Bright people know it’s a myth that only highly intelligent people are creative. In fact, research shows that once you get beyond an I.Q. of about 120, which is just a little above average, intelligence and creativity are not at all related. That means that even if you’re no smarter than most people, you still have the potential to wield amazing creative powers. So why are so few people highly creative? Because there are bad habits people learn as they grow up which crush the creative pathways in the brain. And like all bad habits, they can be broken if you are willing to work at them.
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Here are eight of the very worst bad habits that could be holding you back every day:
- Not being aware of the power of your own thoughts. The average person has about 50,000 to 60,000 thoughts a day. That’s two or three per second! Unfortunately, it only takes one negative thought to turn you into a wet rag…
- Forgetting that your brain is a muscle. You wouldn’t expect to go to a gym once and suddenly be in great shape, so why do you expect your brain to somehow get better at creativity without effort? Just like you have to exercise your muscles, you have to exercise your mind.
- Letting yourself fall into routines. Routines are great as long as you use them as a tool to help your creativity, not as a substitute for it.
But if you’re doing the same things you did yesterday to get through today, then your brain isn’t getting much of a workout.
- Using most of your time reacting rather than creating. The more time you spend reacting to what others are saying and doing, the less time you have leftover for thinking up new ideas yourself.
- Not getting into a positive frame of mind as much as possible. When you’re in the right mood, your brain is ready to be creative and solve problems from all sorts of different angles. But when your mind’s on something else—a fight with your spouse, a problem at work—you’re more likely to go with the most obvious ideas, the same ones everyone else would come up with.
- Neglecting your imagination and not nurturing it like a prized possession. Everyone has his or her own kind of creativity, whether you’re designing buildings, writing screenplays, doing math problems, negotiating treaties, or solving complex business problems. Whatever it is, you need to take care of your own imagination just like you would a dog or cat.
- Letting others stomp on your ideas without giving them due consideration. If you let other people’s negative reactions influence how much effort you put into every idea, then all that will be left of your ideas is a puddle.
- Not setting aside time to be creative every day. Just like you have to go to the gym regularly if you want to get in shape, you have to make creativity a part of your regular life if you want your brain to stay strong and healthy.
So no matter what you do, how many thousands of hours you put into this project or whatever, if your efforts are not supported by the business case they will never see the daylight. You can work hard, but if no one wants to pay for that your results are worth nothing. Quit wasting your time with all that impractical stuff!
Make sure you only write about ideas that provide the business case. That is where all money comes from! If you aren’t writing about that your work is not worth any attention.