Creativity is the driver of human progress. Without creative individuals thinking of innovative technologies and solutions, we would have been stuck in a cave rather than enjoying the comforts of an air-conditioned room. Think about it for a minute.
The first person who invented the wheel changed the whole world. And he or she invented it because they looked at a piece of log and decided that it should be cut into round shapes for better mobility when attached to a platform. If they continued to look at the wood just as wood alone, then maybe the thought of using it to create a wheel might never have entered their mind.
Even though we have progressed very far, creative thinking is still an important ingredient of success, whether it was the thought process that led to the creation of the atom bomb which gifted America victory in WWII or the Windows operating system created by Bill Gates that revolutionized computing prowess in the world, creativity is the key.
And if you are someone who is struggling to think creatively and come up with new, radical ideas to improve your life or the situation you’re surrounded with, then the following six techniques can help you open up your mind.
1. Accumulate more knowledge
Being creative requires that you have good enough knowledge about a wide range of topics. Someone who is only focused on computer engineering has a far lower chance of coming up with new, creative ideas when compared to someone who knows computer engineering, web server management, and online marketing.
While the first person will remain limited to being a chemical engineer, the latter might think of combining some computer engineering concepts with online server management to create an entirely new product or service, which they can market on a social media platform. These niches might sound random, but you never know what comes from the most bizarre of combinations.
So, do yourself a favor and start learning and understanding new things rather than only being limited to your working knowledge. As you explore hitherto unknown areas, you will start connecting the various information, helping you come up with new ideas or radical solutions to existing problems. Did I mention it is also fun to learn about new topics? When you learn new topics for just the sake of it, it takes the pressure of application away, making it more fun.
2. Answer essential questions of a topic
An easy way to make yourself think creatively is first to analyze a topic based on a few essential questions. These essential questions include – how, what, why, when, where, and who. So, if you are tasked with understanding a market for a new product to be launched by your company, look at the market and ask yourself the following type of questions:
- Why should there be a demand for your product in the market?
- Who will want to buy your product? Who will not buy your product?
- How will your product be sold to the people? How will it be marketed?
- Where will your product be sold, in all shops or at franchise stores alone?
- When will the product be launched?
- What will be the price of your product? What will be the benefits of using your product?
The checklist will allow you to start thinking about a topic. The more you think about it, the more you will question it until you understand the situation completely. And in the process, you might come up with creative ways to launch and market your product.
3. Get back to nature
Try taking a break and spending some time in nature. It can be a hike for just a few hours. Or even a long walk. But as long as it involves you walking in the forest and breathing in the fresh air, the trip should do you good.
Make it a regular activity, and your creative thinking abilities are very likely to get a boost. In fact, some neuroscience studies suggest that spending time in natural surroundings can boost problem solving and creativity of a person by up to 50%. That is definitely a good improvement considering that the only thing you have to do is to spend some time among the trees.
And many scientists have a good explanation for it. Apparently, being stuck in the concrete jungle of the cities, surrounded by numerous Wi-Fi devices and electronic equipment, dampens a section of the brain that deals with high-level creative thinking.
Hence, taking some time off from the city, and heading over to the forest is seen as a good way to get the front part of the brain to utilize itself to the fullest potential. So, the next time you feel like you are unable to think anything new – just hit the road.
4. Join a creative community
One of the best ways to start thinking creatively is to join a creative community. You should preferably look for a group which has no qualms with being supportive of any idea. For example, someone might come up with an idea to use ants as an investigative tool by hooking it up with a tiny camera and sending it into sensitive locations to gather information.
Someone else might voice an idea which requires people to beg on the streets for a day to understand the mind of a beggar. Whatever ideas they may be, as long as the community is tolerant of hearing out wildly varying opinions and offering beneficial feedback and suggestions, it is definitely a group you should join.
Having like-minded creative people around you has many benefits. For one, you won’t restrict your thinking. Instead, you will learn to embrace and express it fully. Second, the people who hear out your ideas and concepts will offer their viewpoints too. And this can lead to brainstorming sessions that can lead you forward into newer concepts.
5. Keep an ‘idea-book’ handy
Always keep an ‘idea-book’ handy. An ‘idea-book’ is essentially a small, easy to carry notepad that you can write down your ideas. No matter where you are, whether at home, office, traveling on the train, or anywhere else, jot down ideas as soon as they pop up in your mind. It need not be anything revolutionary.
The ideas can be as ludicrous and out of the world as they possibly can, but you must make it a point to record it in your book. The purpose of this exercise is not to find a solution to any problem you are currently having but to simply unlock your limitless thinking potential.
For example, when traveling by bus, you might notice that people in the bus are often hooked onto their smartphones, having minimal interest in interacting with others. And suddenly you might come up with an idea for an app that makes it easier and safer for people to connect with strangers on a bus.
Note the idea in your pad. It does not matter whether you will follow it up and actually create an app. By simply writing down ideas, you are reassuring the mind that thinking creatively or differently is okay.
After a few weeks or months, when you take out your book and read all the things you have written, you will definitely be amazed at the ideas and thoughts that came up in your mind in your observations of the world. And by that time, coming up with new ideas and concepts will be natural to you.
6. Look at things differently
The simplest way to become more creative is to train yourself to look at things differently. A mind that does not question anything, and simply accepts whatever is fed into it is a mind of a person who has no potential to be creative. Having a different viewpoint about a thing can truly help you understand it more, while also helping you expand your creative thinking process.
For example, imagine that you are a peace officer tasked with ending the conflict between two warring clans in an African jungle. The normal course of action will be to first determine what the source of the conflict is, then to contact each group and try to resolve the differences between them by bringing them to a middle ground.
Now, if the conflict has been brewing for decades, then it will be a long time before both clans even agree to sit together.
So, abandon such linear, straightforward thoughts, and start looking at the conflict from a different perspective. The people in your peacekeeping mission might be asking themselves, “why are these two clans fighting.” Instead of focusing on that, you should ask yourself, “why haven’t these two clans killed off each other even though they have been fighting for decades?”
By asking this, you focus on finding out what is common between the clans rather than the differences between them, like other people have been doing till now. And eventually, you might find some common ground that brings both the clans together.
For example, you might discover that both clans share a common myth of their ancestors having come from afar off, dreamy place. You can then use the myth to bring the clans together by reminding them that they are brothers and sisters of the same ancestor.
So, no matter what you are tasked with, train yourself to look at the subject matter from different perspectives, and you will come up with newer ways to deal with them in whatever way you wish. And in the process, you will become more creative in your thinking.
Tapping into your creativity boils down to letting your brain think without any restrictions and giving yourself time to actually stop and think. Jotting down everything is the best way to get everything out there and free your mind up for new ideas. You can develop something great from your most outrageous thought.
Tips for Surviving Your Twenties
Your 20’s is supposed to be the time when you graduate your school, get introduced to the free wide world, get the freedom of doing what you want, the way you want, and when you want. The power struggle about making your own decisions is supposed to end, your parents can’t stop you anymore, well at least legally. You find love, start planning for vacations, go out drinking, have crazy experiences and so on.
Sadly, a lot of you would have had a confused face halfway through reading this, not if you’re in your teenage if that is the case then stop worrying, I don’t want you to be depressed from now. Well, the reality is that the twenties are not all fun, to be honest, it’s riddled with hard work, coming of age battles and responsibilities.
It’s always more difficult in the beginning. You have to get out of your comfort zone, start ‘acting’ like an adult, and when you see your first paycheck, all those arguments with your mum about not switching off your TV when you’re not watching start making more sense.
As much as a cliche it might sound like, working hard in your twenties does mean lesser problems in the future and finding financial stability in the thirties when you can’t burn the midnight oil as consistently as you can now. If you aren’t born with a silver spoon in your mouth, the reality is that you have to work hard to make a mark in the world and live a wealthy life. Considering this, it makes the most sense to work your hardest when you are comparatively younger with lesser responsibilities.
How do you survive your twenties? There isn’t a cheat code for this, but some things that might help are what we are going to be talking about today. These are things that I have learned from my experience and things that everyone experiences at some point.
Stop Thinking Too Much
Yes it’s hard, yes you have next to no free time, and yes you can’t see light at the end of the tunnel. When you are feeling low and want changes in your life, chances are you might research about, “what is the fastest way to earn money?”, believe me, we have all been there.
The rabbit hole that we get into throws a lot of choices towards us and we are tempted to do a lot of stuff half-heartedly rather than doing one thing with all our heart. The trick is to not think too much in the future – have a plan, but don’t fixate on the deadlines too much. Allow yourself the time and freedom to test uncharted territories. When you stop thinking too much, you allow yourself to be more inviting of opportunities which would otherwise go past you.
Money is Temporary, Health is Permanent
It’s such a common thing to do. When you are busy, you stop caring about working out or eating healthy. Yes, you are completely engaged in your busy twenties, but it honestly doesn’t take as much time to make small changes for better health.
When you are young, your body has better metabolism and responds to actions faster. Simply put, it is way more difficult to attain a healthy body and brain when you go past your twenties. Not only does a bad lifestyle cause bad health, but it also makes you less productive. Your body without proper care and food is simply not sharp enough to yield the results you are expecting. You don’t need to be busy to be productive is what you need to learn.
Monthly Budget with a Twist, Set Goals Before the Month
Don’t stop after creating a budget for the month. Start analysing your spending habits and categorise them with essential and luxury spendings. After this, you can set goals for the month to come.
Having a budget does not mean you need to be a miser and give up on things that make you happy. A budget simply helps you be transparent with your spendings, it helps you be in control of your financial life.
You Make Your Own Luck
Luck is unsurprisingly one of the most overused words since it is easier to blame your environment and other people rather than doing self-reflection and taking criticisms. If you look at most successful people, they’ll never claim that they knew they were going to be industry giants neither will they claim that there exists some well-kept secret that is only known to the people who succeed.
Successful people do simple things consistently and are not afraid to change and adapt if things are not going according to plans. You need to be hungry to grab any and all opportunities that are thrown at you. You are not owed an opportunity by the world, but if you get one, make sure you make the most of it because you never know when you’ll catch the attention of someone important who was once where you are. You make your own luck. You’re going to go through hardships anyway, make sure you make the most out of it.
Your twenties can feel daunting because you are thrown into a whole new world with very limited knowledge and expected to make the most of it. What you have to remember is that taking one day at a time is the best way to go about things when everything seems out of control. Taking a breather every now and then is the best way to grasp new concepts without getting overwhelmed by everything.
While these are your crucial years, they are also the years when you have the chance to learn and grow. While you need to grow in your career, you also need to grow as a person. Don’t be afraid to take risks or just take some time out for yourself.
Give priority to self-care. That is a concept that is widely under-estimated but holds a lot of power to keep you on your best. No matter how busy you are, take some time out for yourself and your loved ones.
The Importance of Having a Purpose in Life
“Having a purpose is the difference between making a living and making a life.”
At one point or the other, you are sure to come across the term, ‘Life Purpose.’ You will hear people talking about what they think the purpose of their life is, or how they are still looking for the purpose of their life. This question is closely bound to existential crises that many people face from time to time.
Having a purpose in life isn’t always about the greater good, about some spiritual thing, or something bigger than you. It is more about yourself, your calling, something that pushes you to keep moving in the direction of what you desire the most. When we think of anything related to purpose, cause, and effect – Buddha’s teachings are one of the first things that come to mind.
Buddha’s teachings were based on the Law of Cause and Effect- the Theory of Karma. Buddha preached that every good action has positive effects on an individual’s life and every wrong thought, word or dead has negative consequences.
Karma. What goes around comes back around. How many times have you heard this?
Each one of us has come into this world with a purpose is something that you will hear a lot – from people who have actually found it and from people who are pretending to fit it. You will get a lot of advice from all directions.
We are all here to observe, to learn, to grow and then we return home. Every effect has a cause. Being human is an effect. So it must have a cause. Each life has a different cause. We all have different stories and different endings. But the ultimate purpose of each living being on this planet is happiness. We live to be happy.
If you don’t think that, then close your eyes and think about what you truly want. Now, dissect it, think about having what you. Think about how it will make you feel. The underlying reason is satisfaction and happiness for everything. It might come in different forms, but at the end, it is the same.
“Good deeds bring good results. Bad deeds bring bad results. Your own actions bring your own results,” – this is what Karma basically entails. This is what leads you to find your purpose in life. When you know what you are chasing after, deciding the path becomes easier.
You aren’t fishing in the dark with no destination in sight. Knowing what you have to achieve, knowing what your calling is even if it doesn’t fit the mould of the society – is enough to push you to keep moving. It is the encouragement you need to get out of bed every morning to achieve what you want.
“I believe purpose is something for which one is responsible; it’s not just divinely assigned.”
-Michael J. Fox
We are always blaming everyone else for our mistakes and failure. But all these are excuses to hide our own deeds. All of our fate at this moment has been brought on by what we have worked for. It is our own actions not those of others at all times. When one door opens, it doesn’t stop there, it opens multiple others. Every action causes a chain reaction – domino effect if you may.
If we don’t have a person to blame our fate, we blame our bad luck. We say misfortune stuck us down. But the truth is our current situation is a direct or indirect effect of our past actions. We are affected by our own causes, and no one else’s. Our actions and our intentions. We may try to camouflage his intentions in his otherwise noble deeds, but at some point, all this leads back to us.
“If you organize your life around your passion, you can turn your passion into your story and then turn your story into something bigger―something that matters.”
Sometimes you are stuck in miserable situations and wonder if the universe is conspiring to bring you down. There are two ways to go about it – either you sit and complain about it for the rest of your life or you accept your circumstances and work hard to change your conditions.
Live your life to the fullest, but take responsibility for your actions. Improve your lifestyle. Have healthy habits. Developing your self is the first step to learning your purpose in life and doing it justice. People who know how to use time wisely will make it their aim to spend time on activities that help them advance on their purpose in life, and people who know what the purpose is will know not to waste time chasing things that don’t matter.
“There is no greater gift you can give or receive than to honor your calling. It’s why you were born. And how you become most truly alive.”
Why Chasing Your Dreams is a Scary Concept and Why You Need to Do it Anyway
A few years ago, a steady 9-to-5 job used to be the dream. We were all taught to aim for that, to have a goal to get a good job that can provide you with financial stability. You pursued education with the end goal of getting a job. Took personal loans, studied hard, worked while you studied to get by, got a job, kept working to pay the debt off, then continued working on getting yourself by – maybe get a car, a house – this was all we knew.
Starting your own business was risky, few people attempted it. It took a lot more commitment than just working for someone else. All of us heard this phrase – “Build your own dreams, or else someone else will hire you to build theirs” – it hit us at times, but we didn’t dare to chase our dreams because we had responsibilities and also debts to pay off.
So many people stayed in their jobs telling themselves that they will soon start out with their own venture, they just needed to pay their debt off and save some money as a financial cushion for themselves. But, the problem here is that once you get used to getting a stable paycheck, it becomes difficult to get on a road that is full of uncertainty and doesn’t even guarantee that you are going to get a paycheck in the initial few months.
Bill Gates, the wealthiest man in the world, was a college drop, who has about a million engineers working under him. Stories like his, people like him, are thrown around as examples a lot. What people often don’t see behind all the success is that success doesn’t come easy. You don’t achieve your goals just because you were lucky.
You either have a goal for yourself, or it is someone else’s plan you’ll be a part of. If you don’t work on building your dream, then it is evident that someone will hire you to build theirs, and that is the reality – that is how the world works. Many people who have dreams other than their jobs, try to convince themselves that this is not the case, but this is precisely what is happening. Inaction will get you nowhere even if you have a bucket full of luck showered over you.
You need to have a vision, and you need to have goals to turn your vision into reality. There is no point wearing yourself out in a 9-to-5 job, even if it pays you well enough if you are not happy. You need to find a job which inspires you, helps you grow. You need to focus on something that will add value to your life and vision. There is nothing wrong with helping other people to live their dream – there is a difference in willingly helping someone with their goals – but it should never be at the expense of your own vision.
We may be interested in a lot of things, and we may even do it according to our convenience. But commitment is what is required to pull ourselves out of the comfort zone. The struggle of getting out of the comfort zone is what tangles many people, and you have to detangle yourself, learn to fight the feeling, and do things anyway.
Now is the best time to start; it is as good as any. Leaving behind your unfulfilling life might seem like a distant dream, but it is on you to make it happen. To live the life of abundance, you need to start from the beginning – start from a dream. Before any idea can come true, it must first be imagined – the seed needs to be planted.
Take time to dream. Think about your goals. Consider how your skills can help you and what you are talented in, explore your thoughts. The thinking should go on till you get obsessed with it because liking what you do isn’t enough. Obsession is the main driving force that will make you get up and run toward your goal – that is the fuel that drives people who dare start a venture.
People who have achieved laurels in different fields – regardless of all the obstacles – irrespective of their injuries, disabilities, low-income conditions, marriage bonds, or conservative families issues – become examples to people who dare to walk a path different from others. This is your life. You and only you get to decide what you want to do with it; you can’t rely on someone else for your happiness – this is something that more people are starting to realize.
When you learn that you can’t blame someone else for your failures; you can’t hide behind people as a reason for your inaction – change starts to happen. Society will tell you all kinds of things, force you into decisions, but it’s YOU in the end who makes the decision.
If you have a dream – a dream that excites you, scares you, makes you feel giddy, makes you feel alive – then you have a mission in life. Your mission is to make that dream come true. But if you are letting a bunch of excuses come in your way, you are sabotaging your dream. The only thing standing between you and your dream is ironically YOU.
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”
– Paulo Coelho
With the start of every new endeavour, there are many obstacles that you have to cross on the way. People are going to shun you, mock you, criticize you for many of your decisions because there is a cultural norm of following the same societal rules and it baffles people when you think outside the box.
Society has always tried to make everyone fit into this one homogeneous frame. Those who manage to be like everyone else are appreciated – which is why we pretend. But sometimes, most times, people don’t fit in, they just can’t fit in no matter how much they try.
People are scared, they don’t know any different, so they will scoff at your ideas, they will tell you it is not worth it, but you have to trust yourself and not be fooled by these judgemental people who try to make you doubt yourself. They might not always be coming from a wrong place, it might be out of concern, but taking risks is not something everyone can wrap their heads around.
People who decide to do something different from others are looked down upon. People, who feel the need to judge and criticize others, have one thing in common: in order to feel better about themselves, they need to knock others that aren’t like them down. They see you doing what they wish they dared to do – something to get out of a life they don’t want to be living. So they will attack you in every possible way until you feel miserable about the path you are walking on, about the need to do something for yourself.
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
– Harriet Tubman
You have to stand firm. Don’t let anyone convince you that you aren’t capable enough to achieve success, to make your dreams come true. Believe that everything is possible, however impossible it may seem initially. The magic ingredient here is you believing in yourself when everyone refuses to believe you. The universe is continuously testing you to see if you are really serious about pursuing your dreams. Being stubborn, not quitting, and moving forward is what is needed to go after what you want.
“Don’t let small brains convince you that your dreams are too big.”
Tips for Surviving Your Twenties
The Importance of Having a Purpose in Life
Why Do We Need Measurable Goals?
Why Starting an Online Business is a Good Idea in Current Times
3 Simple Tips to Getting Over Jet Lag as Quickly as Possible
How to Break Free From Your Boring Life to Live Your Passion
How Making Decisions Using the 10/10/10 Method Can Change Your Life
Qualities of Humorous People that Give Huge Benefits in Life
Practicing Shinrin-Yoku (Forest Therapy) to Become More Healthy and Productive
5 Tips to Help You Stick to Your Goals And Double Your Success Rate
Productivity6 months ago
7 Ways To Increase Productivity At Work
Quotes6 months ago
27 of the Most Powerful Quotes of All Time
Productivity6 months ago
Things 3 Review – A To-Do App That Works
Entrepreneurs5 months ago
1Password Review – The Best Password Manager Out There
Productivity6 months ago
You Don’t Need To Be Busy To Be Productive
Goals6 months ago
How Setting Realistic Goals Can Actually Help You Achieve Them
Entrepreneurs6 months ago
9 Warren Buffett Quotes for Start-Ups to Live By
Goals1 month ago
The Ultimate Guide to Goal Setting