated. So get out there and do something new!

10. Keep showing up no matter what

If you want to live a creative life, you need to keep showing up and creating no matter what. We all have down days when we’re not feeling inspired but the most important thing to remember is that inspiration comes from doing. The more you show up and engage with creative work, the more inspired you’ll feel.

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11. Connect with a creative community

Creative community is so important. It will keep you on track, motivated, inspired and give you an amazing support system. If you want to live a creative life, find some creative people in your area to connect with.  They’ll be there for you to support and encourage you in your work, while you’re cheering them on with theirs too.

12. Don’t restrict yourself to one creative medium

Just because you consider yourself to be a writer, painter or designer, does not mean that’s all you should ever do.  If you’re feeling like you want to explore a new creative area then let yourself do that.  Living a creative life isn’t about pursuing one creative medium relentlessly, it’s about experimenting and finding what works.

13. Share your creative accomplishments

Always share your creative accomplishments with others! You’ve worked hard to get there and your good work shouldn’t go unrecognized.  Show off your creative work with pride.

14. Let your creativity evolve over time

Your creativity should be ever evolving, growing and changing. Don’t box yourself in just because you think your style or medium is all you should ever do. The magic of living a creative life is that you can steer it in any direction you choose. Let your creativity evolve with time, it might surprise you.

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15. Don’t forget to have fun (because creating is meant to be fun!)

Don’t forget to enjoy yourself, creativity is meant to be fun! Let your imagination run wild, experiment with different materials and when the pressure is getting too much, create something just for the fun of it. No goals, no pressure – just creativity running free!

Photo credit: Abby Lanes, Flickr, CC

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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