Creativity is the fuel for all progress in life and business. And the good news, CREATIVITY is within everyone’s reach. While some people are born with a stronger creative twist to their thinking, creativity is a skill that can be learned.
Developing a deeper creative mind is one of my favorite passions in life. I’m always looking for new resources and thought leaders that can help me produce more creative juice so I can enjoy my journey and achieve my goals.
Here are three books on the subject of creative thinking and enhancement methods that have helped me be more creative thus adding more value to what I offer the world, my clients, followers and friends.
If you are looking to boost your creative power, I highly-recommend you check these out.
Steal Like an Artist, 10 things nobody told you about being creative by Austin Keleon.
You can read this book in an hour. It’s quick, fun, entertaining and very inspirational. The author, Austin Kleon, shares a snarky, yet practical approach to improving your creative output. He cites many creative masterminds and exposes simple, immediate actions to open the flood gates of ideas from your mind. The book is small in size and good to carry on the go for when your brain gets stuck. Austin is also from Austin, TX, the land of many brilliant ideas.
Imagine, How creativity works by Jonah Lehrer
Jonah Lehrer is a modern day rock star/scientist when it comes to writing and thinking about creativity. He is a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and many other international pubs, which is how I discovered this profound and interesting thought leader. Lehrer contends that creativity is not limited to the chosen few, but is waiting for those who embrace the rut, think like children and love to daydream and grab it. He also unveils why traditional thinking about creativity, criticism, collaboration and brainstorming need to be trashed. Backed by science and presented in an easy to consume style, Lehrer’s book is a critical read for anyone in business.
Thinkertoys, the handbook for creativity by Michael Michalko
This book is my bible when it comes to creativity. I discovered Michalko’s work over ten years ago and it is my number one resource for exercises and tips to keep my brain creating at peak state. Need to light up your team, solve a big challenge or just better understand how the mind works? This is an amazing book. I especially like the way it is organized. All chapters are summarized by a blueprint and big takeaways, so you can quickly access methods and apply them to your situation.
Need more? You may also want to check out my A to Z Creativity eBook. It’s packed with 26 daily actions that I live by.
“Creativity is contagious. Pass it on!” Albert Einstein.
Confidence is a condition you manifest when you do things with competence. Self-esteem is a belief level you buy into about yourself, when you’re not doing anything at all. To enjoy a great life and a rich business or career, they are both needed to be mastered.
I consider myself an emotionally healthy person. I also know that I can always improve myself. I’m interested in learning things that can make me more effective with my business, my personal relationships and things that provide me with a more fulfilled life.
Back in January Alan Weiss, a coach and mentor of mine for the past decade, offered a one-day workshop on self-esteem. Alan is known as the million dollar consultant. He’s authored over 40 books, works all over the world and has guided me on many business projects. His Self-Esteem Workshop was $2,500 and limited to 6 people in every workshop, it was sold out until April.
There’s no debate here, lower than peak self-esteem is bad for business. If you are a start-up, it can make the difference in you raising needed funds. If you are a growing business it can cost you new clients. If you are employed it can stump your advancement. In all cases, low self-esteem enables price, valuation, compensation discounting and costly over-giving of goods and services too.
I attended Alan’s workshop this past week in Warwick, RI to help take my business to a higher level. It was an excellent investment in time and money.
Consistent with Alan’s tough-love style of coaching, the workshop wasn’t hoo-rah-rah at all. There was no flood of compliments or achievement praised. There were a lot of open and candid discussions about where human doubt and questionable self-worth comes from and how to dump the debris that brings down anyone’s esteem level.
Before the workshop, I knew the root of many of my green monster issues, but after spending the day with Alan and a great group of other highly-accomplished consultants, I better understood how to re-frame the past, dump the garage and power forward with a stronger direction and intent. I also learned a lot about how to sustain high self-worth in the most challenging of situations.
The three biggest take-a-ways for me were:
1) The perfect self-esteem cocktail is 1-part listen to others (that you request, unsolicited feedback is useless) and 3-parts listen to yourself.
This means accept feedback from qualified givers, not others who have some axe to grind or bigger issues than yourself.
2) Having an accurate feedback grading system is key.
Many of the most damaging and negative beliefs that imprint adult self-doubt comes from our parents because as children, they were our primary authoritative figures. This dominating influence can apply to professional settings too. This does not make either of them right. Use realistic measures to evaluate criticism.
3) Positive reinforcing environments and relationships are critical, not optional.
Birds of a feather flock together. A scrappy nest is not where you want to be. Hang with other highly-esteemed people and make sure your work space is empowering and inspirational. If it’s not, change it.
Alan Weiss is not for everyone. He’s not inexpensive, his content is not sappy and sugar-coated. If you are serious about taking your business to the next level, I’d look at some of his offerings. If nothing else, sign up for his weekly newsletter, it’s free and one of the best things I read and enjoy every week.
In closing, here’s another good article on the subject on of self-worth. It’s written by one of my favorite tweeters @yourpocketguru, follow him and me @brandingdiva on Twitter for some short gems of insight on a all kinds of topics.
This theory is not scientific. But for me, I think your brain gets clogged up and too many “ta does” and stress can actually immobilize your brain’s function. I noticed that when I stare at my computer screen for long periods of time, this brain freeze happens the most.
Get away from your computer and move around.
My good pal Doug Stevenson explains in his CD series on “How to Deliver a Dynamite Speech” that too much typing on your computer will keep your brain and your thoughts in the left sided, logical mode and will make solving problems and being creative a very difficult task. He suggests creative thinking should happen away from the computer. He also recommends moving around and that sitting still does not empower creative thinking. I agree with that idea. After I go for a run or play tennis my brain is on fire with fresh ideas. And I’m in great mood.
Manage disruptions and doing things tomorrow.
Another friend of Oddpodz is Mark McGuinness. Mark lives across the pond, is a poet and leads Wishfulthinking a consultancy for creative professionals, agencies and studios. Mark suggests managing disruptions like email and responding to clients, along with doing more things tomorrow and not today. Mark’s work and blog has been hugely helpful in moving me out of the brain freeze zone. Two of his brilliant pieces of work are featured in Oddpodz FREE Biz Findz.
I’m out of the brain freeze now. Thank goodness. I know it will be back. I continue to battle this state of mind when my plate is very full. But, I am making progress. When I feel it happening, I change my environment, schedule uninterrupted time and get away from my computer.