If you’re stuck in a creative rut, here are three easy steps you can take for three days to greater creativity.
#1 Get a hobby or try something new – today!
If you’re wondering why you can’t come up with any great, new creative ideas, it might be that you’ve concentrated all your efforts in one place. Do you have some outside interest? Maybe you love golf, or being outside, of you’re a film buff or vinyl record collector – or maybe you’ve thought about doing something else, but never had the time! This is the time to look outside of what you’re currently doing to pursue what interests you! Your renewed creativity depends on this step!
The main reason you’re stuck is that you’ve narrowed down your focus/attention to just one thing, to the detriment of everything else! There’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored and that’s exactly what you need to do right now, today!
So, choose something you want to do today and do it! It doesn’t matter what it is that you do, just do something – right now! As one of my favorite authors Napoleon Hill says, “Don’t wait. The time will never be just right!”
Yes, I know, this is overused, but research has cited lower stress levels to better mental acuity as direct benefits of meditation.
Meditation works because the process of quieting your conscious mind allows you to connect directly with your subconscious mind.
Your subconscious mind is always working in the background. It enables you to “have a feeling,” about something, when you know something, “isn’t quite right.” It’s the reason you “know” something is about to happen although you don’t know why you know!
Your subconscious mind is the combined knowledge of “everything” you know, although you don’t know you know it!
According to Deepak Chopra, the real purpose of meditation is “to answer, once and for all, the true nature of the mind. The pursuit of higher consciousness, the process of waking up, the journey to enlightenment – whatever term you use, meditation solves the problem of the divided mind opening the door to the whole mind.” He continues, “meditation puts you back in touch with reality,”
When you meditate, you’re in a relaxed state where every thought is recognized. As the “clutter” of your conscious mind subsides and your subconscious mind comes forward, amazing revelations emerge!
During meditation, patterns can emerge, visions can appear, problems can be solved. Sometimes, meditation is just meditation, a time to give your mind and body a wonderful respite! Sometimes revelations come later as if “out-of-the-blue!”
Meditation is easy and can be done anywhere, inside or outside! Just find a quiet place, get into a comfortable position, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. You can quietly repeat a word to yourself like “om,” or “peace” or just focus on your breathing.
As your mind focuses on the words or on your breathing, thoughts will rapidly come into your mind. Thank your mind for these thoughts, release these thoughts and continue meditating.
Studies have shown, according to Medicinenet.com that “as few as ten minutes of meditation per day can help you control stress, decrease anxiety, improve cardiovascular health and achieve a greater capacity for relaxation.”
Chopra describes the overall benefit of long term meditation as the eagerness to apply what one learns from meditation. “Once the spark is lit, the mind cannot wait to find out what reality is all about, because there is no difference between the true nature of the mind and the true nature of everything in existence.”
# 3 Get Outside
Yep. Get out of your chair and go outside. I’m just asking you to commit to about twenty minutes of being outside, so you can do it!
So, now that you’re outside, now what? Start looking around. If you start thinking about work, or whatever, reel your mind back to the present moment.
No matter what you’re thinking right now, stop thinking whatever you’re thinking and focus on what’s right in front of you! Focus on the here and now!
Just look around you and stay focused 100% in the present moment. Here’s what will happen! “I never knew there was a bridge right here and I go by here every day!” “Look at that building! That is amazing architecture!”
“John! I can’t believe it’s you! I was just talking about you to Joe the other day and here you are!” You and John agree to meet next week to continue your conversation about some exciting things he’s doing in his company in which he thinks you might be interested!
Doing these three steps for three days will re-direct your focus from being one-dimensional to being multi-dimensional! Suddenly, things start happening. You’ll get an idea seemingly “out-of-the-blue!” You’ll get a call from someone you were just thinking about! When synchronicity, or meaningful coincidences start to happen, you know you’re on the right path!
So, with all the hype surrounding “mindfulness” is mindfulness the one thing that can bring you happiness?
What exactly is “mindfulness” anyway? The dictionary defines it as a “mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”
Translated, that means being fully present in the moment. So, what’s the big deal about being 100% in the present moment?
Have you ever been excited about taking a vacation, or attending some special upcoming event? You can’t wait to leave! You dream of how much fun you’ll have when you get there and how many different things you’ll be doing! You can “see” yourself there – in detail!
So, the really good thing about your mind is that it actually can visualize every little detail so vividly that you can’t tell if you’ve actually dreamed it or actually experienced it!
Have you ever had a dream that seemed so real you knew it actually happened? Maybe you had an experience that you think happened, but as time passed you’re not really sure if it actually happened or you just remember it that way!
The interesting thing about all these experiences is the mind is basically capable of creating anything! Are you interested in creating an alternative environment? Your mind says, “I’ll get right on that for you!” and poof, you’ve got yourself an alien landscape!
Napoleon Hill, one of my favorite authors of all time states, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve.”
So, as humans, we are 100% capable of creating whatever type of environment we choose and we can choose to live in that environment 100%!
So, I’m leaving the house in my car. It’s the weekend. I’m thinking about something else, and my mind is actually driving me to work even though I’m not actually going to work! My body is on auto-pilot, my mind is at my friend’s house! This is a great example of not being 100% in the moment! Oops! My mind took a short vacation and instead of my mind focusing 100% on the present moment driving the car to a friend’s house, I was driving myself to work!
This is a great example of what happens when my mind travels into the future or the past instead of staying focused in the present! What did I miss? Where was I supposed to turn? Where am I??
If you take this mini example and expand on the theme, you could actually live every moment somewhere else in your mind – in the past or the future – and still be physically here in the present. Many of us do exactly that! Some of us have had bad things happen so we live our entire lives living in the past looking through the rear-view mirror. Some of us see a better life in another place and time and live their entire lives looking forward.
So, if you concentrate on being present 100% in the moment what will that get you? How do you do it?
First off, I think of my mind as a fishing rod. Yes, it is an unlikely image, but it works! My mind is constantly out there looking, collecting, assimilating images and ideas every moment. It’s like I’ve cast out my reel and I’m reeling in “stuff” all day!
I think of one thing, then another, then another and on it goes! At some point in time I have to go “Whoa!” That’s enough and reel the line back in before it gets away from me – which it can get away from me fast – at warp speed – then I reel it back in!
If I can keep my mind focused on the here-and-now I can get the most done, because I can only do one thing at a time and the present moment is the only place I can take action! Yep! I can’t do anything in the past or the future. All my choices have to be made right now! There is 100% power in the present moment and that’s all I’ve got! The ability to make choices in the now!
Never thought about it that way? You should! It’s called the power of the present moment! The common denominator is – if you’re looking forward or backward – you’re missing out on whatever you’re supposed to be experiencing right now, here in the present moment. It’s just like the quote says, “Today is a gift, that’s why they call it the present!”
So, what about that happiness thing you talked about? If you understand and embrace the idea that right now is your most powerful moment, and you can take action in the present moment, you can make better choices and better choices equal a happier human! So, in my book, mindfulness, when you take action doing what you need to be doing in the present moment – equals happiness because you have the power to be happy in every moment! It’s 100% up to you what you choose – every moment – every day! The power of choice is 100% completely yours – right now – to have or be whatever you want.
So, if you’ve been thinking about doing something, put your mind to it, yes, right now in the present moment where you have the power! As Napoleon Hill states, “Don’t wait. The time will never be just right!” Embrace the present and live mindfully 100% in the present moment. You’ll thank me later!
I’m an artist, and one of my dreams was to go to Italy to paint.
I was hesitant to go alone, but one day I was reading one of my artist’s magazines, and found an ad in the back of the magazine about an “Artist Paint/Tour in Italy.”
The idea was to go to Italy and paint in Italy. Yep! I had to haul ALL my oil paints and supplies on the plane and travel from Florida to Italy!
The ad said that one day the group of artists would paint on site “en plein air,” and the next day, the group would travel all around Tuscany. The home base would be Bagno Vignoni in Tuscany.
I decided right there and then, I was going! That was it! So, I contacted the “tour director,” and signed up!
I wanted to arrive early in Rome (the group of artists would leave from Rome for Bagno Vignoni) because I wanted to tour Rome first. So I gave myself three days.
As it turned out, when I arrived in Rome at the hotel, the concierge was able to connect me to a travel group that picked me up at my hotel every day. So, for three solid days, I went on tours of Rome – one tour in the morning – and one in the afternoon. I learned everything I could about Rome and experienced everything I could in three days of what Rome had to offer.
I made wonderful new friends on each one of the tours, and had a great time!
On the 4th day, the artist tour group picked me up at my hotel in Rome and we all headed out to a 14th century hotel in Bagno Vignoni that used to be the Pope’s private retreat.
On the way out of Rome, headed for Bagno Vignoni in the van, I was able to tell my fellow artists all about the special places we passed by that I had just visited. I was the tour guide. No one could believe this was my first time visiting Rome and that I was traveling by myself!
I think I knew more about Rome than our own “tour director.” That being said, after numerous trips to Rome, he was more interested in interesting places to paint, rather than interesting historical monuments.
Bagno Vignoni was completely magical! It has natural hot springs, and the springs were right outside the hotel’s front door.
In the morning – as I stepped outside into the fall weather (it was October) the fog would hang over the pool of water in front of the hotel. It was completely surreal. Like being in an Italian painting!
Tuscany was completely enchanting! I met some life-long artist friends! I absolutely loved painting – and traveling – with this special group of artists. Artists are very unique as they bring to the table a different way of looking at things – the “artist’s eye,” so it was fun traveling with them!
We visited amazing cities in Tuscany, including Pienza, San Gimignano, Siena, Florence, and painted amazing scenes. I’m so glad I decided to “go solo” on this journey, because the experience was one of my best travel experiences – ever – and the friends I made – were lasting to this day!
This is one of my paintings I painted from my Tuscany tour. This house was just down this hill from our hotel.
My suggestion? Follow your passion! Don’t be afraid to go to another country by yourself – even if you don’t speak the language or know anyone. Please make the call – reserve the room – follow your passion! You’ll thank me later!
The Beatles figured out “Money Can’t Buy Me Love,” but what about money buying me happiness?
I’m a film noir buff and two of my favorite stars, Joseph Cotton and Teresa Wright, starred in two of my favorite movies, “Shadow of a Doubt, ” and “The Steel Trap.”
I love a great story with a great moral. The 1952 movie “The Steel Trap” has Cotton playing a typical 9-5 executive, frustrated by his boring job and the everyday grind and his seemingly lack of the necessary funds he thinks he needs to be happy.
Cotton is an Assistant Bank Manager after starting out eleven years earlier as an Assistant Teller. He has a wife, played by Teresa Wright and a daughter, both of whom he wishes he could provide for better financially.
He concocts this scheme to steal a million dollars from the bank where he works, because he knows all the ins-and-outs of the bank’s nuances, then plans to head to Brazil with his wife and the cash. He says, “I was shocked by the enormity of my thoughts!” “Slowly and insidiously an idea took shape in my mind.”
Why Brazil? Cotton discovered Brazil has no extradition agreement with the United States, so he thinks he and his family will be safe living in the lap of luxury in Brazil and even though he’s leaving the country with only his wife, he feels there will be no problem sending for his daughter later, who is staying with grandma.
So, Cotton steals the million dollars from the bank safe on Friday, staying a few minutes late after work, and throws it into a suitcase. He knows the robbery won’t be discovered until Monday morning when the safe is opened again and by then he and his wife will be in Brazil.
After he steals the money, Cotton has to break into the Brazilian Consulate to retrieve his and his wife’s passports after he missed getting to the Consulate before closing time. Passports in hand, he jumps into a taxi where his wife has been waiting for him so they can get to the airport in time to catch their flight to New Orleans, then on to another connecting flight to Brazil.
Cotton’s wife, Teresa Wright, has been told by Cotton that they’re leaving for a two-week bank business trip get-away to Rio de Janeiro where Cotton is in charge of an international construction deal for the bank.
Great plan! What could possibly go wrong, right? Right before boarding his flight from New Orleans to Brazil, custom agents are tipped off that ” There is this guy with a suitcase that weighs 115 pounds and is acting very nervous,” so custom agents seize his suitcase thinking it’s drugs, open the suitcase and discover a million dollars in cash!
They detain Cotton and his wife from boarding their plane to Brazil, but Cotton convinces them the money is for the intended bank business deal in Brazil and he’s the one in charge. He has all the credentials personally and from the bank to prove he is who he says he is, so customs release them both, but they miss their flight to Brazil and are forced to spend a second night in New Orleans. Cotton “fesses up” to his wife that he actually stole the money from the bank, and instead of being overjoyed, she is horrified, leaves him and catches the next flight back home!
Now Cotton is left alone in New Orleans with a million dollar suitcase, but no wife! Cotton states, “I’m learning fast what it’s like to be alone.”
Unhappy with the way things turned out, he hops on the next flight back home arriving at the bank on Monday morning right after the bank opens with the million dollar suitcase in hand. He now has to put all the money back into the safe before the safe is opened.
He manages to put all the money back into the safe and get out of the safe minutes before it’s opened. Co-workers then see him looking as if he’s ready to pass out, worried about him and thinking he might be ill they send him home. He then retraces the same steps back home that he has for the last eleven years, this time saying to himself, “Never does the world look so good as it looks right now!”
I absolutely love a great story with a good take-away and this one is one of the very best, so I’ll leave you with this quote from an unknown source, “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything they have.”