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Archive for the ‘self-improvement’ Category

By Jeffrey Baumgartner

1. Listen to music by Johann Sebastian Bach.  If Bach doesn’t make you more creative, you should probably see your doctor.

2. Brainstorm.  If properly carried out, brainstorming can help you not only come up with sacks full of new ideas, but can help you decide which is best.

3. Always carry a small notebook and a pen or pencil around with you.  That way, if you are struck by an idea, you can quickly note it down.  Upon rereading your notes, you may discover about 90% of your ideas are daft.  Don’t worry, that’s normal.  What’s important are the 10% that are brilliant.

4. If you’re stuck for an idea, open a dictionary, randomly select a word and then try to formulate ideas incorporating this word.  You’d be surprised how well this works.  The concept is based on a simple but little known truth: freedom inhibits creativity.  There are nothing like restrictions to get you thinking.

5. Define your problem.  Grab a sheet of paper, electronic notebook, computer or whatever you use to make notes, and define your problem in detail.  You’ll probably find ideas positively spewing out once you’ve done this.

6. If you can’t think, go for a walk.  A change of atmosphere is good for you and gentle exercise helps shake up the brain cells.

7. Don’t watch TV.  Experiments performed by the JPB Creative Laboratory show that watching TV causes your brain to slowly trickle out your ears and/or nose.  It’s not pretty, but it happens.

8. Don’t do drugs.  People on drugs think they are creative.  To everyone else, they seem like people on drugs.

9. Read as much as you can about everything possible.  Books exercise your brain, provide inspiration and fill you with information that allows you to make creative connections easily.

10. Exercise your brain.  Brains, like bodies, need exercise to keep fit.  If you don’t exercise your brain, it will get flabby and useless.  Exercise your brain by reading a lot (see above), talking to clever people and disagreeing with people- arguing can be a terrific way to give your brain cells a workout.  But note, arguing about politics or film directors is good for you; bickering over who should clean the dishes is not.

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1. The Secret to Being Insanely Creative- Zen Habits

2. Out-of-Box, In-the-Box, New-Box, Other-Box, No-Box Thinking- Creativity for Life

3. The Imagination Prompt Generator- Creativity Portal

4. Blue boosts creativity, red makes you careful- Globe and Mail

5. Art and the Narrative Gap- Layers of Meaning

6. Introduction to Creative Thinking- Virtual Salt

7. How to Incorporate Creativity into Your Business Practice- SCORE (Counselors to America’s Small Business)

8. Free Sewing Patterns- About.com

9. How to Make Pottery: A Step by Step Look- Out of the Fire Studio

10. Woodcraft.com offers over 1500 woodworking tools, plans and supplies for the passionate woodworker.

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1. Sometimes more mess can equal less stress.  Learn how to tolerate the natural chaos of your life and feel happier.

2. As you know, I am a big fan of Gretchen’s Happiness Project.  Today I want to direct you to her tips for dealing with criticism so that it is less stressful and more helpful.

3. An article after the early childhood educator in my heart- Scientific American Mind explains the seriousness of play.

4. Stressing about money?  Who isn’t?  The growing field of behavior economics is looking at the ways in which money drives us crazy.

road-to-happy

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This article was found on Monster.com.

Make Your Mark to Reach the Executive Suite

Plenty important, say headhunters, career coaches and management-development professionals. “You have to arrange your own discovery,” one executive search professional explains. But short of establishing your own vanity press and putting out books on topics you know something about — assuming, of course, you have a book’s worth of hot ideas in you — just how can you get the visibility in your field that will lead headhunters and other talent scouts to your door?

Here are a few possibilities:

  • Get Out of Your Office: Go to conferences, speak up in discussions, have people notice your ideas. Choose your meetings and conventions wisely, where you’ll be likely to meet people from different levels in your industry. Don’t view the time as a play day away from the office, but rather as a time to showcase your own competence and style. Read and think about the theme of the conference or seminar before you go so that you have some intelligent things to say there.
  • Get Quoted: Find friends of friends or family members who write articles about business or your field. Come up with some fresh ideas and get yourself introduced to somebody who is writing relevant articles and might quote you.
  • Speak Up: Volunteer to give talks anywhere there are people to listen — in your community, at your college or in your industry. Have something novel to say — you can’t tell who might be around to quote you.
  • Study Your Favorite Trade Magazines: Consider how you might get mentioned by someone else, or consider writing something yourself for one of those publications. Or get the annual Writer’s Market, a bible of who’s accepting articles on which topics in every kind of publication. Chances are you could find 20 or more likely publications. Some will pay well and some will pay in reprints, but money is not the issue here — what counts is just getting your name out there so some headhunters will want you on their prospect list.
  • Go to Events: Whenever something’s happening in your community or in your industry, go — whether you want to or not. Being seen and heard often can give you the visibility you need to be perceived as a leader, someone to watch.

But What If All This Visibility Isn’t Your Thing?

Well, here’s the rub — being visible, enjoying the limelight and having valuable things to say about the state of your industry, your community and the world are a major part of life at the top of the executive heap. Being honest with yourself about whether you really want to do that is an essential part of your own self-assessment and career management. If doing these five things sounds like an intriguing challenge, then you’d probably enjoy the extracurriculars of senior management. If you find yourself recoiling at the thought, then that tells you a little something about whether you’d be better off planning your career a different way. Life at the top is not necessarily about who is the best or the most talented — it’s largely about who enjoys the art and science of self-promotion. Only you can know if that’s you or not!

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This article comes from ineedmotivation.com and is a timely article for me to post since I am in the arena of changing careers.  With the economy the way it is, I thought it might be a timely article for others as well, whether you are actively searching or just looking for a way to increase the passion in your life.  I hope this gives you as much motivation as it gave me! 🙂

According to a recent survey, about 75% of the population do not know what their true passion is. Clearly, almost everyone seems to not be doing what they were meant to do. This is an eye-opener because doing what we really love is absolutely necessary if we want to be fully happy. Perhaps this is why there is so much unhappiness going on in our society, people just aren’t doing what they are here on Earth for. Finding your true passion isn’t as simple as it may seem. For some, yes it does come naturally, but most of the time, you have to ask yourself some questions to pinpoint exactly what you were born to do. Here are my 7 questions that can guide you to finding your ultimate passion:

1. What puts a smile on your face?
Is there a particular event, a particular topic that makes your whole face just lighten up? Whatever it is that makes you smile, and makes you happy whenever you encounter it, this is a sign of something you are passionate about. I truly believe that happiness and passion walk hand in hand. Both require each other. So following what makes you truly happy is a wonderful way to figuring out what you were put on Earth for. Think about something that you do or that perhaps you used to do that brings total peace to you when you do it. Peace is happiness, and happiness is passion.

2. What do you find easy?
Usually, what we find easy for us to do, will be related to what we are passionate about. It’s very hard to hate something that is very easy for us! For example, let’s say you are naturally good at playing the piano, you will find the activity easy, and this ease makes it much more fun for you. Fun leads to happiness and happiness is synonymous with passion ) So assess everything that you do, whatever it is that you find really easy and fun, this may very well be your passion. And don’t think that anything is off limits or silly. Some people have taken their passion for skateboarding, drawing, or collecting to full fledged careers. Remember this, you can make a career out of anything you are passionate about.

3. What sparks your creativity?
One of my passions growing up was hockey. It’s not too surprising, being Canadian and all ;) But I remember playing for hours and hours, and always coming up with different plays, and different methods to score goals. I was always full of creativity when playing hockey. Later in life, I developed similar creativity in business. Think about something in your life where you seem to always expand its horizon, always coming up with new, fun, and exciting ideas relating to that subject. Whatever makes you creative, is probably something that you are very passionate about.

4. What would you do for free?
In this society, we are ruled by the almighty dollar. That’s the way the system works, and that’s the game we have to play. The problem is, this leads many people to seek making money first, instead of what makes them happy. I have read countless number of stories about stock brokers and doctors for example, leaving their high paying positions to follow what they really love. There is a reason for that. I truly believe that if you follow what you are passionate about without thinking about if it will make you rich or not, you will end up being successful. Doing what you have a passion for brings out your best, and this leads to greatness. Greatness breezes to success. Do you think that the most successful people in the world got to where they are because they wanted to get rich? Absolutely not, they did what they were so passionate about, and their immense success was just a byproduct of their dedication. So think about something that you would just love to do, even if you were not getting paid. Think about something that you look forward to do, something that you wish you could do all the time.

5. What do you like to talk about?
The topics of conversation we have can definitely tell what we are interested in, and this is a good way to find out what we really enjoy in life. Most of the time, we aren’t totally aware of this. This is why, a very good way to figure this out properly, is to ask your friends. Ask them what they believe you like to talk about the most. Ask them what topic makes your eyes brighten up, and changes your entire behavior. I can guarantee you that some of their answers will be surprising to you. Some of these things weren’t that clear to you, but your friends can see the reaction on your face that you can’t see yourself. Try it out, it’s a very insightful exercise, and one that can direct you closer to figuring out your passion.

6. What makes you unafraid of failure?
When we do what we are passionate about, we have total confidence in our abilities. This makes us not worry about failing, because in our mind, how can we fail when we do what we love? Doing what you love is a success in and of itself, so failure is like an impossibility. Think of something that you just do or want to do, no matter what. Something that you do not have second thoughts about. Think about something that you feel you must do and that failure is not even a concern of yours, because the mere act of doing it is like the journey and the destination all wrapped up in one. This may very well be your true passion.

7. What would you regret not having tried?
We all have these dreams, and somehow, life pushes us in another direction, and next thing we know, we are far from those dreams we used to have. If you were at the end of your life, what would you regret not having pursued? What would you have liked to do, that you didn’t get a chance to? Think about what that might be. Whatever it is that you may experience regret now or later on for not having tried, this is a good chance to be your true passion. There is nothing worse than arriving at the end of the journey and having regret. This is why finding your passion, and following it is so important. Live your life so that you do not have regrets.

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There are some great websites out there for helping you live your life to the fullest.  This blog features many of these through its posts.  However, there are other websites out there that I would like to share with you that you might find interesting, as well.  These sites will be listed on Fridays, five at a time.  Called Five for Friday.  Enjoy!  And don’t forget to leave me a comment to let me know what you think. 🙂

1. Lost in Books – This is actually my other blog that I began this month.  But I will tell you why I want to share it with you (other than just to let you know about it).  I am an avid reader and I have started this blog in order to review and share books I have read, to challenge myself in my reading, and to learn about books from others.  The book blogging world is a wonderful place and I invite you to participate if you enjoy reading- if not with my own blog, than with any of the many others out there.

2. 43 Things – If you don’t know about 43 Things, I can’t wait for you to discover it!  43 Things allows you to list your goals, share your progress, and cheer each other on.  The members here love to cheer each other on and it is a terrific motivational tool.  Whether your goals are short-term or long-term, you can list them and keep track of your progress with entries until you have reached your objective!

3. PatientsLikeMe – PatientsLikeMe is a kind of social networking site for those with chronic illnesses, from multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia to post-traumatic stress disorder (and if your illness is not listed, you can add it!)  You can keep track of your symptoms and treatments, track changes in your condition, find other patients, and learn from their experiences with different treatment options, medication dosages, and more.

4. Words that have different meanings in British and American English – Wikipedia’s list of words that can mean completely different things depending on which side of the Atlantic you are on.  Everything from “beaver” to “checker” to “tailback”.

5. The Daily Green –  A consumer’s guide to green living- from fuel-efficient cars and solar water heaters to green beauty products and “green cuisine”.

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This quick and to the point article is from the blog On Simplicity.

  1. Resign from a commitment you’re not passionate about.
  2. Stop trying to be perfect.
  3. Implement a basic cleaning schedule.
  4. Sign up for automatic billpay.
  5. Automate a portion of your investing.
  6. Clean out your media collection and keep only the items you love.
  7. Plant perennials that will automatically bloom next spring.
  8. Clean out your purse or wallet.
  9. Put a paper shredder next to your mail spot.
  10. Winnow your wardrobe down to pieces that work together.
  11. Delete any social networking accounts you don’t actually use.
  12. Add your number to the do-not-call list.
  13. Create a car maintenance schedule and post it somewhere you’ll see it.
  14. Design a filing system that you can stick to.
  15. Start your day with a healthy meal.
  16. Turn your phone off when you need quiet time.
  17. Invest in a programmable thermostat.
  18. Set one good goal, and go achieve it.
  19. Record your good “shower” ideas and then implement them. (Don’t we all get our best inspirations in the shower?)
  20. Write to a friend with (gasp!) pen and paper.
  21. Set limits on your bad habits, and reward yourself when you stick with them.
  22. Stop trying to be a saint and indulge yourself every once in a while.
  23. Pay off your credit card debt.
  24. Avoid watching commercials and reading advertisements.
  25. Rediscover the pleasure of reading purely for enjoyment.
  26. Plan two weeks of delicious meals ahead of time and skip the nightly grocery run.
  27. Go to your doctor for a preventative checkup.
  28. Remember the joys of doing nothing.
  29. Singletask as much as possible.
  30. Learn to ask for help.

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