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How to Turn Your Thoughts Into Amazing Results

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Thinking Ideas Thoughts and Intentions Into Success

Being a mover and shaker, you’re always on the lookout for that one thing that can give you the edge.

Whether it’s the power-protein you mix into your coffee in the morning, or the way you optimize your inbox… you probably don’t care about the theory behind it….

You want to know what works!

Right?

I’ve worked with hundreds of grounded business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs and the thing I’ve noticed consistently is their ability to get results.

Real results.

Tangible, kick-ass, bottom line results.

And the thing that holds people back from creating the results they really want, and deserve, is the nagging doubt that they might not succeed.

Perhaps you’ve felt this way?

Maybe you’ve found yourself taking one step forward and two steps back, trying to will yourself to be positive. To have faith. To just work harder and maybe, just maybe, success will be yours.

Hoping. Dreaming. And trying desperately to not let those nay-sayers be right.

And if this is you – you’re not alone.

What I’ve noticed in working with hundreds of entrepreneurs over the years is that the folks who finally reach their goals, and get the awe-inspiring results are the ones who have taken time to master their thought.

Sounds glib?

I can assure you, that this is the foundation of every great person who has ever achieved anything. Total mastery of thoughts… Because your thoughts literally do create the world you experience.

And the secret is to focus on the outcome. (You can read more on how to do this here.)

The outcome you hold in your mind, really does create your physical world!

But what I find is that when folks first hear about this concept, they’re a little sceptical.

How can thinking about increasing my profit actually make more people buy my product?” they often scoff.

And I get it.

I used to wonder the exact same thing.

And until you’ve experienced it and proven it out for yourself, it does seem a little out there!

 

But What If You Could Prove It To Yourself?

What if it were possible to run a simple experiment that is going to help you master the process, and prove to yourself that your efforts are paying off.

Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Well, I don’t tease 😉

There is indeed a way.

And it’s easier than you think.

Not only that, but once you have your own data to back up the model you’ll discover a number of additional benefits:

1. You’ll no longer need to waste energy and focus questioning if it works

You get to by-pass understanding the mechanics like a black-box component in a software design.

You can just take it as a given and use it is.

 

2. You’ll be much more confident in taking on new, bigger projects

If your thoughts create your outcome, you don’t need to worry about the ins and outs of the project. You can simply focus your attention on what you want to create, and let the details and “obstacles” take care of themselves.

It takes some practice and training to get to this level of confidence, but you just need to start small and then build up to the big fat hairy audacious goals!

 

4. You’ll become MAGNETIC to people

You will walk and talk with tonnes more confidence. This makes you much more attractive to the people around you.

Remember the saying “success breeds success”? You will definitely be able to ride the momentum of your new found strategy that works for anything!

 

5. You’ll be less fearful

Often, the thing that causes the most stress for go-getter is the fear of failure… in one form or another. If you know you can’t fail, and your focus is on your goal you will naturally experience much less stress and anxiety.

Plus, it’s actually a healthier way to live!

Once you’ve conducted your own experiments, you’ll no longer be trapped in an oscillation between hoping and doubting.

Some folks swing from one extreme to the other… willing themselves to believe it works, and then advocating that it’s silly and definitely doesn’t.

But not you.

Not now.

Because you’re going to put in a little effort now, for massive rewards you can keep reaping down the line.

 

The Proof Is In The Pudding

So how then do we go about testing this out and proving to ourselves that this is worth doing?

Well, we need to pick a variable and track a result that is relevant to our hypothesis… just like in any scientific experiment.

 

Conceive Believe and Achieve Picture Quote

 

So here’s what you do:

1. Make a list of a few simple outcomes you’d like to achieve

I suggest picking simple ones, which don’t require much time to create, just for the purpose of proving the concept. This way you can get through a number of experiments in less than 14 days, rather than waiting years and forgetting about it along the way.

 

2. Select the first outcome to work on

This could be something as simple as attracting a free cup of coffee, finding a parking space where you normally struggle, or having your bills reduced. Make sure also that you can track it. It’s no good setting an intention to have something happen and you not know whether it happened or not… So if you’re looking for a reduction in your household bills, you need to know what you’re paying right now. Makes sense, right?

 

3. Ok, then you need to note down the goal, the date and how long you’re going to run your experiment for

This way you know that the effect is a result of your intention and you can’t put it down to fluke. So for example you could say “I allow myself to attract a free cup of coffee by noon today”… or whatever seems like a good time frame, given that you may work from home, and not venture out into the world necessarily.

 

4. Next lay the intention by thinking the thought and visualising, or whatever technique you use

If you’re new to this you may want to refer to “How to Think to Get What You Want”.

 

5. Then you want to track your results

I like to set a reminder on my phone to check in with the goal. So when the time has passed you just notice whether the outcome happened, and then you mark down the result in your experimenters’ journal.

And then you move onto the next experiment. 😉

 

Here’s what you’ll likely find:

Not every single outcome will manifest within your time frame. You’re new to this, and you’re just getting used to the process and the experiment.

That’s ok.

Keep going, and see what happens.

You may find that something like 7 out of 10 goals are achieved… consistently.

If this is the case then this is awesome. Can you imagine 7 out of every 10 intentions you set coming into your reality, consistently? Most traders on the stock market would be very happy with that result. You just need to keep focussing on things that bring you more of what you want.

This is a brilliant process to go through, because it attunes you to what you want, rather than what you don’t want.

The reason most people fail with achieving their goals is simply because they don’t focus on having their chosen outcome… they focus on NOT having it. I.e. on worrying about it. This systematic approach keeps you working on what you want… which is a great shift to make.

And over time, you will build up enough evidence to know without any doubt that the most reliable way to get an outcome is to set and intention and focus your energy on the outcome you want. The more you practice, the more certain you will become, and consequently, the more successful you will get at this approach.

 

Your Experiment Can Begin Right Now!

So there you have it.

Believe me, it’s a skill worth mastering.

After all – it doesn’t just apply to finding parking spaces or being given cups of coffee.

Far from it…

I’ve used it to win competitions, land a book deal, find the perfect Porsche for my budget and style – with no effort or research. I’ve used it to build a six figure income from nothing, been given shares to a company just months before they’ve hit the big time, been given otherwise expensive advice for the price of a glass of wine, and created the most amazing experiences and relationships with awesome people around the world.

It all begins by believing that you are the creator of everything that happens in your world…

And then DARING to choose the good things! (ReTweet This)

The things you really want, rather than struggle and hard work.

And this begins not by taking my word for it – but testing this out for yourself in a series of experiments over the next 14 days.

You can get going right now…

 

Go ahead and write in the comments below, what your first experiment is going to be…

And as always, I’m here to help, and I read every comment and email.

To Your Inevitable Success!

Laura Leigh Clarke

Laura Leigh Clarke is the unorthodox Business Coach, Recovering Quantum Physicist, Founder of ProsperityQM, Geek and a die-hard Doctor Who fan. She also helps people clear their money blocks and limiting beliefs so they can manifest the life and business they really want. Download Your Tool Kit for Making a Quantum Shift in Your Business, and watch your results explode!

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Eric

    Mar 22, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    I am currently doing exactly what you are writing about. I am finally bringing forward an idea to reality after marinating on it for nearly 10-years. The biggest hurdle was expertise, but now the net allows collaboration with expertise in every field at low cost and ta da….my idea is emerging before my eyes. Watching a thought manifest into reality is almost indescribable! Great blog today!

  2. CrazyMonkey

    Feb 3, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    This is a great article. I have seen the steps laid out in the experiment many times in my previous readings. However, what I struggle with are two things:

    1) FEAR – I guess as humans, you can never get rid of fear. However, you can overcome it, but how?? I struggle with the general mentality of being fearless.

    2) Step #4 mentioned setting an intention. Is that enough? For exmple, for the longest time now, I have been wanted a brand new BMW M3. I am certainly making enough money to accomplish this dream. But, I can’t seem to convince myself that I deserve it. How to come over this?

  3. Tufail Cheema

    Jan 29, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    Very enlightening and thought provoking.
    I have just retired and now I am in my own business. I am going to apply it. Although it might not be easy but I will try to control because I am determined to do.

    Thanks a lot !

    Laura Clarke

  4. Imran Soudagar

    Jan 26, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    Thanks for the awesome article, the biggest problem most people face in their life is making decisions. I have seen people struggle with that and they get totally confused when there are more than 2 choices. It takes time to master this technique. But not impossible.

  5. Ganesh

    Jan 19, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    Trust me for a moment. I have a great story to inspire you all. Months ago during mid September 2014 I started reading a book ” think and grow rich”. In between somewhere 50th to 52nd page I was so excited about the thought of desire, emotions, faith, to achieve any goal, that I stopped reading where it was and concentrated on the wall mounted fan in front of me. Just to instantly test the theory in the book I wished with all my emotions and faith to turn the fan ON on its own. My time frame was 10 min but it didn’t work. I was bit depressed but was still hoping for a miracle to happen. For next half hour there was no sign. After that I felt asleep. To my greatest surprise in life around 5 am in morning I started feeling cold so searched for blanket around in my sleep and then I realized that the fan was on. This incident shocked me with ultimate faith in the book. This might seem to many of you a coincidence or a lie but the door of my room was locked in and I don’t have any past experience of getting up in my sleep.

  6. Tom Phillips

    Jan 15, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Hey Laura,

    Brilliant post! Really breaks it down and is very understandable.

    I had the same issue as Steve above, great comment also, with fear. Once you overcome your fear, break your goals down into easy to achieve chunks and start to focus solely on the feeling of already achieving that goal, things start to happen much quicker than you think!

    Keep up the good work 🙂

  7. Asino

    Jan 11, 2015 at 7:32 am

    So, I read this article yesterday and decided to try it out immediately. I’ve been having these backup phone chargers that I have been trying to sell for months. I would advertise them on Facebook and get 2 or 3 orders. Sales were going so slow that I forgot about them and left them laying around in my closet.

    Yesterday I decided that I want to sell all of them in the space 4 days. I then visualised myself being surrounded by people pushing their money into my face, wanting to buy the chargers. My next step was to advertise on that same Facebook page that gave me mediocre results in the past. The response it got exceeded all my expectations and lo and behold, all the chargers sold out that same day 😀

    I feel like I should be giving you a cut lol.
    Thank you for this great article.

  8. Zach

    Jan 7, 2015 at 10:01 pm

    Great great article. Here’s a quick little story for you…

    In 2003, I was mad down on my luck. Lost everything to a house fire, flunked out of college and had littler $.45 to my name. Moved in with my now inlaws and came home from a dead end job to my now wife watching Oprah. Everyone was talking about this book that changed their life called “The Secret”. I bought, and thought it was a bunch of crock, but told myself – literally – what else do I have to lose.

    I chose to set a goal of an extra $100 in the next 2 weeks. That same day – THAT SAME DAY – my father inlaw asked if I could sell his old tool bench and if I did, I could keep the money. Do you know what it sold for the next week?

    $100. My life has never been the same since. I have a goal in life to have more people understand that focusing on what you want is WAY better than what you don’t.

    Again – great great article!

  9. Daria

    Jan 7, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    This was just what I needed to read today! I retired from teaching Visual Arts in June 2013 with the intent of finding a second career. The first year I did a lot of substituting, which was fine, but not very fulfilling. It did allow me to adjust some what to my retirement and sort through 37 years of teaching materials. Last January, a friend of mine suggested, if I wasn’t happy where I was living and doing, why not considered moving elsewhere? That has been my thought and focus ever since on a daily basis. It’s now 6 months until my lease is up and the count down is on!
    My plan is to move to Lexington, Kentucky to work for the university is some capacity. I receive daily housing and employment updates online and the house I love is my screen saver. Next step is creating a resume and applying. I’m excited and can’t wait! I know that my positive thoughts and visualizing are key.
    Thank you for such a well written article. It was meant for me!
    Daria

  10. hashim ca

    Jan 7, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    nice, it feels like we all are special

  11. Shane

    Jan 7, 2015 at 1:08 am

    Good article to remember. Really, I need no convincing, as this is stuff I’ve seen already. Most recently, for quite a while I’ve actively wanted a new jacket for work but couldn’t quite justify it. Then the company Christmas party. They drew my name for the $300 heated jacket. I like the structured approach you’ve outlined. Will remember this.

  12. Steve Reed

    Jan 6, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    Great article Laura

    The old adage that ‘thoughts become things’ seems to be true indeed 🙂

    One thing I have really learned in recent years, hacving struggled with all the fears you mention, is that in the end, setting lofty goals for the long term is awesome, but breaking that down into much smaller goals is where the gold is. 14 days, like you said, is a good starting place. And from there, I tend to work out the daily actions that I need to put in place to reach that mini goal.

    Then, I work out a simple trigger action that will get me doing those daily things. As an example. I am an author, had some bestsellers on Amazon, but the idea of writing 30K words in a month is kinda scary, although not hard to achieve.

    My trigger action, is packing my laptop in the morning and going to the car. That’s it. If that happens, I open the gate, drive into town, buy a pot of tea at my fave coffeeshop, and come home a couple of hours later with 2000 extra words written. Always. I forget the goal, I just concentrate on the trigger action, and the rest takes care of itself.

    I’d recommend this to anyone who struggles to reach their goals, and combined with your awesome tips, making progress is not as hard as it may appear.

    Thanks for a cool article, I learned a lot

    -S

    • CrazyMonkey

      Feb 3, 2015 at 6:34 pm

      Great comment 🙂

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Success Advice

3 Life Lessons in Perseverance to Achieve Your Wildest Dreams

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I have two careers as an actor and a marketer with each having its own unique challenges. However, the number of parallels I continue to find in my chosen professions never ceases to amaze me. Of these lessons, perhaps one of the most valuable is that of persistence, and the mental resilience I’ve had to learn. You can’t be an actor without resilience as I experience rejection dozens of times per week.

Acting is a lesson in endurance, not a sprint. When you think about it though, doesn’t that apply to any career? It’s not easy to “Keep on keeping on.” No matter what path life has led you down, I’m sure you’ve experienced plenty of bumps. Sometimes, those bumps turn into potholes that the universe seems to refuse to fix.

As an actor, rejection is par for the course. Thankfully, I’ve learned how to persevere in spite of it. When life gets especially challenging, and you are dealing with change, disappointment or missteps, make use of these life lessons and continue pressing on towards your goal.

Below are 3 lessons in perseverance which will help you achieve your wildest dreams:

1. Know when it’s time to recalibrate

Goals are an important and necessary tool to reach our full potential. They keep us focused to help make small decisions on a daily basis such as if I should get up for that 8 a.m. run along with bigger decisions such as if I should take a new job offer. While setting goals is essential, don’t let them overpower you.

Tunnel vision in reaching your goals adds unnecessary pressure. This causes us to make mistakes we wouldn’t have made otherwise. Get too obsessed with a goal and you’ll forget the big picture, such as why you chose this course to begin with. Take a lesson from one of my favorite casting directors, Dave Newman of McSweeney Newman Casting.

Forget trying to “make it big” as an actor. It is normal to wait years before booking work with a decent paycheck. If you’re in the room with Dave, it’s hard not to let the pressure take over your performance.

In the words of Dave, as soon as those words from A Chorus Line enter your head, “God, I hope I get it!” it’s time to adjust your mindset. Dave advises taking a step back, refocusing, and doing anything that isn’t acting. Sometimes the best way to reach a goal is by shifting your gaze just for a moment. Take the pressure off and recalibrate your thoughts. You’ll come back recharged with a fresh perspective to pursue your objectives.

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

2. Appreciate the journey

Perseverance requires a heaping dose of appreciation. This means acknowledging all the wins in your life, both big and small. Even if you haven’t yet met your goal, remember that you are moving towards it and that alone is an achievement.

As Linda Gillum, Casting Director at Chicago theatre Remy Bumppo explains, “With everything you do, you’re planting seeds.” It takes time for the seeds of success to grow. As an actor, my seeds take a lot of sunshine, water, and gratitude for the little things. A win can be as simple as improving my technique or getting an audition; I can’t base my happiness on booked jobs.

Persistence becomes much easier when you notice your achievements despite those potholes surrounding you. Celebrate the small wins; they’re what milestones are built on. Even if your manager or co-workers don’t recognize your work, give yourself that pat on the back.

To stay motivated, make a mental highlight reel of your achievements. Afterwards, be ready to hit the play button whenever you need a quick pick-me-up.

3. Embrace mistakes or at least be okay with them

No matter how much you hate mistakes, they’ll keep happening. Some people seem to move on from mistakes quickly, letting them roll off their backs. For others, that’s not the case (If you’re fighting to be perfect or gain confidence I’m talking to you!). The fear to avoid mistakes can be crippling.

This is also true in acting, where you work and wait years for a five-minute audition that could change everything. However, my best work won’t come unless I live in the moment and trust my instincts. And you know what that means, things can go wrong in an instant. But guess what? I still have to dive in, and I mean all in. If I don’t risk it all, my audition will suck, and I’ll lose before I even walk through the door.

We all recognize that positives, including life lessons, come from mistakes. However, that doesn’t stop the nosedive mistakes caused on emotions and confidence. Sometimes, we do everything in our power to avoid that feeling.

“The phoenix must burn to emerge.” – Janet Fitch

Remember that there’s truth in the statement, “The biggest mistake is not making mistakes.” One way to get over your fear of failure is to make your focus on continuous improvement, not perfection. Teaching yourself to be okay with mistakes takes time but is necessary to maintain resilience.

You can allow yourself a learning curve, but it is essential to work on letting go of missteps. It takes practice to let go of the could have or would have statements. The good news is practice and persistence go hand-in-hand.

Take stock of what makes you happy in life, and turn to those things when mistakes happen. Little by little, as you learn to turn your attention elsewhere when missteps occur, you’ll train your brain to move on. This is how mistakes lose their power over you and enable you to pursue your goal with confidence.

Persistence is a state of mind. In the end, it means being kind to yourself. Know when to give yourself a break and pat on the back as you recharge your batteries. Then, you’ll find yourself able to maneuver whatever twists and turns life throws your way.

How do you remain determined in reaching your goals when it seems like the day won’t come? Let us know your advice and tips for your fellow entrepreneurs below!

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Success Advice

Dress for Success: 4 Small Fashion Choices That Make All the Difference

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When it comes to succeeding in business, making a good impression is just as much about your inner qualities as it is about your outer presentation. The fact of the matter is that your clothing and color choices, affect others’ perception of you. Believe it or not, you can achieve fashion-inspired success without splurging on a pair of Louboutins or shelling out $1000 for a designer suit. Just a few striking accessories can often complete the picture.

It may sound ridiculous that small accessories can affect the vibe you give off. It’s true, and certain accessories can even send certain messages. A recent study conducted by the University of Hertfordshire found that well-dressed male figures (whose faces were not shown) were perceived to be more confident, trustworthy, and well-to-do. Even minor adjustments to their clothing, such as adding on an accessory or more closely tailoring the suit, impacted these impressions.

However, our clothes not only impact the way others perceive us, but the way we perceive ourselves. A study conducted by the Scientific American, found that those who “suit up” performed better in cognitive tests. It suggests that being well-dressed releases more testosterone, which in turn increases confidence.

This allows well-dressed professionals to negotiate better deals, and in the long run, potentially make more money. So, maybe you’ve got the clothes, but what are the finishing touches you can put on your outfit to send an even stronger message? See below!

1. Wear a watch

A beautiful watch makes all the difference – and this goes for men and women. Even a simple button-down and jeans, or plain-colored dress, can be exponentially stylized by a standout watch. Charismatic individuals tend to talk more with their hands, too, as this captivates their listeners. Wearing a flashy wrist accessory like a watch will make your points even more engrossing. Furthermore, wearing a watch sends a subconscious message: you’re always on time. Individuals who wear a watch can always keep track of time and therefore, will never be late to a meeting.

“To me, clothing is a form of self-expression – There are hints about who you are in what you wear.” – Marc Jacobs

2. Tie it off with a tie pin

The one criticism of men’s business fashion is that it lacks variety. Let’s face it, while women have an infinite number of patterns, dress lengths, colors, and sleeve styles to choose from, men are pretty much locked into one outfit: the suit. You can buy one in suede, another in navy blue, throw in a paisley tie, but it’s simply not enough.

Adding on a tie pin will make a significant difference. Not only does it add a little shimmer to an otherwise dull suit, but it adds personality too. The kind of tie pin you choose says a lot about you. Maybe you’re a simple guy who just likes sterling silver, or you may choose to tout your school pride by wearing the colors of your alma mater (which, by the way, can also make a great conversation starter).

You can also create custom tie pins that feature the name of your company, or perhaps a saying that you’re fond of. The options are limitless.

3. A quality briefcase

It doesn’t even matter if you have nothing to carry around, the key is to never show up empty-handed. A quality leather briefcase is an important asset for men and women. Backpacks and most handbags don’t signify professionalism. A briefcase, on the other hand, symbolizes professionalism and importance. After all, what else would you carry in a briefcase except for a load of important documents and files, right?

The truth is, it doesn’t matter if all you have in your briefcase is a Kit-Kat Bar. All that matters is that it’s by your side and contains the essentials – a beautiful silver pen (perhaps with your name engraved), a notepad or iPad, and business cards that can be pulled out in a flash without having to rummage through your pockets.

“You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.” – Edith Head

4. Nice sunglasses

It’s a sunny day and you’ve got a working lunch across town. Rather than squinting your way from Point A to Point B, top off your look with a pair of stylish sunglasses. Not only do these send a more casual vibe when tucked in your pocket, but the right sunglasses can give you a sleek aesthetic (think 007, but with business lunches). Wayfarers a la Audrey Hepburn and aviators a la Tom Cruise are the go-to choices for business professional sunglasses. You can’t go wrong with either of these styles.

The bottom line is that you choose how you wish to be viewed. The lesson here is much akin to the old adage: “don’t dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want.” And if you have the job you want, don’t send your fashion choices to the sidelines. Not only can clothes/accessories indicate our knowledge and experience, but also our authority.

How has a nice outfit helped you in your professional career? Comment below!

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How Creativity Leads to a More Successful Life

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Human beings are curious, inquisitive and creative. We have a deep desire to make meaning of our world and each other by creating. Each culture brings new ideas and meaning to gain a sense of belonging and purpose. Success comes from understanding your contribution to the world and the spark of this contribution comes from a creative place. Understanding the power that comes from creativity can help to elevate you in many ways.

Mary Lou Cook said, “Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun.” Having fun is part of the human experiment that not only provides a sense of purpose, but builds our humanity and scales our ability to succeed. Too many of us don’t allow ourselves a creative outlet or space because we don’t see the value in it if it doesn’t lead to a specific outcome.

Creativity is ever more important in today’s connection economy, because it is the outcome. As the world continues to race toward innovation, faster, cheaper, and quicker, are what distinguishes us from the crowd in terms of individual creative contribution. The more we share and create, the more we find out how valuable this concept is. Creativity cannot be outsourced, it must be cultivated, challenged, and inspired by human curiosity.

Below are 4 ways in which creativity leads to a more successful life:

1. Creativity Creates Deeper Connection to Work

Creativity is the act of experimenting and learning about what works and what may not. When we see creativity as a part of our work and not something left to a small artistic elite then we can create a deeper connection to the work we are meant to do in the world. If we see work as a part of our bigger purpose then our success will increase when we spend time being creative.

The more your creative footprint can be seen, understood, and felt, the more impact you will have. If you see an opportunity to think outside of the box in a particular situation because you see the world differently than your peers, then you have the edge to provide value that no one else can. And, guess what? Each one of us sees the world differently as part of our own uniqueness.

You already possess that special edge even if you were unsure of it before now. If you constantly avoid sharing your creative thoughts you are resisting your inner talents and hiding from the possibilities that lie within the power of your creativity.

“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” – Dorothy Parker

2. Incorporate More Creativity into Your Life

One of the ways you can grow in your ability to bring creativity in your life is to spend time having a “What if” mentality. Spending quality time wondering, dreaming and not stressed about the consequences of being wrong can be freeing.

If what we created wasn’t judged or had no real consequence beyond an act of wonder, we might dream up new solutions to old problems. Elon Musk allowed this “What if” mentality wondering what if he created a company that would make commercial space flight possible? His company is built not around what is, but what might be.

By bringing this sense of wonder and playfulness into our work, life and contribution, we can let go of some of the self-imposed limits we have placed on our own success. If we treat our work and life a bit more like play, we will see a growth in our ability to perform and contribute even more to the already exciting and wonderful world we live in.

3. Opportunity for New Thinking

Sometimes when we are working on a project, either in a team or solo, we might find that we are hitting a wall with a project or in finding a solution to a problem. Instead of looking for the answer, sometimes we need to allow our creative brain to play and search for answers that might be hidden.

By hidden, I mean not yet created. Take some time to remove yourself from the work at hand and just wonder. Consider ways that might seem impossible to do but might spark new ideas. New learning can come from adding two crazy ideas together or taking an old idea and making a wild new way of thinking about it.

For example, posing a question and just wondering about a solution might spark a solution that was not seen. How might we improve the passenger boarding process at the airport so that we can foresee new ideas that were not there before.

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

4. Create New Learning Pathways and Increase Brain Activity

When we are creative, we start to open our minds to new thinking. We begin to see new thinking and opportunities that we didn’t notice before. We also silence our amygdala or our lizard brain that is often in fight or flight mode to protect us.

When we are in a state of creative flow we silence the need to protect ourselves and find more peace and openness to new ideas and success. Try drawing on paper using colors, images and textures to visually create and noodle over ideas.

By using colors and a variety of mixed media aside from computers, smartphones and other electronics, you will invite a playful, often semi-dormant, part of your subconscious mind to work in upping your creativity game. The subtle connections and associations that occur in our brains when we use visualization can lead us to embark on new discoveries and success.

How has using your own creativity helped you succeed? Let us know in the comments below!

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Success Advice

Challenge Your Comfort Zone: 4 Behaviors to Master Effortless Execution

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Comfort zones are strange psychological oddities. They exist, but they are hard to pin down. Here is a comfort zone summary: In each of us there exists a psychological boundary. As long as we behave within the confines of that boundary, in other words, inside the zone, we feel by definition, comfortable. When we venture outside of the boundary, we feel uncomfortable.

Think about waking up and brushing your teeth. Are you challenged? That behavior has become so ingrained into your personal morning routine that you probably don’t even think about it or remember doing it.

Now, think about having to give a 30-minute presentation to the board of directors of your company. Are you palms starting to sweat yet? In the former example, we are well within our comfort zone while in the latter, well on the outside of it. The question before us is how do we expand our comfort zone so that a behavior like speaking in front of the board of directors is just as easy as brushing our teeth?

I have been training and coaching on comfort zone expansion for many years, and I’ve come up with 4 behaviors that will get you outside of your comfort zone so that you too can experience the joys associated with continued success.

Before I give you the behaviors, let me cover a few axioms that should sell you on the idea as to why you want to get your comfort zone to expand. (Keep in mind the expansion (or contraction) of your comfort zone is totally up to you. It is a decision that you need to make and that you need to follow through on. No one can do it for you!)

Axioms:

  • Successful people do what unsuccessful people are unwilling to do! Face it, the reason people become successful is because of achievement! They have a bias toward action.
  • Successful people are people who reside at the edge of their comfort zone. These are the people that volunteer to take on that tough client, head up that tough project, chair that committee that no one else wants to. Don’t get me wrong, they are nervous and doubtful of their abilities and are afraid, but they do it anyway. Why? Because they are hardwired for success.
  • Successful people are people who begin to feel comfortable feeling uncomfortable. These are people who are consistently on the edge of their comfort zone, thus they got use to it. Now, taking on the tough assignment is second nature to them.

“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” – Brian Tracy

So, as you can see, success and stepping outside of the boundaries in which you feel safe and secure are really the same thing. Success comes to those who say they have the courage to try something new; something different.

How do you develop a bias toward action and stepping outside of your comfort zone? Try these 4 behaviors:

1. Do the same thing you have always done, only do it different

Take a different route to work. Try a different place for lunch (or at least something different on the menu). Use a different treadmill at the gym. Take a different route on your evening run. Get the idea? Take a different spin on the same old – same old.

2. Do the same thing you have always done, just do more of it

So, you wake up at 5:30 and run a mile? Good for you. Try waking up at 5:15 and run a mile and half. Is that too much of a change? No problem. Take 2 weeks to just wake up at 5:15. Spend a few extra minutes getting use to that time. Then start your mile and a half run after the 2 weeks of getting up 15 minutes early.

3. Stretch yourself; challenge yourself

But don’t venture so far outside of your comfort zone that you lose hope and get demotivated. If you have never exercised before, don’t expect to spend 3 hours at the gym your first day. (I love working out, but if I ever had to spend 3 hours at the gym, even after all these years, I would probably join the kingdom of coach potato!) Go slow, but go steady. No one says that you need to go a mile outside of your zone. Try venturing out an inch, then another inch, then a foot, and so on.

“There is no challenge more challenging than the challenge to improve yourself.”

4. Celebrate your victories

Congratulate yourself on your little successes. There is nothing so demotivating as to tell yourself that you will celebrate after victory, but never have a solid definition of success to gauge your celebration against.

If you begin to practice these behaviors and do so on a daily basis, you will begin to become aware of the fact that you are living on the edge of your comfort zone. You are trying new things that frighten you but are relishing in the exhilaration of those exciting new behaviors.

Richard Branson said that if our goals don’t scare us, they aren’t big enough. The way you determine bigger goals is to step outside of that land that is safe and secure and venture out into the wilderness of that frightening land of discomfort. Soon, you will claim that land as your own and it will be comfortable.

You may ask, what should I do then? That is, when I have attained comfort in doing what I felt uncomfortable doing in the past? The answer is simple: Keep going!

What is a big goal you have for yourself which you want to accomplish by the end of the year? Let us know in the comments so we can all encourage each other!

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25 Confucius Quotes That Will Inspire You to Live the Best Life Possible

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Image Credit | The Great Courses

Confucius was an exceptional teacher and philosopher that founded Confucianism which can be described as a way to govern your life. (more…)

Armando Quintana III is a current master’s student and one of his main goals is to be a physician. He mentors high school and college students along with giving them speeches on alternative ways to reach success, and aims to educate people as a future physician on the natural healing powers of the body. He can be reached through social media at @armandoq3 or his website at mfmanifesto.com.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Eric

    Mar 22, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    I am currently doing exactly what you are writing about. I am finally bringing forward an idea to reality after marinating on it for nearly 10-years. The biggest hurdle was expertise, but now the net allows collaboration with expertise in every field at low cost and ta da….my idea is emerging before my eyes. Watching a thought manifest into reality is almost indescribable! Great blog today!

  2. CrazyMonkey

    Feb 3, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    This is a great article. I have seen the steps laid out in the experiment many times in my previous readings. However, what I struggle with are two things:

    1) FEAR – I guess as humans, you can never get rid of fear. However, you can overcome it, but how?? I struggle with the general mentality of being fearless.

    2) Step #4 mentioned setting an intention. Is that enough? For exmple, for the longest time now, I have been wanted a brand new BMW M3. I am certainly making enough money to accomplish this dream. But, I can’t seem to convince myself that I deserve it. How to come over this?

  3. Tufail Cheema

    Jan 29, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    Very enlightening and thought provoking.
    I have just retired and now I am in my own business. I am going to apply it. Although it might not be easy but I will try to control because I am determined to do.

    Thanks a lot !

    Laura Clarke

  4. Imran Soudagar

    Jan 26, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    Thanks for the awesome article, the biggest problem most people face in their life is making decisions. I have seen people struggle with that and they get totally confused when there are more than 2 choices. It takes time to master this technique. But not impossible.

  5. Ganesh

    Jan 19, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    Trust me for a moment. I have a great story to inspire you all. Months ago during mid September 2014 I started reading a book ” think and grow rich”. In between somewhere 50th to 52nd page I was so excited about the thought of desire, emotions, faith, to achieve any goal, that I stopped reading where it was and concentrated on the wall mounted fan in front of me. Just to instantly test the theory in the book I wished with all my emotions and faith to turn the fan ON on its own. My time frame was 10 min but it didn’t work. I was bit depressed but was still hoping for a miracle to happen. For next half hour there was no sign. After that I felt asleep. To my greatest surprise in life around 5 am in morning I started feeling cold so searched for blanket around in my sleep and then I realized that the fan was on. This incident shocked me with ultimate faith in the book. This might seem to many of you a coincidence or a lie but the door of my room was locked in and I don’t have any past experience of getting up in my sleep.

  6. Tom Phillips

    Jan 15, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Hey Laura,

    Brilliant post! Really breaks it down and is very understandable.

    I had the same issue as Steve above, great comment also, with fear. Once you overcome your fear, break your goals down into easy to achieve chunks and start to focus solely on the feeling of already achieving that goal, things start to happen much quicker than you think!

    Keep up the good work 🙂

  7. Asino

    Jan 11, 2015 at 7:32 am

    So, I read this article yesterday and decided to try it out immediately. I’ve been having these backup phone chargers that I have been trying to sell for months. I would advertise them on Facebook and get 2 or 3 orders. Sales were going so slow that I forgot about them and left them laying around in my closet.

    Yesterday I decided that I want to sell all of them in the space 4 days. I then visualised myself being surrounded by people pushing their money into my face, wanting to buy the chargers. My next step was to advertise on that same Facebook page that gave me mediocre results in the past. The response it got exceeded all my expectations and lo and behold, all the chargers sold out that same day 😀

    I feel like I should be giving you a cut lol.
    Thank you for this great article.

  8. Zach

    Jan 7, 2015 at 10:01 pm

    Great great article. Here’s a quick little story for you…

    In 2003, I was mad down on my luck. Lost everything to a house fire, flunked out of college and had littler $.45 to my name. Moved in with my now inlaws and came home from a dead end job to my now wife watching Oprah. Everyone was talking about this book that changed their life called “The Secret”. I bought, and thought it was a bunch of crock, but told myself – literally – what else do I have to lose.

    I chose to set a goal of an extra $100 in the next 2 weeks. That same day – THAT SAME DAY – my father inlaw asked if I could sell his old tool bench and if I did, I could keep the money. Do you know what it sold for the next week?

    $100. My life has never been the same since. I have a goal in life to have more people understand that focusing on what you want is WAY better than what you don’t.

    Again – great great article!

  9. Daria

    Jan 7, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    This was just what I needed to read today! I retired from teaching Visual Arts in June 2013 with the intent of finding a second career. The first year I did a lot of substituting, which was fine, but not very fulfilling. It did allow me to adjust some what to my retirement and sort through 37 years of teaching materials. Last January, a friend of mine suggested, if I wasn’t happy where I was living and doing, why not considered moving elsewhere? That has been my thought and focus ever since on a daily basis. It’s now 6 months until my lease is up and the count down is on!
    My plan is to move to Lexington, Kentucky to work for the university is some capacity. I receive daily housing and employment updates online and the house I love is my screen saver. Next step is creating a resume and applying. I’m excited and can’t wait! I know that my positive thoughts and visualizing are key.
    Thank you for such a well written article. It was meant for me!
    Daria

  10. hashim ca

    Jan 7, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    nice, it feels like we all are special

  11. Shane

    Jan 7, 2015 at 1:08 am

    Good article to remember. Really, I need no convincing, as this is stuff I’ve seen already. Most recently, for quite a while I’ve actively wanted a new jacket for work but couldn’t quite justify it. Then the company Christmas party. They drew my name for the $300 heated jacket. I like the structured approach you’ve outlined. Will remember this.

  12. Steve Reed

    Jan 6, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    Great article Laura

    The old adage that ‘thoughts become things’ seems to be true indeed 🙂

    One thing I have really learned in recent years, hacving struggled with all the fears you mention, is that in the end, setting lofty goals for the long term is awesome, but breaking that down into much smaller goals is where the gold is. 14 days, like you said, is a good starting place. And from there, I tend to work out the daily actions that I need to put in place to reach that mini goal.

    Then, I work out a simple trigger action that will get me doing those daily things. As an example. I am an author, had some bestsellers on Amazon, but the idea of writing 30K words in a month is kinda scary, although not hard to achieve.

    My trigger action, is packing my laptop in the morning and going to the car. That’s it. If that happens, I open the gate, drive into town, buy a pot of tea at my fave coffeeshop, and come home a couple of hours later with 2000 extra words written. Always. I forget the goal, I just concentrate on the trigger action, and the rest takes care of itself.

    I’d recommend this to anyone who struggles to reach their goals, and combined with your awesome tips, making progress is not as hard as it may appear.

    Thanks for a cool article, I learned a lot

    -S

    • CrazyMonkey

      Feb 3, 2015 at 6:34 pm

      Great comment 🙂

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Success Advice

3 Life Lessons in Perseverance to Achieve Your Wildest Dreams

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I have two careers as an actor and a marketer with each having its own unique challenges. However, the number of parallels I continue to find in my chosen professions never ceases to amaze me. Of these lessons, perhaps one of the most valuable is that of persistence, and the mental resilience I’ve had to learn. You can’t be an actor without resilience as I experience rejection dozens of times per week.

Acting is a lesson in endurance, not a sprint. When you think about it though, doesn’t that apply to any career? It’s not easy to “Keep on keeping on.” No matter what path life has led you down, I’m sure you’ve experienced plenty of bumps. Sometimes, those bumps turn into potholes that the universe seems to refuse to fix.

As an actor, rejection is par for the course. Thankfully, I’ve learned how to persevere in spite of it. When life gets especially challenging, and you are dealing with change, disappointment or missteps, make use of these life lessons and continue pressing on towards your goal.

Below are 3 lessons in perseverance which will help you achieve your wildest dreams:

1. Know when it’s time to recalibrate

Goals are an important and necessary tool to reach our full potential. They keep us focused to help make small decisions on a daily basis such as if I should get up for that 8 a.m. run along with bigger decisions such as if I should take a new job offer. While setting goals is essential, don’t let them overpower you.

Tunnel vision in reaching your goals adds unnecessary pressure. This causes us to make mistakes we wouldn’t have made otherwise. Get too obsessed with a goal and you’ll forget the big picture, such as why you chose this course to begin with. Take a lesson from one of my favorite casting directors, Dave Newman of McSweeney Newman Casting.

Forget trying to “make it big” as an actor. It is normal to wait years before booking work with a decent paycheck. If you’re in the room with Dave, it’s hard not to let the pressure take over your performance.

In the words of Dave, as soon as those words from A Chorus Line enter your head, “God, I hope I get it!” it’s time to adjust your mindset. Dave advises taking a step back, refocusing, and doing anything that isn’t acting. Sometimes the best way to reach a goal is by shifting your gaze just for a moment. Take the pressure off and recalibrate your thoughts. You’ll come back recharged with a fresh perspective to pursue your objectives.

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

2. Appreciate the journey

Perseverance requires a heaping dose of appreciation. This means acknowledging all the wins in your life, both big and small. Even if you haven’t yet met your goal, remember that you are moving towards it and that alone is an achievement.

As Linda Gillum, Casting Director at Chicago theatre Remy Bumppo explains, “With everything you do, you’re planting seeds.” It takes time for the seeds of success to grow. As an actor, my seeds take a lot of sunshine, water, and gratitude for the little things. A win can be as simple as improving my technique or getting an audition; I can’t base my happiness on booked jobs.

Persistence becomes much easier when you notice your achievements despite those potholes surrounding you. Celebrate the small wins; they’re what milestones are built on. Even if your manager or co-workers don’t recognize your work, give yourself that pat on the back.

To stay motivated, make a mental highlight reel of your achievements. Afterwards, be ready to hit the play button whenever you need a quick pick-me-up.

3. Embrace mistakes or at least be okay with them

No matter how much you hate mistakes, they’ll keep happening. Some people seem to move on from mistakes quickly, letting them roll off their backs. For others, that’s not the case (If you’re fighting to be perfect or gain confidence I’m talking to you!). The fear to avoid mistakes can be crippling.

This is also true in acting, where you work and wait years for a five-minute audition that could change everything. However, my best work won’t come unless I live in the moment and trust my instincts. And you know what that means, things can go wrong in an instant. But guess what? I still have to dive in, and I mean all in. If I don’t risk it all, my audition will suck, and I’ll lose before I even walk through the door.

We all recognize that positives, including life lessons, come from mistakes. However, that doesn’t stop the nosedive mistakes caused on emotions and confidence. Sometimes, we do everything in our power to avoid that feeling.

“The phoenix must burn to emerge.” – Janet Fitch

Remember that there’s truth in the statement, “The biggest mistake is not making mistakes.” One way to get over your fear of failure is to make your focus on continuous improvement, not perfection. Teaching yourself to be okay with mistakes takes time but is necessary to maintain resilience.

You can allow yourself a learning curve, but it is essential to work on letting go of missteps. It takes practice to let go of the could have or would have statements. The good news is practice and persistence go hand-in-hand.

Take stock of what makes you happy in life, and turn to those things when mistakes happen. Little by little, as you learn to turn your attention elsewhere when missteps occur, you’ll train your brain to move on. This is how mistakes lose their power over you and enable you to pursue your goal with confidence.

Persistence is a state of mind. In the end, it means being kind to yourself. Know when to give yourself a break and pat on the back as you recharge your batteries. Then, you’ll find yourself able to maneuver whatever twists and turns life throws your way.

How do you remain determined in reaching your goals when it seems like the day won’t come? Let us know your advice and tips for your fellow entrepreneurs below!

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Success Advice

Dress for Success: 4 Small Fashion Choices That Make All the Difference

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When it comes to succeeding in business, making a good impression is just as much about your inner qualities as it is about your outer presentation. The fact of the matter is that your clothing and color choices, affect others’ perception of you. Believe it or not, you can achieve fashion-inspired success without splurging on a pair of Louboutins or shelling out $1000 for a designer suit. Just a few striking accessories can often complete the picture.

It may sound ridiculous that small accessories can affect the vibe you give off. It’s true, and certain accessories can even send certain messages. A recent study conducted by the University of Hertfordshire found that well-dressed male figures (whose faces were not shown) were perceived to be more confident, trustworthy, and well-to-do. Even minor adjustments to their clothing, such as adding on an accessory or more closely tailoring the suit, impacted these impressions.

However, our clothes not only impact the way others perceive us, but the way we perceive ourselves. A study conducted by the Scientific American, found that those who “suit up” performed better in cognitive tests. It suggests that being well-dressed releases more testosterone, which in turn increases confidence.

This allows well-dressed professionals to negotiate better deals, and in the long run, potentially make more money. So, maybe you’ve got the clothes, but what are the finishing touches you can put on your outfit to send an even stronger message? See below!

1. Wear a watch

A beautiful watch makes all the difference – and this goes for men and women. Even a simple button-down and jeans, or plain-colored dress, can be exponentially stylized by a standout watch. Charismatic individuals tend to talk more with their hands, too, as this captivates their listeners. Wearing a flashy wrist accessory like a watch will make your points even more engrossing. Furthermore, wearing a watch sends a subconscious message: you’re always on time. Individuals who wear a watch can always keep track of time and therefore, will never be late to a meeting.

“To me, clothing is a form of self-expression – There are hints about who you are in what you wear.” – Marc Jacobs

2. Tie it off with a tie pin

The one criticism of men’s business fashion is that it lacks variety. Let’s face it, while women have an infinite number of patterns, dress lengths, colors, and sleeve styles to choose from, men are pretty much locked into one outfit: the suit. You can buy one in suede, another in navy blue, throw in a paisley tie, but it’s simply not enough.

Adding on a tie pin will make a significant difference. Not only does it add a little shimmer to an otherwise dull suit, but it adds personality too. The kind of tie pin you choose says a lot about you. Maybe you’re a simple guy who just likes sterling silver, or you may choose to tout your school pride by wearing the colors of your alma mater (which, by the way, can also make a great conversation starter).

You can also create custom tie pins that feature the name of your company, or perhaps a saying that you’re fond of. The options are limitless.

3. A quality briefcase

It doesn’t even matter if you have nothing to carry around, the key is to never show up empty-handed. A quality leather briefcase is an important asset for men and women. Backpacks and most handbags don’t signify professionalism. A briefcase, on the other hand, symbolizes professionalism and importance. After all, what else would you carry in a briefcase except for a load of important documents and files, right?

The truth is, it doesn’t matter if all you have in your briefcase is a Kit-Kat Bar. All that matters is that it’s by your side and contains the essentials – a beautiful silver pen (perhaps with your name engraved), a notepad or iPad, and business cards that can be pulled out in a flash without having to rummage through your pockets.

“You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.” – Edith Head

4. Nice sunglasses

It’s a sunny day and you’ve got a working lunch across town. Rather than squinting your way from Point A to Point B, top off your look with a pair of stylish sunglasses. Not only do these send a more casual vibe when tucked in your pocket, but the right sunglasses can give you a sleek aesthetic (think 007, but with business lunches). Wayfarers a la Audrey Hepburn and aviators a la Tom Cruise are the go-to choices for business professional sunglasses. You can’t go wrong with either of these styles.

The bottom line is that you choose how you wish to be viewed. The lesson here is much akin to the old adage: “don’t dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want.” And if you have the job you want, don’t send your fashion choices to the sidelines. Not only can clothes/accessories indicate our knowledge and experience, but also our authority.

How has a nice outfit helped you in your professional career? Comment below!

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Success Advice

How Creativity Leads to a More Successful Life

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Human beings are curious, inquisitive and creative. We have a deep desire to make meaning of our world and each other by creating. Each culture brings new ideas and meaning to gain a sense of belonging and purpose. Success comes from understanding your contribution to the world and the spark of this contribution comes from a creative place. Understanding the power that comes from creativity can help to elevate you in many ways.

Mary Lou Cook said, “Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun.” Having fun is part of the human experiment that not only provides a sense of purpose, but builds our humanity and scales our ability to succeed. Too many of us don’t allow ourselves a creative outlet or space because we don’t see the value in it if it doesn’t lead to a specific outcome.

Creativity is ever more important in today’s connection economy, because it is the outcome. As the world continues to race toward innovation, faster, cheaper, and quicker, are what distinguishes us from the crowd in terms of individual creative contribution. The more we share and create, the more we find out how valuable this concept is. Creativity cannot be outsourced, it must be cultivated, challenged, and inspired by human curiosity.

Below are 4 ways in which creativity leads to a more successful life:

1. Creativity Creates Deeper Connection to Work

Creativity is the act of experimenting and learning about what works and what may not. When we see creativity as a part of our work and not something left to a small artistic elite then we can create a deeper connection to the work we are meant to do in the world. If we see work as a part of our bigger purpose then our success will increase when we spend time being creative.

The more your creative footprint can be seen, understood, and felt, the more impact you will have. If you see an opportunity to think outside of the box in a particular situation because you see the world differently than your peers, then you have the edge to provide value that no one else can. And, guess what? Each one of us sees the world differently as part of our own uniqueness.

You already possess that special edge even if you were unsure of it before now. If you constantly avoid sharing your creative thoughts you are resisting your inner talents and hiding from the possibilities that lie within the power of your creativity.

“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” – Dorothy Parker

2. Incorporate More Creativity into Your Life

One of the ways you can grow in your ability to bring creativity in your life is to spend time having a “What if” mentality. Spending quality time wondering, dreaming and not stressed about the consequences of being wrong can be freeing.

If what we created wasn’t judged or had no real consequence beyond an act of wonder, we might dream up new solutions to old problems. Elon Musk allowed this “What if” mentality wondering what if he created a company that would make commercial space flight possible? His company is built not around what is, but what might be.

By bringing this sense of wonder and playfulness into our work, life and contribution, we can let go of some of the self-imposed limits we have placed on our own success. If we treat our work and life a bit more like play, we will see a growth in our ability to perform and contribute even more to the already exciting and wonderful world we live in.

3. Opportunity for New Thinking

Sometimes when we are working on a project, either in a team or solo, we might find that we are hitting a wall with a project or in finding a solution to a problem. Instead of looking for the answer, sometimes we need to allow our creative brain to play and search for answers that might be hidden.

By hidden, I mean not yet created. Take some time to remove yourself from the work at hand and just wonder. Consider ways that might seem impossible to do but might spark new ideas. New learning can come from adding two crazy ideas together or taking an old idea and making a wild new way of thinking about it.

For example, posing a question and just wondering about a solution might spark a solution that was not seen. How might we improve the passenger boarding process at the airport so that we can foresee new ideas that were not there before.

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

4. Create New Learning Pathways and Increase Brain Activity

When we are creative, we start to open our minds to new thinking. We begin to see new thinking and opportunities that we didn’t notice before. We also silence our amygdala or our lizard brain that is often in fight or flight mode to protect us.

When we are in a state of creative flow we silence the need to protect ourselves and find more peace and openness to new ideas and success. Try drawing on paper using colors, images and textures to visually create and noodle over ideas.

By using colors and a variety of mixed media aside from computers, smartphones and other electronics, you will invite a playful, often semi-dormant, part of your subconscious mind to work in upping your creativity game. The subtle connections and associations that occur in our brains when we use visualization can lead us to embark on new discoveries and success.

How has using your own creativity helped you succeed? Let us know in the comments below!

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Success Advice

Challenge Your Comfort Zone: 4 Behaviors to Master Effortless Execution

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Comfort zones are strange psychological oddities. They exist, but they are hard to pin down. Here is a comfort zone summary: In each of us there exists a psychological boundary. As long as we behave within the confines of that boundary, in other words, inside the zone, we feel by definition, comfortable. When we venture outside of the boundary, we feel uncomfortable.

Think about waking up and brushing your teeth. Are you challenged? That behavior has become so ingrained into your personal morning routine that you probably don’t even think about it or remember doing it.

Now, think about having to give a 30-minute presentation to the board of directors of your company. Are you palms starting to sweat yet? In the former example, we are well within our comfort zone while in the latter, well on the outside of it. The question before us is how do we expand our comfort zone so that a behavior like speaking in front of the board of directors is just as easy as brushing our teeth?

I have been training and coaching on comfort zone expansion for many years, and I’ve come up with 4 behaviors that will get you outside of your comfort zone so that you too can experience the joys associated with continued success.

Before I give you the behaviors, let me cover a few axioms that should sell you on the idea as to why you want to get your comfort zone to expand. (Keep in mind the expansion (or contraction) of your comfort zone is totally up to you. It is a decision that you need to make and that you need to follow through on. No one can do it for you!)

Axioms:

  • Successful people do what unsuccessful people are unwilling to do! Face it, the reason people become successful is because of achievement! They have a bias toward action.
  • Successful people are people who reside at the edge of their comfort zone. These are the people that volunteer to take on that tough client, head up that tough project, chair that committee that no one else wants to. Don’t get me wrong, they are nervous and doubtful of their abilities and are afraid, but they do it anyway. Why? Because they are hardwired for success.
  • Successful people are people who begin to feel comfortable feeling uncomfortable. These are people who are consistently on the edge of their comfort zone, thus they got use to it. Now, taking on the tough assignment is second nature to them.

“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” – Brian Tracy

So, as you can see, success and stepping outside of the boundaries in which you feel safe and secure are really the same thing. Success comes to those who say they have the courage to try something new; something different.

How do you develop a bias toward action and stepping outside of your comfort zone? Try these 4 behaviors:

1. Do the same thing you have always done, only do it different

Take a different route to work. Try a different place for lunch (or at least something different on the menu). Use a different treadmill at the gym. Take a different route on your evening run. Get the idea? Take a different spin on the same old – same old.

2. Do the same thing you have always done, just do more of it

So, you wake up at 5:30 and run a mile? Good for you. Try waking up at 5:15 and run a mile and half. Is that too much of a change? No problem. Take 2 weeks to just wake up at 5:15. Spend a few extra minutes getting use to that time. Then start your mile and a half run after the 2 weeks of getting up 15 minutes early.

3. Stretch yourself; challenge yourself

But don’t venture so far outside of your comfort zone that you lose hope and get demotivated. If you have never exercised before, don’t expect to spend 3 hours at the gym your first day. (I love working out, but if I ever had to spend 3 hours at the gym, even after all these years, I would probably join the kingdom of coach potato!) Go slow, but go steady. No one says that you need to go a mile outside of your zone. Try venturing out an inch, then another inch, then a foot, and so on.

“There is no challenge more challenging than the challenge to improve yourself.”

4. Celebrate your victories

Congratulate yourself on your little successes. There is nothing so demotivating as to tell yourself that you will celebrate after victory, but never have a solid definition of success to gauge your celebration against.

If you begin to practice these behaviors and do so on a daily basis, you will begin to become aware of the fact that you are living on the edge of your comfort zone. You are trying new things that frighten you but are relishing in the exhilaration of those exciting new behaviors.

Richard Branson said that if our goals don’t scare us, they aren’t big enough. The way you determine bigger goals is to step outside of that land that is safe and secure and venture out into the wilderness of that frightening land of discomfort. Soon, you will claim that land as your own and it will be comfortable.

You may ask, what should I do then? That is, when I have attained comfort in doing what I felt uncomfortable doing in the past? The answer is simple: Keep going!

What is a big goal you have for yourself which you want to accomplish by the end of the year? Let us know in the comments so we can all encourage each other!

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