Filler, Anger, Drink #3, Rules, Self-Doubt

Living an effective life is completely about thinking clearly and purposefully. Your mind is a hidden treasure chest of valuable ideas that you could use to advance your life. Ideas can create new businesses, new processes, solutions to problems, great works of art or literature and ways to improve your relationships. If we could identify what keeps us from generating ideas, we could live a life of creativity and excitement. 

There are many things in life that keep us from living a life of creativity. Here are five items to control with your mind that limit your ability to create: 

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Filler:

News on TV and the radio rob you of time to think. Sitcoms and reality programs fill your mind with meaningless junk that steals time away forever. Examine your wasted time with media and ask, "Is this really important?"

Anger:  

Being angry requires you to look backwards at a perceived harm instead of looking forward toward a better life. Be quick to forgive and move on clearing your mind to be positive and creative. 

Too much alcohol can rob you of creativity.

Too much alcohol can rob you of creativity.

Drink #3:

Although alcohol can relax a person and allow for a free flow of ideas, too many drinks do the opposite. The third, fourth, or fifth drink robs you of clear thought and genuine creativity. 

Rules:

While rules help to govern our society and provide structure, too many rules become a hindrance to the free flow of ideas. Rules for rules' sake kill creativity and innovative thinking. Start by eliminating rules that you don't know why they exist. Read Mending Wall by Robert Frost. 

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Self-Doubt:

Stop the lie; the best ideas are in someone else's head. You have great ideas for your life. Trust yourself. Give your ideas the chance they deserve. 

Choose a new path to creativity

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If you want to be more creative then you have to make changes from your common everyday actions and thinking.  You cannot be creative in an environment where everything is systematic and static unless you deliberately make a change to the system.  You have to be strategic in the introduction of new thought processes into a system.  You may have a system that is working well and not broken but the competition is changing and innovating and someone else’s innovation could beat your strong blocking and tackling. 

Today is the day for you to start purposefully thinking differently about the same situation.  Let’s start with thinking in opposites.  Thinking in opposites is all about a radical change in thought regarding any single matter of your business.  Today is the day to sit down and force your mind to play with a new idea and see what sparks from the creative playtime. 

Create your strategy.

Create your strategy.

Recently I was at a hospice conference in which no one wanted to come to our booth.  I wondered what could I do differently (opposite) to have a better engagement with hospice leaders at a conference?  The answer was simple: don’t hope they will stop by and see you at the booth, create a reason for them to want to seek you out.  Create in the hospice personnel a desire to find you or hunt you down.  I left the booth immediately and went directly to my hotel room to craft a solution: a hospice creativity workbook that helps hospices reinvent the culture to experience real innovation.  At the next conference, the attendees who are reading my work on creative hospices will want to come find me.  What if hospice leaders were looking at the roster of attendees to see if I would be there instead of me looking to see which hospices would be there?  The change of approach (thinking in opposites) led to an amazing idea that has been the recent focus of my life.  It is a game changer. 

What if every hospice patient was enrolled in the EMR with notes as to who they are, NOT confined in our minds by their admitting diagnosis? Teacher, veteran, grandfather of 20, married for 51 years, etc.?  What if each nurse and aid had to learn three things about the patient before the first visit so that they saw the patient first as the special and unique person that they are?  Would that change of perception spread throughout the whole hospice and positively alter the manner in which you engaged with the patient?  What if your internal metrics that assess your level of care included tracking positive dialogue with the patient about their lives and the items that are important to each patient?  What would that do for your relationships with family, friends and referral sources?  Many hospices who are best in class already do some of this marvelous type of engagement.

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Start with something simple and purposefully think differently.  Have the courage to question what works and replace it with something even better.  Celebrate the success and keep thinking in opposites. 

Getting Back On Track; Creativity Out of Chaos

So, you had a great vision for the day. A vision to be super creative, innovative and successful. But then your day went to crap. Problems with employees, challenges at home, or unpaid bills throw your day for a loop. You lean back in your chair and think, “Well, this day is absolutely wasted. Maybe I should just start again tomorrow and throw today in the trash.” Is it fair to leave today behind? Getting distracted is common for highly creative and successful people. Our lives are made up of what we call our many “different selves.” In other words, you are a parent, a child, a friend, an employee, a team leader, or a host of other roles you play in life. Too often these many “different selves” get in the way of our creative spirit. Stresses, turmoil, and chaos seem to derail our focus and leave us frustrated, exhausted, and negative.

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Significant events in mankind’s evolution of thought have occurred following chaos, turmoil, and stress.  Just as many creative insights are a result of negative influences on our lives as are insights from a walk in the park or in a meditation session. Learning to channel our thoughts appropriately following negative events can be just as impactful on creativity, innovation, and success. Chaos in our life forces us to choose between a flight or fight decision. Many people choose to run from problems in a natural survival mentality we call the “flight” instinct. But you don’t want to run from chaos, turmoil, or stress. You are the person who chooses to fight. You choose to stand your ground and never give up. Here are three things you can do to get back on track when life seems to punch you in the mouth.

1.       Walk away.

When facing circumstances that require a creative approach to a resolution you should start the turnaround by getting up and walking away. Not walking away from the problem, rather walking away from the distraction of the details. When you walk away you engage the creative part of your brain triggering unique and unforeseen solutions to the problems you are facing. Taking a walk, stretching your legs, or finding a peaceful spot to sit is the beginning of changing your mentality. The worst thing you can do when struggling with a problem is to sit and stare at the problem.

2.       Take back an hour.

Make time for creative thinking.

Make time for creative thinking.

Life seems to be stealing your creative time by throwing challenges at you. You know you will have to get back to the problem before long. This is the point at which you want to carve out freethinking time to come up with creative solutions. Ten minutes, thirty minutes, an hour is all you will need but you must define the amount of time and commit that you will have no interruptions. Defining the amount of time set aside for creativity is like a gift to your thinking process. You are not abandoning the problem, you are simply taking a “time out” from the problem to focus on creative solutions.

3.       Ask “What if?”

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Asking yourself the right questions will point your creative mind in the right direction. Ask; What if my troubles are trying to show me something? What would that be? What are the troubles trying to tell me? Pause and listen to your mind for the answers. Giving the trouble a voice is a new perspective that allows a new type of imagination. Next question; What if I could eliminate my troubles permanently? How would I do that? Asking this question allows you to float above the problem to examine a more global perspective. What if I was a consultant to my own activities? What would I truly tell myself about this situation? Sometimes a step back and examination of my own behaviors and limitations can be the beginning of true revelation. Now pause to start writing down your ideas. Don’t give up until you’ve found the third or fourth right answer. Many times, the discovery is found in a deeper examination of a good answer making it a great solution.  

Chaos can be as valuable a trigger for creativity as peace. Both chaos and peace force us to abandon non-essential challenges to focus on essential solutions. Don’t give up during a bad day, use the trouble to your advantage.