Say Yes

Challenge Yourself To Say Yes More

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In yesterday’s post, we talked about taking risks and how that relates to creative thinking. Toward the end of the post, I encouraged you to take a few more risks. One way to do this is to say “yes” more often. “Yes” is a powerful word that can have a huge impact on your life and your thinking.

Don’t just take my word for it. One of my favorite quotes about success is from, none other than, Sir Richard Branson:

“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”

That’s the kind of strategy that gets you thinking creatively in a heartbeat. But, how often do we actually do this? Most of us have been raised to be cautious and prepared. We don’t like to stick our neck out there and say yes unless we’re fairly certain that we’re able to do what we’ve said yes to.

Sadly, that’s a very limiting attitude. You don’t know what you might miss out on by not saying yes. We already talked about avoiding negative words. The next step is to start embracing the yes and going for it.

Yes, you should accept opportunities even, and especially when, you’re not quite sure how you’ll get it done. Saying yes allows us to get more done and come up with solutions that will surprise even ourselves. We’re capable of so much more than we think we are. Saying yes more often will prove that to us.

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Saying yes will help you with both positive and creative thinking. Getting in the habit of saying “yes” as your default response instead of “no” or “maybe”, gets you into a positive frame of mind. As soon as you start to say yes, your mind starts to work on figuring out what it will take to make what you just agreed to happen. It’s a good place to be.

The next question is, of course, how to get in the habit of saying yes more often. As with any new habit, it takes practice. Become more aware of the opportunities that are offered to you. Pay attention and make a note of every question you’re asked. Promise yourself to say “yes” more often. You don’t have to take it quite as far as Jim Carrey in the movie Yes Man, but give it your best shot. See how far you can take it and what sorts of opportunities start to open up to you when you challenge yourself to say yes more.

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Most importantly, pay attention to how this one little mindset shift and habit affects your creative and positive thinking.

To saying yes to yourself.

Fran

frantm

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Risk Taking

Taking Risks Sparks Creativity

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I have an interesting concept to share with you. It’s the idea that risk taking and creativity and creative thinking, in particular, are connected. The basic idea behind creative thinking is to go beyond the obvious, beyond the norm. That takes courage. That takes putting yourself out there with an unproven concept and an idea that could possibly be ridiculed. In short, thinking creatively and voicing those thoughts means taking a risk.

The reverse is also true. When you allow yourself to take risks and step outside your comfort zone, you start to think more creatively. Taking a risk means going all in. It means that you’re fully committed and you’re probably a little excited as well. That gets your brain fired up and helps you make connections that you wouldn’t see otherwise.

Taking a risk also means that you have something to lose. Our minds are very good at avoiding pain. This could be physical or mental pain. That means that if you take a risk and put yourself out there, your mind will do everything it can to reduce or eliminate the pain or risk of pain. This is again where you get creative and find yourself coming up with solutions you wouldn’t have come up with otherwise.

Here’s the perfect example. Let’s say you’re running your own business and you risk your income by investing in a new marketing course or hiring a business coach. The expense may be a stretch and, if it doesn’t pay off, you may not have the money you need to pay your employees or yourself. That’s a pretty big risk.

optimism most important human trait

It’s also the type of scenario where you find yourself going through the material in record time and implementing everything you learn. It’s the time when you work closely with your coach and hustle to grow your business. The risk is lighting a fire under you and making you work harder, and more importantly, making you come up with creative ideas to make up the expense.

When we take risks and tap into this creative thinking ability, we see huge growth in our business, in our personal life, and in ourselves. Isn’t that worth getting a little uncomfortable for? Start thinking about where you want to see growth in your own life. What problems are you facing? Don’t be afraid to take a risk. Stop playing it safe and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what your mind will do to reward you for the risks taken.

Be a risk taker!!

To your success

Fran

frantm

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Brainstorming

The Power Of Brainstorming

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Let’s talk about brainstorming today. It’s my favorite technique to use whenever a problem has me stumped, I don’t know what to do next, I feel overwhelmed, or I encounter some sort of road block. You can brainstorm by yourself, with a partner, or in a group.

To brainstorm, you simply throw out any and all ideas that pop into your head. Don’t judge, don’t edit yourself, just get it all out there. While a lot of what you come up with is utterly useless, it helps you refine ideas and start thinking creatively. The fact that much of what comes out of a brainstorming session won’t be used doesn’t matter because the few ideas that do work are well worth the time and effort spent.

When you’re brainstorming by yourself, it’s helpful to write down your ideas. You can brainstorm with a pen and notebook, use a word document on your computer, or other tools like mind-mapping software for example. The most important thing is that you have a way to record your ideas and then go back and organize them later.

When you’re brainstorming in a group, writing things down isn’t always necessary, but it can be helpful to have a few notes written down on a notepad, a shared digital document, or a white board.

The reason brainstorming works so well is because it allows you to quickly tap into your creative thinking. We’ve talked in an earlier post that you have to go past all the obvious answers before you can start to look at a problem with fresh eyes and from a different angle.

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A lot of different ideas will come up in a good brainstorming session. Often something small will spark another idea and another. This is when you’re really starting to tap into the creative thinking part of your brain. It’s also why it’s important not to judge or discount thoughts in a brainstorming session. Get it out there and put it on paper. You never know what will spark the one idea that will turn out to be the perfect solution.

When you’re brainstorming by yourself, it’s OK to take your time. Get the first flow of ideas out there and then walk away. Come back a little later with fresh eyes and see what you can add. If you’re brainstorming in a group, it’s important not to judge or ridicule. Don’t dismiss an idea, no matter what. It doesn’t matter that you know this won’t work. What’s important is to get the thought out there and allow it to inspire the other members of your team.

Brainstorm your way to success!

Fran

frantm

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Losing The Guilt

Time To Lose The Guilt

marianne williamson choose to perceive

Let’s talk a little bit about guilt today. I’m sure you have your fair share of feeling guilty. We all do, and it’s not a great feeling. It’s a feeling that makes you feel powerless. It’s not a productive state of mind, and it certainly isn’t a positive state of mine. In fact, when you feel guilty, you focus on all the negative thoughts. That makes it impossible to think positive thoughts while you’re feeling guilty. Can you see why it is important to lose the guilt?

Guilt makes you feel powerless, and it takes away your confidence. Guilt makes you slow down and second guess yourself at everything you do. Guilt keeps you from taking action and making progress in all areas of your life.

Letting go of guilt isn’t an easy thing to do. There are two good strategies that have been working well for me whenever I find myself falling into the guilt trap. You can use one or the other depending on the scenario, or you can use both of them starting with the first one and then moving on to the second one.

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Forgive Yourself And Move On

Often your best bet when you feel guilty about doing or not doing something is to acknowledge the feeling, forgive yourself, and then move on. We already talked about the fact that guilt isn’t a productive emotion. Why not make your peace and go get something done?

One way to forgive yourself is to realize that the past is in the past and that you did the best you could at the time. If you feel that you could have done better, take it as a lesson learned and promise yourself to do better or try harder next time.

Focus On Something Related That You’re Good At

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Now that you’ve forgiven yourself, it’s time to switch gears and focus on something that you’re good at. Nothing resolves guilt like action and self-esteem. This works best if you can make it something that’s closely related to the thing you’re feeling guilty about.

Let’s say you feel guilty because you didn’t cook a homemade meal for your family after a long day at the office. Shift your focus and appreciate the fact that you work hard and make good money so you can stop and grab some healthy takeout on the way home from work. Appreciate the fact that your kids are fed, healthy, and you have plenty of time to hang out with them before bedtime.

Give these ideas a try, and get in the habit of letting go of guilt.

To letting go of guilt – do your best, forgive yourself and others and move on.

Fran

frantm

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Watch Your Words

Words To Watch Out For

 

A lot of thoughts run through our mind on any given day. In the first post of this series, we talked a bit about the importance of our thoughts. Today, I want to pick back up on that theme. Instead of paying attention to what we should think, I want to make you aware of some key words you need to watch out for in your thoughts when you want to reduce and stop negative thoughts.

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What Are “Negative Words”?

Let’s start by going over some of the words that should give you pause and check if you’re slipping into negative thinking. They include words like no, don’t, won’t, can’t, shouldn’t, and the likes. This is a short list of the most important ones.

You probably have a few of your own words that you know you use when you start to slip into negative thoughts. As you start to pay attention to your thought processes, you’ll recognize the words that are particularly important to you. Make a note of them and add them to the short list above.

Context Matters

Of course context matters. Sometimes thinking and saying “no” can be a very positive thing. The idea is to treat them as stop words. When they come across your mind, stop and examine if you’re still on track or if you’re slipping into negative thought processes. This gives you the control you need to literally change your mind.

Start by becoming more aware of the thoughts running through your mind, particularly when you start to “hear” these negative words. Stop and figure out if you are using them in a positive, negative, or neutral context.

art of leadership saying no

Turning Negative Words Into Positive Ones

When you do find yourself using those negative words and catch yourself with those negative thoughts, it’s time to take action and do everything you can to turn a negative into a positive. Let’s say you find yourself doubting your professional abilities; you hear about a fun new project at work and catch yourself thinking that you “can’t” do that.

It’s time to turn that around and change your thinking process from “I can’t do that” or “I don’t know everything there is to know about this project” to “I know how to do parts A, B, and C and I know I can learn part D”.

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The same goes for any other negative thoughts you have, including self-image ones, self-worth ones, relationship thoughts, and the likes. Instead of beating yourself up that the house isn’t perfectly clean, focus on the fact that you spent a fun afternoon at the park with the kids or that you now have the perfect opportunity to work on practicing chores with the little ones, and get everyone involved in house cleaning tasks.

To your success in creating positive self-talk.

Fran

frantm

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Reshape Your Brain

Your Brain Is A Muscle – Work It Out

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The brain works a little like a muscle. You have to work on those creative and positive thinking processes on a daily basis, or you start to lose some of the progress you’re making. Think back on long summer breaks when you were in school. Study after study shows that kids lose much of what they’ve learned and how well they learn during a long summer break, unless they are encouraged to do a little something to work out their brains.

The same goes for you. Think about the first day back at the office after a two week vacation. You have a hard time getting into the groove, and it takes a while before you’re back to your regular thinking and processing speed. The longer you’re gone, the worse it gets. If you’ve gone back to school after a few years on the job or gone back to work after maternity leave, you have experienced this first hand.

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The key then is to keep the mind sharp by actively working it out regularly. Honestly, this isn’t just about positive and creative thinking. It’s about thought processes and keeping your brain working well in general. The more you challenge yourself by reading interesting books, solving puzzles, and learning something new on a regular basis, the better your brain will perform for you in general.

We’ve already talked about the benefits of learning something new on a regular basis. Don’t stop there. Create some every-day challenges to work out your brain. Maybe it’s solving a crossword or Sudoku puzzle each morning. Maybe it’s surrounding yourself with critical thinkers who challenge you in conversation. Maybe it’s reading something uplifting each evening before bed.

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Come up with some simple little things you can start to do regularly to make sure your brain stays active and sharp. Find a new hobby that challenges your mind. Make new friends. Learn a new language or skill. Sign up for an online brain training game.

Make training your brain just as non-negotiable as eating a healthy diet and getting in your physical exercise. You’ll be happier and healthier for it for years to come, and it will really pay off big time as you get older. You can do a lot to combat the loss of cognitive function by actively working out your brain.

In addition to working out your brain in general, do as much as you can to encourage yourself to think positively and creatively. Solve some interesting puzzles. Come up with creative solutions to imaginary problems for the fun of it. Practice your daily affirmations, write in your journal, and remind yourself to turn negative thoughts into positive ones. The more you practice, the easier it will become; and you’ll actually be able to reshape your brain towards positivity and creativity.

To training (or retraining) your brain

Fran

frantm

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Be Open To Creative Solutions

Keep Your Eyes Open – Creative Solutions Are Everywhere

 

As you start to become a little more aware of creative thinking and creative solutions and start to do a little more of it yourself, you’ll start to notice things here and there that you can use and implement. It’s a pretty amazing feeling and, of course, quite helpful when you need an out-of-the-box solution. It’s a skill that will come to you eventually, but why not speed things up a little bit by keeping an eye out for creative solutions. They really are everywhere.

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I’m an online business owner and marketer; so naturally, I’m always looking for new and creative ways to share content and present offers. I’m also a shopper or consumer. Some of the things I buy are very specific like supplies for my favorite hobby. Then there’s the everyday stuff like groceries, clothing, and once in awhile, purchases like a new car or washing machine. You get the idea. We all buy a lot of different things and, as a result, we’re bombarded through various advertising, emails, newsletter, magazines, social media posts, and the likes to buy the latest and greatest product.

Since I am also a marketer and always looking for fresh and creative ideas for my business, I started paying attention to what offers grab my attention. What emails am I opening? What Facebook or YouTube video has me go out and look for a product? What makes me laugh or sit up and pay attention? Those are the creative solutions out there that catch my eye.

Often it’s something that has no direct or obvious place in what I do with my business. It could be a tool, crafting supplies, some fun clothes, an interesting offer for some books or magazines, or even a great spin on my weekly grocery advertisement. Something will catch my eye and I figure out how to include it in my own marketing.

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Let me give you an example. One of my grocery stores sent out a flyer early this spring with some spring cleaning deals and tips in it. Not only did it inspire me to do a little spring cleaning around my house, it also motivated me to organize and declutter my digital files and emails. That in turn, inspired a new information product and coaching program about cleaning up what you’re doing online to increase profits.

Creative ideas and solutions are everywhere around you. Start to look for them and find a way to incorporate them into what you do. You don’t have to have your own business to benefit from this. Creative thinking will help you around the house, in your marriage, work, school, and any other aspect of your life. Go out there and get creative.

To finding more creative solutions

Fran

frantm

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Keep Learning

Never Stop Learning – It Keeps Your Mind Sharp

 

Thinking creatively takes a sharp mind. And the best way to ensure your mind is and stays as sharp as it can be is to make sure you use it as much and as often as possible. That means leaning new stuff all the time. Not only does it help keep your brain cells active and firing fast, but studying a variety of topics over time also gives you new perspectives and new information that will pop up and be helpful in the most unusual and surprising ways.

Learning a new language will help you recognize and interpret patterns. Opening yourself up to new cultures teaches you that there are many different ways to do things. This in turn helps you think creatively about the problems you’re solving. It helps you think outside the box.

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There’s a reason we spent so much time in school at a young age. It’s not really about learning about algebra, geometry, world capitals, and literature of Victorian England. It’s about learning how to make connections, how to think, and how to get good at processing new information.

The key to staying that way and even getting better and better is to take the time to learn something new each month, each week, and each day. The good news is that it’s now easier than ever before to continue learning. Thanks to multimedia and the internet, you have courses, classes, books, lectures, “webinars,” and the likes ready at your fingertips. Let’s run through some examples of how you can continue to learn something new on a regular basis and keep your mind sharp.

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Start local. There are lots of fun and interesting continued education classes available through your community library or colleges in your area. You may also find some interesting opportunities through your job. Ask around and see if there are extra classes or courses you can take in your free time. Not only will they keep your mind sharp, they will make you a more valuable team and family member as well.

Reading is a great daily activity to sharpen the mind and learn something new. Challenge yourself to read one new book a month or even a week. Explore material outside of your typical genres. Read a piece of fiction one week, some non-fiction on an interesting topic the next, and then move to a literary classic. Changing it up frequently will sharpen your mind even further, and it does wonders for expanding your horizons. If you find it hard to read or to find the time to read, try audio books. You can listen while you commute or even while you clean up around the house and yard.

No matter how busy you are, you can make time for this. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time. Spending even 15 to 30 minutes per day on learning something new will do you a lot of good. Don’t think about just the mind either. Learn a new craft or pick up a new skill that will come in handy around the house. Mix it up and keep yourself on your toes.

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Sign up for an online class, watch some YouTube videos or Ted Talks, and keep looking for opportunities to sharpen your skills and gain some new ones. Look into anything and everything that seems interesting. Keep learning and keep adding to this vast library of knowledge and experiences that you can draw from when it comes time to think creatively. Not only will it help you there, it will also enrich all areas of your life and keep you young at heart.

To continuous learning

Fran

frantm

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Finding Inspiration

Surround Yourself With Inspiration

 

Our brains are complex and complicated devices. There’s still a lot to learn about how they work and what influences them. One thing we do know is that outside cues can and will influence how we think and feel. That’s why it can be helpful to surround yourself with inspiration.

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Becoming a more positive thinker isn’t always easy. We start that way as children, but for one reason or another, life teaches us that it isn’t all sunshine and roses. Sometimes, the experiences we go through have a way of cutting the joy and positivity right out of our thoughts. We get in the habit of focusing on the negative, the bad stuff. That’s a bad habit to get into and like any bad habit; it can be hard to break it.

Forming a new habit requires you to make the decision to do something different over and over again. For that to happen, you need reminders. You need reasons to change. That’s why inspiration is so important. Things, people, and ideas that inspire remind us to try harder, do better, and keep pushing until these new habits are firmly established.

Your first step is to find out what inspires and motivates you. Maybe it’s an inspirational quote. Maybe it’s having a goal in front of you and tracking your progress. Maybe it’s pictures of your family. Find out what inspires you; then, start to surround yourself with it.

you cant live a positve life with a negative mind

Let’s say quotes and affirmations are what inspire you. Your next job is to surround yourself by them. Have your favorite quotes and affirmations printed up, and hang them on the walls of your home and office. Get crafty and come up with your own pieces of art that incorporate the quotes.

Write down your affirmations, and stick them to your bathroom mirror, fridge, or computer monitor. Put them in places where you’ll see them and read them multiple times per day. Order a mug with your favorite word or quote on it and use it every morning. If you’re so inclined, get a tattoo with your favorite quote, affirmation, or power word. Do what you can to surround yourself with inspiration.

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Use it as a reminder and motivator. Use it because it makes you happy and puts you in a good mood. Use it to start creating those positive thinking habits until they become completely natural and an integral part of who and what you are.

Inspiration is your friend. It’s also ever-changing. Let’s go back to the quotes and affirmations example. Those will work great for a while. Then you will start to go blind to all those visual reminders of thinking positive and creative thought. They will blur into the background, and you will stop being able to use them as constant positive reinforcement. That’s why it’s important to change things up and find new inspiration on a regular basis. Keep an eye out for it, and you will find it.

Be inspired and grow

Fran

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Have Fun

Having Fun Helps Cultivate Positive & Creative Thinking

 

A few days ago, we talked about the culture at Google and how it promotes creative thinking. One of the things you hear again and again is how much fun it is to work there. As it turns out, having fun is an important part of cultivating positive and creative thinking.

Our brains simply work better when we’re having fun and are relaxed. You know this yourself. When you’re tense, worried, or intimidated, it’s hard to come up with something upbeat and creative. When you’re in a group of people or an environment where you’re having fun on the other hand, ideas will flow more freely.

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Think about what you can do to make your environment more fun. Add some color to your workspace. Let in some light and surround yourself with things that make you happy. Don’t take yourself and those around you too seriously. Have a laugh.

A great way to get into the right frame of mind when you’re collaborating to find a solution to a serious problem is to ask everyone to come up with the worst possible solution. You can even do this by yourself. Try to outdo each other and keep coming up with even worse solutions and scenarios. Not only does it help put your mind at ease and make you laugh, it also gets you to look at the problem from all angles and prepares you for getting creative in finding the best solution.

Having things to fidget, doodle, or play with can also be a big help. We are able to focus our minds better, listen more actively, and pay more attention when our hands are busy. Keep a few little toys or, at the very least, a pen and paper close by. Figure out what helps you focus the most. Maybe, it’s a Rubik’s Cube. Maybe, it’s twirling a pen. Maybe, it’s having some play-dough or Lego’s to play with while you’re thinking. Figure out what helps you get into that creative and positive head-space where the great solutions are found.

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Not only will you help your team at work, your friends, and your family think more creatively and positively by having more fun throughout the day, it also makes it a much more pleasant experience to be around each other. That in turn builds loyalty, friendship, and love that ensures that everyone involved is ready to give you their best. As an added bonus, you end up having a lot more fun throughout your day.

To having more fun!!

Fran

frantm

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