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3 Surprising Ways to Create More Ideas Than Your Business Will Ever Need

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creative thinking

You’ve been waiting for that light bulb moment for so long that you’re worried it’s never going to come. It’s not that your old ideas aren’t good enough, they just aren’t working. And you know that if you’re going to stop your business from stagnating, inspiration has to strike soon.

Don’t worry, it’s not your fault. It’s easy to feel disheartened when the creative juices stop flowing. And nobody wants to be the victim of a creative rut that’s impossible to escape. But fortunately for you, this frustrating mental block is easier to break through than you might expect.

Here are 3 surprising psychological principles you can use to create more ideas than your business will ever need:

1. Stop Looking For New Ideas

Most people think that creativity involves coming up with new and original ideas. After all, it’s impossible to be inventive if you just keep reusing the same old thinking patterns, right? Actually evolutionary psychology disagrees.

According to professor Jakob Hohwy, the human brain is inherently predictive. In other words, we’re exceptionally good at using past experiences to predict the outcomes of events we haven’t encountered before.

We do this through a cognitive bias known as anchoring – a subconscious tendency to focus on the first piece of information we’re exposed to, and use it to influence our subsequent decisions.

Anchoring gives the appearance that we’re excellent at creating new ideas, when in fact we’re just recycling old ones and adapting them to contexts in which they haven’t been used before.

Creativity is therefore not about creating new ideas. It’s about constantly evolving and modifying old ideas to fit new situations. And that’s a good thing because it means you don’t need to stress every time you hit a roadblock.

Instead, relax and focus on the successful ideas you’ve implemented in the past. There’s a strong possibility that they’ll work for you again if you give them a slight tweak.

“To really boost your sense of self-efficacy, think of ways you could modify your usual tasks to suit your personal style.” – Martha Beck

2. Trick Your Brain With Psychological Distancing

Creativity is not a personality trait (despite what you might have heard). Yes, it’s true that some people possess a greater natural propensity for creative thought than others. But creativity is a skill that can be developed like any other.

In fact, psychology researchers from the University of Tel Aviv suggest that creativity has as much to do with the internal workings of our brain, as it does with the context in which the thinking takes place.

And they’ve come up with a clever brain hack. We can enhance our creativity by changing the way we mentally perceive our environment using a phenomenon know as psychological distancing.

Here’s how it works. Psychological distancing involves imagining that an object is further away from you than it actually is. And this forces your brain to represent it abstractly.

You’re now working with a mental representation of the object – rather than a concrete one that influences your perception of it through distinct physical characteristics (sight, sound, touch ect).

Psychologists suggest that humans can easily form unexpected connections between abstract thoughts using a process known as divergent thinking. But that’s not the case for objects we see in front of us because their physical attributes bias our thinking.

However, being forced to think abstractly about these same objects strips away this bias, and makes it easier to draw comparisons between objects that are seemingly unrelated.

So the next time you’re struggling to ignite your creative spark, simply change the way you perceive the things around you. You’ll be surprised at the unusual connections you can make between objects that once appeared to be mundane.

 

3. Expand Your Mind With Positive Thinking

Let’s be honest, the term “positive thinking” has a bad reputation. It’s overused, it’s ambiguous, and it’s lost its credibility. But while these criticisms are certainly well deserved, science suggests that positive thinking (or more specifically the positive emotions it promotes) can actually physically affect our brain.

Psychology professor Barbara Fredrickson states that humans experience two different types of emotions, negative and positive; each with their own set of catalysts.

Negative emotions like fear, stress and anger occur in response to perceived threats. And in threatening situations we’ve been evolutionarily programmed to focus our thoughts on a single, impulsive course of action; the fight or flight response.

This forces our brains to make immediate, instinctive judgements. That means that we perform specific actions while subconsciously ignoring a whole variety of alternatives. But while this narrow focus is a great survival mechanism, it sucks for creative thinking because it obscures a whole spectrum of potential choices.

On the other hand, professor Fredrickson suggests that positive emotions are catalysts for considered, thoughtful action. That’s because they aren’t associated with imminent danger or the impulsive responses that come with them.

Therefore, if you’re able to consistently evoke positive emotions and suppress the influences of negative ones, you’ll become significantly more perceptive than the less cheerful people around you.

So the next time you’re stuck in a creative slump, remember that sometimes a simple change in attitude is all you need to grasp ideas that might have been in front of you all along.

“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” – Willie Nelson

4. Ignite Your Creative Engine

The only thing more disheartening than a bad idea is not being able to come up with an idea in the first pace. Sure, it can be scary when the creative sparks stop firing. Especially when the success of your business relies on consistent and original thinking. But everybody has their slow days. Even the most creative minds in the world need a break sometimes.

Using just one of these surprising creativity insights should reignite your creative spirits, get you back on your feet, and give you the confidence you need to drive the innovation that your business so desperately deserves.

How do you keep your creative juices flowing? Leave your thoughts below!
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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Jeanine

    Sep 1, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    Hi Daniel

    Thank you for a great and truly insightful article. Working as “creative” in the events industry for over 16 years – I can identify a lot with what you have written. Facing the daily pressure of having to be creative in business all the time can leave one feeling rather drained and uninspired. In order to survive and remain viable over the years – I have myself discovered a few of these techniques, (the very hard way I might add) to get myself through many a creative slump. It is amazing to see it all so clearly defined and summed up. Your tips will prove to be very helpful when applied.

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    Sue lancaster

    Aug 30, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    Another insightful article Daniel. Have to say I tried some of your procrastination hacks and they work!!! Especially not dwelling on what needs doing, planning and list making. Rather just getting on with what needs doing. Brilliant Tk u

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The Truth About Marketing Every First Time Founder Should Know

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While starting your own business is an exhilarating experience, many start-up founders struggle with successful marketing more than any other area of business. So if you’re thinking about starting a business, here are some of the key things you need to know about marketing before you take the plunge. (more…)

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Lessons I Have Learned About Scaling a Business as a Startup Founder

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When I set out to start my own business three years ago, I never imagined bright lights and private jets to New York or Shanghai for business meetings. Good thing I didn’t because it is nothing like that at all. It was a struggle from day one and I had to embrace the grind to grow. (more…)

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5 Hacks to Improve Your Writing Skills in English for ESL Learners

Phil Collins

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Studying in college is hard for everyone, but ESL learners arguably suffer the most. Moving to a foreign country, learning a new language, and keeping pace with the rest of the class may seem like an unbearable burden. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, but you have to pull through and not give up. 

In moments like this, it’s always a good idea to seek help. Whether you go to WriteMyPaper to order an essay or just talk to a friend, admitting vulnerability is an important step towards improvement. In this article, you will find some tips on how to get better at essay writing, even if English is not your native language.

 

Control Your Environment

Improving your language skills is all about constant practice. Living in an English-speaking community is the first thing you should do to start your practice. It might be tempting to surround yourself with people who already speak a familiar language. However, this way, you won’t be practicing English on a daily basis.

You need to make those lessons almost intuitive in a way that you don’t have to do anything to learn the language. If you live in an English-speaking community, for example, if your roommate speaks English, you will have to practice the language, whether you want it or not.

Still, make sure you don’t take it too far. Taking care of yourself is still as important as ever. Feeling like an alien for the sake of education is not worth it. Remember to keep in touch with your friends and family, talk to them as often as necessary.

 

Practice Constantly

Practicing language is not just about doing your homework. You can make practicing English a normal part of your daily routine by watching TV, listening to music, and reading books in this language. 

Yet, this is a bit tricky. When being surrounded by white noise, people tend to learn not to notice it. You need to ensure this doesn’t happen. As you watch movies or read books, maintain your attention on what you’re doing. If you hear or see a word that you don’t understand – translate it and write it down. Be mindful and remember what you’re doing this for.

 

Writing Is The Answer

If you want to specifically learn to write, you need to do one thing, and that is to write. Continuous practice will help you understand what mistakes you often make and, in time, eliminate them. Focus on your goal, and don’t get discouraged when something’s not working. After all, even Rome wasn’t built in a day!

Get a journal and write in it daily. Pick a new topic every time and note everything you can think of. It’s also important that you write by hand, a spelling checker in your computer is tempting, but it will not help you remember how to spell words correctly. 

Besides, journaling as a habit has multiple health benefits, and it can be therapeutic. It can help you get in touch with yourself and process your emotions better.

 

Learn In a Group

It’s proven that learning in a group is more efficient due to the sense of competition. Find a bunch of like-minded people who want to study with you or join an already existing one, like a speaking club.

The benefit of such activities is that you get all these people from entirely different backgrounds who are all good at various things. This will help you exchange experiences, which is impossible if you’re alone.

Schedule regular meetings, come up with topics to discuss and activities to do. You could watch videos or movies together, or talk about common things. Having assignments like describing an event can also be beneficial for the entire group. This way, while one person speaks, the rest think about how they would say the same things differently. 

This will help you feel more confident in your skills and, consequently, speak and write better.

 

Expose Yourself

The most important thing about learning a language is not to be afraid of making mistakes. It’s inevitable; you just have to take it as a natural part of a learning process. 

A child that is learning how to walk doesn’t give up after falling once, and you shouldn’t either. It’s most likely that your friends understand that you’re just learning a language, and they won’t laugh at you for misusing a word or a few. 

Get over that fear of error and make as many mistakes as it will take. Treat it lightly, and don’t beat yourself up for it. On the other hand, try to attend as many events as you can that will expose you to the foreign language. Not only will it boost your English skills, but also improve your social confidence!

 

Wrapping Up

Learning a language is hard; there’s no arguing about that. However, it’s going to get easier with time. Take every hard thing that life throws at you and turn it into a lesson. 

Watch your favorite movies in English, converse with native speakers, and you’ll see the improvement very soon!

Remember to be patient about it. Don’t give up, and don’t beat yourself up over something that you have so little control of. Good luck!

 

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Remote Work + Education: 3 Tips for Students Who Want to Have It All

Phil Collins

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Probably one of the greatest changes for the last year is the shifting to distant learning and working. There are many advantages to the issue, like, not having to commute every day, staying at a cozy home for a whole day. It makes our lives easier in terms of saving time and energy.

If you’re a student, you don’t have to bust out your textbooks every time you go to university. Instead, you have everything close and on the tips of your fingers.

However, within all the positive moments of distance learning, it is highly challenging for many of us. At college or in the office, we have a schedule, a plan which we simply have to stick to.

There is also a boss or a teacher who gives us tasks, checks and monitors our performance.

Well, now, we are our own bosses and teachers and have to come up with the plan and track our tasks independently.

So, how to stay tuned and efficient if you work and study from home? How to get the most of it and not drown in the ocean of procrastination? In this article, you will find three tips to help you out!

 

Set Up Your Workspace

When many think of a distance learning or work, they imagine themselves wearing pajamas and lying on a couch all day with the laptop. No more dress code, make-up, early mornings, coworkers or group mates, paradise!

This is a common misconception of remote work. If you want to work and study from home, it is crucial to create a space where you would stay focused and productive.

Still, if you have had a hard day and feel like having rest on your comfy couch, but there are assignments to be done, leave your worries to professionals in paperwritingservice, just place an order and enjoy your day.

When we both work and study from home, we stay with all those household essentials and, at the same time, have to focus on tasks. That is why a perfect workspace has to be created. So how to reach this ideal atmosphere at home? Here’re some pro tips.

 

Separate Spaces for Everything

This is a common problem for many that they sleep and study at the same place. Our body is a smart mechanism, which gets used to conditions very quickly.

So, as you sleep in your bed, every time you lie on it, your body gets ready to relax and concentrate is the last thing it is ready for. This principle is applied to any other space in your house.

So, your workspace should be particularly aimed at learning or/and work. Every time you get there, your brain will be ready to do the job.

 

Get Rid of All Distractions

This is a very important step if you want to stay productive at home. Your home may be a dangerous space in terms of concentration. To make it easier, help your brain and get rid of everything that might attract your attention and ultimately prevent good performance.

 

Plan Your Day

Every morning when you wake up, you approximately know what the tasks for a day are. So, what’s the sense in planning a day if you already have it all in your head?

This is one more important concept that helps us have everything done on time. Planning a day saves you time and boosts motivation and disciplines.

 

Here’s how it is done:

  • You write down a list of tasks that have to be done;
  • Prioritize them from less important to more important;
  • Hang this list somewhere, where you can always see it;
  • Mark completed tasks.

When you mark the task as accomplished, you’ll get a sense of satisfaction, which may be compared to some sort of praise. There are many tools to write a to-do list from paper to online apps.

 

Dedicate Time for Yourself

When you work and study from home, there will be a risk of abandoning our personal time in favor of more important matters. This factor leads not only to great results but also a concept called burning out.

When people face it, they feel exhausted, demotivated, and apathetic. To avoid this, it is crucial to have time for things you enjoy. It may be a sport, hobby, listening to music, watching movies, seeing friends. Your brain has to relax and get positive emotions to be more efficient in the long run.

 

Final Words

No matter if you want to work and study from home, these principles can be applied to any activity. To manage it all, just follow these basic rules, and you’ll see how your productivity boosts.

Good luck with all your endeavors!

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