Strengthen your “creative muscle”

“The world we have made as a result of the level of thinking we have done thus far creates problems we cannot solve at the same level of thinking at which we created them.” Albert Einstein.

Our brain is a power house of creative energy. From this springs new ideas. Unleashing our creative power needs a different kind of thinking. Creative thinking is simply finding new, improved ways to do anything and it leads to increased well-being.

“ The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones.”- John Maynard Keynes.

Curiosity can lead to new ideas and creative thinking ability grows when your original perspective is challenged. A closed mind cannot lead to much creative thinking as compared to an open mind. By stepping outside old, rigid norms and narrow confines of stagnant thoughts, you can explore bold new ideas to reach your goals and success.

Creativity is an important skill to be learned and practiced and harnessing it strengthens your authentic self. Here are some ways to strengthen your creative thinking ability.

Accept your flaws.

“ To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” – Joseph C. Pearce.

Mistakes are a pathway to innovation and growth. Trying to be right always makes you forego thinking outside the box for the fear of going wrong. Develop an ability to accept the flaws and realise their potential to generate new ideas. It is okay if you go wrong when you are trying something new. Learn and go on to get it right next time.

Develop a strong sense of belief.

Many of us stop thinking creatively to achieve our goals simply because we concentrate on why we can’t. Instead concentrate on why we can.

“ Belief releases creative powers. Disbelief puts the brakes on.”

When you believe, something can be done, your mind thinks creatively and finds ways to do it. Believe and you will start to think constructively. Avoid the word impossible from your thinking.

Remove the cobwebs of self doubt and prejudice.

Cultivate a habit of positive emotions.

We have a habit of viewing the events through our lens and segregate them as positive and negative. Make a habit to categorise more events positive and experience positive emotions such as joy and appreciation. This opens your mind and changes your outlook on the situations. Your thinking gets flexible, innovative, and increases your creative output. This may not lead to fame or fortune all the time, but can strengthen your creative thinking by experiencing positive emotions.

Strengthen your creativity by asking and listening.

Encourage others to talk and listen to what others say and evaluate. In personal conversations or work meetings, exchange and discuss new ideas. This way, your mind soaks up raw material which you can use to produce creative thought. Write down your ideas and review them. Test your own views in the form of questions. Let others help you better your ideas by being open to their suggestions. Associate with people who can help you think new ideas and make your ideas grow.

Keep a positive focus.

When we learn to enjoy using our creative energy, it generates its own internal force to keep our attention focused. When you immerse yourself in creative activities and follow your passion, your mind opens up to new possibilities. With the positive focus the authentic self gets strengthened and finds ways of bringing as much creativity as possible.

Look for good problems.

One of the most common excuse people give for not being creative is that they lack ideas. The inspiration isn’t coming. Often people focus on something new and original. But this may not be fruitful every time. Observe and look for problem areas. Every problem we face needs a creative solution. Thinking of solutions for the problems will improve your creativity muscle.

Avoid traditional thinking.

“Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.”- Edward de Bono.

Traditional thinking freezes your mind, blocks your progress and prevents you from developing creative power. It is important the way you think. Change your outlook and adopt a new way of thinking and way of doing things. Ask yourself if there is some other way of seeing a situation. If you keep trying to find new ways to get around a problem, a new idea is sure to open up for you.

Be progressive in your thinking.

Progressive thinking is asking yourself “what can I do to achieve more?”, “ how can I better myself.” Search for ways to increase your efficiency to do more. Set high standards for yourself and others. When you do progressive thinking, your creative power is switched on and destroys regressive thoughts like can’t be done, won’t work, and so on.

Practice mindfulness.

“Mindfulness not only improves your physical and mental health, but also increases creativity. Negative self-talk can be a barrier to creative mindfulness. By observing our thoughts in an open non- judgmental way, we distance ourselves from negative self-talk. This allows the process of being creative.”

Inspire yourself to tap into creativity.

Have the right amount of passion and determination to create new and different ideas. Inspiration makes dormant forces and talents to come alive and you discover yourself to be a creative person by far than you have ever imagined yourself to be. Inspiring others also lets you get engaged in the creative moment.

 

 

Cultivate the habit of happiness.

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Being happy is something we all want. What makes you happy?
What are the factors that can lead to happiness?
Many of us correlate it to friends, relationships, prosperity, appearances, success and so on. But these are all external factors which all of us have no control upon. So they cannot be considered as permanent factors in creating happiness. Paradoxically our aim in pursuing all these factors is for happiness, but many times what we say we want and what we do is never in alignment with each other. We say we want to be happy, but we make choices that bring opposite of happiness.

The ability to feel happy is something which is innate. Two people living in the same world with the same set of circumstances can experience life differently just by the way they think. ‘Happiness’ or ‘misery’ all depends on how you choose to respond to these circumstances. What you pursue in your mind is what you get out of life. In a way, your attitude towards life and your thoughts determine your happiness quotient.

“The greatest happiness is to know the source of unhappiness.”
– Fyodor Dostoevsky.

Certain facts about happiness you need to know in the pursuit to make it a habit.

*Your happiness is not dependent on others. what people say or think and the situations around have no hold on your happiness index.
Happiness is fundamental natural state of mind. We are all happy beings born with natural state of joy, compassion, and kindness.
Accumulations and appearances do not result in happiness. Material things come and go, appearances change, but beneath all remains innate secret of unreasonable happiness.
Fear and happiness cannot co-exist. The unhappiness producing process always feeds on your fears and worries.
Unhappiness is self-created. You are the own creator of your thoughts and you have the power to create your own happiness.

When we understand these facts, we can change our thinking from ‘I want happiness’ to ‘me is a happy being’. It is necessary to cultivate happiness habit to drive off the thoughts which create unhappiness and to replace them with happy ones.
Turning towards happiness is a valid goal and you have to make a conscious decision to seek happiness by cultivating the habit of happiness.

Certain obstacles you should look for in the pursuit of cultivating the “Happiness Habit.”

Being judgemental.
The moment you become judgemental about others, you get into unhappy modes such as anger, resentment, ill-will, etc., which not only takes you away from your natural state of being, but also blocks further happiness.
Tip: Accept the differences in opinions and views. Develop appreciation and awareness and change your perception of others.

Expectations.
Another hindrance in the pursuit is keeping expectations. Expecting what others would say or how they behave is like expecting their future. In a way, you are expecting them to match with your belief systems and when they don’t, you begin to feel let down or sad.
Tip: Do not base your happiness on the outcomes as having expectations from others and meeting people’s expectations, both will fluctuate your happiness.

Dwelling on past and future.
Reminding or thinking about past hurts or unpleasant events becomes a major obstacle in the cultivation of happiness habit. Thinking about future causes worry and stress.
“You can do nothing to change the past and future will never come exactly as you expect.
Tip: Focus on your ‘Now’ and whenever your focus drifts off to other places and times, map back.

Stress.
Stress is a result of negative programming we have imbibed. Stress is created by feelings of fear, anxiety, or worry. Unease caused by imagining a bad outcome to a present or future event or situation.
“Stress comes from the way you relate to events or situations.”
Tip: Recognise that happiness is not contained in events or situations. It is up to you how you respond to them and you always have a choice to choose stress-free thoughts.

How you perceive challenges.
Happiness a lot depends on how you take up the challenges or obstacles. It all depends on how you face and overcome them. Treating the challenges as be-all and end-all situations will block happiness and causes depression, and discouragement. Take them as work out situations
Tip: Use the so-called problems or obstacles as opportunities to learn and grow more stronger for your future endeavors.

Developing certain personal factors or inner characteristics can lead to happiness. This can create further inner transformation and can be achieved by regular practice and repetition of new thought patterns. Here are some practices to cultivate “Happiness Habit.”

Practice optimism.
You feel good physically, mentally and emotionally by focussing on positive patterns of thinking. Substitute unhappy thought patterns with positive happy thoughts. “The happiness habit is developed by simply practicing happy thinking.”

Practice virtue of patience.
It takes time to cultivate all the qualities that create state of well-being and happiness. We acquire many unhappy and negative mental traits over time. So you need to develop patience in order to address and counteract each one of these negative traits.

Practice mindfulness.
“Happiness is the state of being centredness which is here and now”. Keeping your awareness and concentration in the present moment and letting go of past can be achieved by practicing mindfulness.

Practice simple living.
“ The secret of happiness is not in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”
Happiness is equal to your contentment. We have basic needs and endless wants. Know the difference and practice simple living.

Finally, base your actions and attitudes upon basic principles of happy living by choosing happiness. Some of the basics are that of caring, gratitude and good will.

Make peace with your emotions

“When our emotional health is in a bad state, so is our level of self-esteem. We have to slow down and deal with what is troubling us, so that we can enjoy the simple joy of being happy and at peace with ourselves.”–Jess C. Scott

Our attitude towards our emotional state becomes very important because it can affect how we cope with suffering when it arises. Fear, anger, guilt and anxiety are all emotional responses that can intensify suffering. Understanding your thoughts and emotions and of others leads to a higher level of emotional freedom and stability.

Emotional intelligence which is built on the foundation of self-awareness helps you to be more content and fosters your own productivity. You get better equipped in terms of how to handle things rather than worrying about what can go wrong. Negative emotional state can sabotage your clear thought and focus. Developing emotional stability capacitates focusing at will and inhibits strong impulses and urges. Also enhances other relationship attributes like influence, persuasion, and cooperation.

By knowing your feelings and remaining productive during difficult emotional episodes makes you emotionally stable.

Certain facts:

• All emotions are essentially distorted and begin from our mental interpretation of what occurs around us.

• Emotions cannot be denied or controlled.

• Negative emotions are not an intrinsic part of human nature.

• Our negative emotions can be rooted out.

• Feelings fade over time and are not constant.

Every negative emotion contains a positive lesson and plays the role of a teacher. For example, fear generates alertness and caution. Anxiety indicates an urge to succeed. Insecurity reflects a desire to do well and to prove yourself. Concern reveals thoughtfulness and sensitivity.

“Emotional self-awareness is the building block of the next fundamental emotional intelligence: being able to shake off a bad mood”

Daniel Goleman,

To understand and to accept your emotions means appreciating the positive lesson contained in negative feeling. Although you cannot directly control or change your emotional state, you can create a stability by improving your emotional intelligence. Here are some ways to improve your emotional intelligence and to make peace with your feelings.

Improving emotional understanding.

Each one must act their own physician when it comes to their emotional well-being. The best method is to recognise your emotions as they occur. When you are emotionally distressed, you begin to feel very negative about yourself and with those around. Negative emotions like discontentment, grumbling, becoming frustrated, or over-assertiveness might arise.

By recognising your negative emotion that is influencing you negatively, you will be able to confront your weaknesses of your own mind. Becoming aware and understanding the reasons behind and effects they have on you, you will know what measures you need to take to clear them away. This will make you better at handling negative situations and helps you develop positive, productive, and clear thinking.

Accepting your emotions.

“Accept your feelings as natural phenomena and learn from them, but don’t let them run your life.”

You require an open mind to change your relationship with your feelings. For instance, we all react in different ways to ill spoken words or criticism. Some simply ignore and forget it altogether, whereas others feel hurt. Also, there are some who accept criticism and reflect on themselves and then try to correct their wrongdoings.

Acceptance of both positive and negative feelings while acting constructively improves your inner confidence. Instead of struggling in negative emotions, you create a store of inner strength and will be able to concentrate on your positives.

Developing self-awareness.

“Awareness of self and others, and its application in managing our inner self and our relationships is the essence of emotional intelligence.”

You don’t need to control emotions. They are natural like passing seasons. The key here is to know your strengths and weaknesses. Constantly building on your positive emotional state and learning from your negative emotions will make you an emotionally better person. At times, when you are obsessed by worries and anxieties, you need to have a resolute attitude and need to hold on to your strengths. Develop an attitude of tolerance and concentrate on your strengths instead of giving way to pessimistic thoughts and negative emotions.

Overcoming negative emotions.

Self-reflection is an excellent method to overcome negative emotions. When you attribute the cause of your negativity to outside factors, you become the target. But by reflecting upon yourself and accepting your mistakes, you will become aware that the emotional distress is also because of you. Remain flexible in the face of difficulties and never be too stubborn to change and refine yourself.

“ To rid yourself of old patterns, focus all your energy not in struggling with the old, but on building the new.”

It may be true that you might have had past experiences with failure and suffering, but it is very unlikely that you are going to face them through out. Do not restimulate an unacceptable thought or feeling. Overcome negative emotions by replacing passive, negative emotions with positive and constructive ones.

Mistakes are proof that you are trying…

“Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time”. – George Barnard Shaw

Everyone wants to live the life of their dreams. When you start to live the life of your dreams, there are going to be obstacles, mistakes, and setbacks along the way. Often a trivial mistake we commit can make us feel dejected. Each of us have our own flaws. We must not allow them to overwhelm us and discourage us in the pursuit of our dreams.

Mistakes are sometimes committed unintentionally or being ignorant or by lack of understanding. You will be a better person if you try and learn from them and not to allow them to happen again.

We sometimes have to change ourselves for better in order not to get stuck in the loop of committing the same mistakes.

Here are some simple guideposts to help you turn your mistakes into learning opportunities.

Admit your mistakes.

If you go wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically. Take responsibility for your actions. Do not be afraid of admitting your mistakes. Have the courage to be your own critic. Seek your faults and correct them. This is one habit which distinguishes a winner from a loser.

Get out of error groove.

“By dwelling too much upon your mistakes you can keep yourself in an error groove”. Clinging to your thinking about your mistakes can condition you to make the same mistakes again. Come out of the error groove. Don’t let your mistakes in the past ruin your present.

Learn from your mistakes.

Research each mistake. Try and work out what you did wrong and devise new strategies to equip yourselves to do better in the future. learn that there is a good side to every mistake. Train your mind to learn from your successes.

Feel free to innovate.

“Don’t let the fear of committing mistakes keep you from trying new things”.

Every time you innovate, you are going to run the risk of making a mistake. It is okay if you go wrong when you are trying something new. You need not get it right in the first attempt. Learn and then go on to get it right next time.

Turn On the Problem-solving mode.

Learn to respond to your mistakes by thinking how not to let them happen again. This will take you to a problem-solving mode. This way, you can arrive at a solution in correcting the mistakes and not get discouraged. But if you ignore the mistakes, then that type of thinking will keep you away from learning and advancing towards your goals.

Have right focus.

Everyday we do certain things frequently. This gets us into a habitual mode of doing tasks. We don’t focus on them completely and our minds wander because of the habitual nature. This is when mistakes happen. The key here is to have right focus and pay attention towards your goals.

Remember to persist with your goals and dreams. See the good side and never allow yourself to get discouraged. Give yourself countless opportunities to learn and grow from your mistakes.