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Unblocking creativity

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Have you ever stopped to watch TED talks? A showcase of the world’s most brilliant thinkers, stretching our minds in never before thought of ways. It’s well worth the time.

I was watching Sir Ken Robinson the other day talking about education. He’s an expert on creativity and he challenges the way we educate our children. The way that most of our schools focus on the analytical subjects like maths and science as the holy grail while devaluing the creative such as art and music. And he made the observation that our education system is designed to mine our minds. All the good stuff stripped away just like you strip a mine of its gold. A terrifying thought. But take a child at a young age, contain them for hours on end, teach them what you want to teach them, repeat it over and over until they know it by rote, test them on it and voila! You’ve implanted a particular way of thinking. And all the good stuff, the natural urge to play, to explore and to create has been stripped away. You’ve created one perfect drone.

And here’s the rub. When you can get a child to think in a particular way, let’s call it a mindset, you block creativity. Because they can only see things the way they have been taught. There’s nothing else on their radar. But creativity is essential to life. It drives everything. It is the source of everything. Take invention. It’s difficult to invent something you haven’t first imagined. And while some people hold up scientific research as the be all and end all, they don’t stop to think that it’s actually creativity that drives the science. After all, you’ve got to have an idea worth researching in the first place. Just look around and you will see the power of creativity at work.

When we’re locked into a particular mindset – about money, about relationships, about our health, about the way we raise our kids, about anything in life – we literally can’t see any other way. Which means we can’t create something new.

So if you want something new in your life, challenge your mindset. Challenge the way you think. Challenge the beliefs you have that have probably been drilled into you by somebody else with another agenda anyway. The good news is that with the right training, those rigid, limiting mindsets can be overcome.

What’s (not) on your radar?

What will you challenge?

A Flash of Brilliance

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I once met a man who was paid to think. That’s right. It was his job to come to work each day and think. Just think. And while it sounds like a bit of a have, it turns out it was a really important job. Because this guy sat there all day and thought about the business. And how it could be improved so that it became more efficient. More profitable. This guy saved and made this company millions.

He wasn’t Einstein. He was just an ordinary bloke that realised the value of thinking.

Did you know that many of the most extraordinary ideas come from ordinary people?

Take the first lift ever built on the outside of a building. Story has it a bunch of architects were meeting with the hotel executive and discussing how to incorporate a lift into the hotel without losing too much business by closing down. The janitor was cleaning the room at the time and happened to have a flash of brilliance. What about putting the lift on the outside of the building? But do you think this simple brilliance was well received. After all, what would a janitor with a room full of ‘experts’ know. But then… well the rest is history.

Sometimes it only takes a slightly different perspective on a problem to open up a whole new world of possibilities. A little trust and time given over to the creative part of your mind to come up with something new. Most people don’t realise that creativity is subconscious. And it’s a powerhouse we all have.

What could a new idea mean for you?

What could a new idea mean for your business?

It may not even be a big idea. Sometimes the smallest tweaks make the biggest impact.

Who wants to think like a millionaire?

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They’ve got an aggregate wealth of $6.4 trillion. Forbes 500 richest people on the planet and at $76 billion Bill Gates is back on top.

What’s a few bucks between friends?

But when you read their bio’s, you might notice something.

Almost all of them made their fortune through business.

Did I mention there’s a bit of money to be made in beer?

And while some on them did, yes, inherit their millions, most of them are self-made men and women who simply had an idea. And did something about it.

Take Keiichiro Takahara. He made $3.5B out of nappies. Nappies full of **** you throw away! Couldn’t have done that in the days of cloth. Or the Mars duo. They have a combined wealth of $40B out of the humble lolly (and because we’re talking US dollars, AUD$ it’s even higher). Then there’s Mark Zuckerberg. He was probably wearing Takahara’s nappies when he made his $28.5B fortune with an idea about bringing people together. In case you haven’t heard, it’s called facebook.

But when you’re talking that much money, it really doesn’t matter, does it. What’s more important is an understanding that it can be done. And people, young and old, do it ALL the time.

I wonder how many of those businesses started as a great idea around the kitchen table? Or a thought kicked around over a game of pool? Or just something that popped into their head while catching a train? J.K. Rowling knows what I’m talking about. Or as Einstein said, he got his best ideas while shaving.

But what we don’t see on the list is the blood, sweat and tears, the guts and stamina, the determination and drive, the investment that it takes to pull something like this off. Not an overnight success, but sometimes years in the making. Persistence. Passion. Vision. Strategy. Single-mindedness. Wisdom.

And an entrepreneurial mindset.

But they didn’t do it alone. They knew when to ask for help.

Learn what you can.

Buy what you need.

Apply it all diligently.

It’s a winning formula.

What will YOU do with your next great idea?

“Money never starts an idea; it is the idea that starts the money.” – William J. Cameron

Seeing Blind

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I was looking for a book one day. So sure it was on the shelf. So sure it had a particular colour cover. So sure it was a particular size. But I couldn’t find it. I scanned the shelf three times. And then gave up.  Convinced it wasn’t there. That’s when another member of the family came in with a different memory of the book. A memory of it being another colour. And another style. Smart arse found it in one minute.

And it was there all the time. I just couldn’t see it. Blinded by my own beliefs about what it was like. How it should have appeared. And I find this often happens with people. So sure things have to be a certain way that we can miss the very thing we want that’s right in front of our noses.

Beliefs. Some we’d even die for. How incredible is that? After all, beliefs are just thoughts. Thoughts we just keep thinking. Just thoughts we are so sure are true. And that’s what they become for us. Because we keep on thinking them. But I often wonder how many were ever really our beliefs to begin with. Or have we just picked them up along the way? Somebody else’s ideas we’ve taken on as our own. Some we’re ready to die for and they’re not even ours in the first place.

So what beliefs are blinding you? And what beliefs are you better to leave behind…