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5 Ways For Entrepreneurs to Keep The Creative Juices Flowing

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5 Ways For Entrepreneurs to Keep The Creative Juices Flowing

No matter what business you are in, chances are the competition is fierce. You probably have a website, you have your marketing, you may even blog, but you need to do everything you can to stand out.

Running your own business requires both the right and left brain. It requires doing everything you can to be original in a world where your competition is busy saying and producing the same things. When it comes to standing out, creativity is a must. But you know something? Creativity doesn’t come from banging your head against the wall. It often doesn’t come by staring at a blank computer screen.

It often comes in the moments when we are – Gasp – living our lives. It creeps up on us when we are away from the computer. Those ideas pop up at all times. There is an eerie truth to the cliché that ideas come while you are in the shower. So the best thing you can do is carry a notebook and jot them down whenever they might pop into your mind (feel free to dry off first, if needed).

We were born with creativity. We were born with the urge to draw, paint, write and create. Somewhere along the line as adults, it becomes a struggle to hang on to.

Here are 5 steps entrepreneurs can take to boost their creativity:

 

1. Get some kind of physical activity

I know, I know, operating your business takes time. It takes all of your energy and focus. You are a busy person, who doesn’t have any time for yourself. Or you just hate exercise. Maybe you broke your alarm clock throwing it against the wall. Insert reason. Insert excuse.

I’m not saying you have to run a marathon or bench press 300 pounds. Just start simple. Go for a half-hour walk. Do some pushups or situps before you take your morning shower. Do something. Exercise will jolt your normal routine. You may begin to think of things differently. Exercise will help your creativity. Who knows, you might even become healthier.

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” – Albert Einstein

2. Read outside your industry

When you invest all of your energy into building your business it is easy to live life with a singular focus. You spend your waking hours thinking of nothing but how to improve your business. Here’s something easier said than done – you need to break that urge. Sure, read the most important industry books, blogs or research, but read other stuff too.

What else do you absolutely love reading? For me it’s personal essays and biographies. Maybe even a novel sprinkled in here and there. The thing is, reading outside your industry will give you ideas. When you come across an applicable idea, write about it, implement it, do whatever you need to do. This is how you can breathe a little creativity and originality into a world of clones.

 

3. Go out for lunch

Again, I know you are busy. We all are, but if you are a solo entrepreneur, it becomes very easy to live in an isolated world where every day is the same. Even if you run a larger business, it is still possible for your focus to become singularly constrained. It’s time to mix things up and talk with some new people.

Do you have friends or colleagues who do something interesting for a living? Now is not the time to be shy. Call them, grab lunch, grab coffee, pick their brain. If no one in particular comes to mind, network. Truly think about it. You can find someone. Most people are comfortable talking about themselves. So go ahead and ask questions about who they are, and what they do.

 

4. Do what your significant other says 

This is another piece of advice that can go against every grain of our being. If you find yourself extremely frustrated with a lack of progress on any given project, it is probably time to step away from the computer. Go run that errand. Take out the garbage.

Empty the dishwasher. Most of these things do not take the time that we think they do. Most of us are not “above” doing these things, like we think we are. So go, step away, let your brain reboot. You may get that idea while you are gone.

 “Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.” – Pablo Picasso

5. Create something

What are your interests outside of your work? Play guitar, paint, build something, take photos. Whatever your interest may be, don’t neglect it. Even if it’s just a half hour of your day, it will break up your routine and leave you feeling accomplished and refreshed.

 

Thank you for reading my article! I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!

Motivation

How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals

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Time is the raw material of our lives. How we choose to spend it, shapes our life accordingly. So having the motivation to spend it on achieving goals is crucial to creating a life we want.

What is Motivation?

The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as the desire or willingness to do something – our drive to take action.

Scientifically, motivation has its roots in the dopamine pathways of our brains. When we do something that feels good, that’s dopamine kicking in. Our actions are driven by the desire for that reward (the good feeling).

Author Steven Pressfield describes motivation more practically. He says we hit a point where the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it. He sees motivation as crossing the threshold where it’s easier to take action than it is to be idle. Like choosing to feel awkward while making sales calls over feeling disappointed about a diminishing bank account.

However you choose to think about it, we all want to harness motivation to achieve our goals. 

How to Get Motivated

James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that most people misunderstand motivation. They think that motivation is what gets us to take action. In reality, motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Once we start a task, it’s easier to continue making progress. Like Isaac Newton’s first law: objects in motion stay in motion.

This means most of the resistance when working on your goals comes right before we start. Since motivation naturally occurs after we start, we need to focus on making starting easier.

4 Ways to Make Starting Easier

1. Schedule it

One reason people can’t get started on things is that they haven’t planned when to do it. 

When things aren’t scheduled it’s easier for them to fall by the wayside. You’ll end up hoping motivation falls in your lap or hoping that you’ll muster enough willpower to get it done.

An article in the Guardian said, “If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work.”

2. Measure something

It’s easy to feel uninspired when you don’t know if you’re making progress or what you’re even working towards. That’s why you need to make your success measurable in some way. Starting is easy when you know exactly how much closer your current actions will bring you to achieving your goal.

3. Extrinsic motivation

This type of motivation is from external factors. It can be either positive or negative. Positive motivation consists of incentives like money, prizes, and grades. Negative motivation consists of deterrents like being fired, having a fight, or being fined. Extrinsic motivation doesn’t work effectively long-term, but it can work well in the short term to get you started on something.

4. Make it public

Keep yourself accountable by telling friends and family your goals, or even sharing them on social media. This makes it easier to start something because you’re pressured to not let others down.

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar

How to Stay Motivated Long Term

When we say we want to feel motivated to do something, we don’t want to be pushed or guilted into doing a task. We want to be so attracted and drawn to the idea that we can’t resist not taking action. That’s why it’s important to build a foundation that will set you up for consistency.

These are 5 techniques that will help you do just that:

1. Stay in your goldilocks zone

The goldilocks zone is when a task is the perfect level of difficulty—not too hard and not too easy. In this zone, we reach peak motivation and focus.

For example, let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against a 4-year-old. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become bored and not want to play. Now let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against Serena Williams. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become demotivated because the match is too challenging. 

The Goldilocks zone is in the middle of that spectrum. You want to face someone with equal skill as you. That way you have a chance to win, but you have to focus and try for it. Adjusting your workload and goals over time to stay within your Goldilocks zone keeps you engaged and motivated long-term.

2. Pursue intrinsically motivated goals

Being intrinsically motivated to achieve a goal is when you want to achieve it for what it is. There are no external factors like a reward or the risk of being fired. The drive behind your actions is coming from within. 

For most intrinsic goals we pursue them because they will enrich our lives or bring us closer to fulfillment. That makes these goals extremely sustainable long-term because they directly affect our quality of life and the things we care about.

3. Use “chunking”

Chunking is the technique of breaking down a goal into smaller short-term targets. By doing this you achieve multiple successes in your pursuit of the main goal. This triggers the brain’s reward system and drives you to keep going.

Traditionally, you may set a goal that you expect to achieve in one year. That’s a long time to commit without seeing any results along the way. By chunking your goals into monthly or quarterly targets, you get the consistent positive reinforcement you need to stay motivated long-term.

For example, instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in one year, try to lose 4 pounds every month for 12 months.

4. Be flexible

We’re all victims of circumstance. Things happen along our journey that we can either adjust to or quit because of. That’s why it’s important to have leeway and flexibility when you’re pursuing a goal. If you expect everything to go perfectly, the inevitable failure can make you disengaged and desireless. When you plan for things to go wrong, you make sure you can keep up for the long haul.

5. Pursue your goals in a sustainable fashion

Don’t lose hope when you’re not an overnight success. Overnight successes are the 1%—for the most part, they don’t exist. What we see as an “overnight success” is actually countless hours of work behind the scenes finally hitting a tipping point. Pursuing goals is a story of patience, persistence, and unseen effort.

Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is a recipe for a drop in self-confidence and satisfaction. It also cultivates a mindset where you think you haven’t done enough. As a result, you may raise your expectations and put more pressure on yourself.

This is pointless because things worth achieving take time. So we obviously won’t compare to the things around us when starting.

Mastering motivation is a superpower. With that ability at your fingertips, you can accomplish your goals and shape a life you want to live in.

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Motivation

What Is Dark Motivation and How Can I Use It to My Advantage?

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It’s Thursday, 8 PM. I’m relaxing at home, doing normal things, and scrolling social media. Tomorrow is a big day. There are lots of things to do with moving pieces of furniture because I’m moving to another city. On top of that, a repairman is coming to my house at 8AM, so I’ll have to get up early. (more…)

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The Killer Morning Routine to Boost Motivation

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If you’re anything like me, waking up in the morning is a hard task. Over the course of a number of years I’ve built a routine that helps wake me up and keeps me motivated. (more…)

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Motivation

Why “No Pain, No Gain” Is More Powerful Than You Realize

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Chances are you’ve heard the quote “No pain, no gain” before. Especially if you enjoy hitting the gym and getting a nice pump going on. What this means is that in order to make your muscles grow, you’ll have to shred the fibers so they can grow back bigger and stronger. This progress causes physical pain because you’re tearing apart your muscles, but the reward for the pain is always worth it. (more…)

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