Archive for the ‘Increase your Creativity’ Category

Ever felt sometimes that you just can’t get something off your mind? And I don’t mean in a good way. I mean when something is just bothering you and you can’t help but think about it over and over and over. You wake in the night thinking about it, every spare minute of the day there’s some infernal, internal dialogue happening inside your head…

It could be about anything, but I’m referring here to something you really don’t want, or something that’s really worrying/annoying/frightening you. That’s the trouble with creativity, as human beings we’re creative all the time whether we want to be or not. We’ve all heard the ol’ saying, ‘you attract what you think about’

Well I’m asking, why is it so easy to think about the bad stuff?

The answer is often Stress.

When the mind is stressed, I’m told, the hind brain (which looks for danger) dominates. That’s bad news as far as creating your own positive future goes. Forget visualising a mansion in the Bahamas and driving that Mercedes… that’s right-brain, creative thinking and stress is making that hind-brain work overtime… so all you can think about is your debts all day long. Your hind-brain is actually LOOKING for things to worry about! Arghhhh…

So. Just. Relax. It’s stress that’s causing the problems.

I have a trick… whenever something is really rattling around inside my head, I say to myself

‘If it’s not this, it’ll be something else’ And it works!

It helps me disassociate my emotions from the ‘story-line’ and detach from the senario.

Just say the magic words… “If it’s not this, it’ll be something else’ I accept that I have these emotions and they’ll find a way of getting out somehow so I’ll stop blaming the person/situation and think about something that I DO want and CAN do.

No matter how many times I do this, I still experience a huge sense of relief everytime. It just lets me off the hook somehow, and lets the other person off the hook aswell, knowing that I can change my stress levels now and don’t need anyone else to be perfect or wait for external circumstances to change.

And because the perceived source of anxiety is gone, it helps me to relax and start thinking properly again. I can see that Mercedes now… it purrs like a cat and seats are soft, the music’s playing, the wind’s in my hair….


Read Full Post »

>I just had an email from someone I had recently given some feedback to, regarding the design and content of her all-singing, all-dancing new website, that she had built and designed herself. Tricky.

I have spent years perfecting my Art of Empowering Criticism. Having been on both the giving and receiving end many many times – I know how important this skill really is.

If someone has asked you for an opinion about their work, then take note: he/she must value your opinion, and with that value comes a very real responsibility. You can inadvertently completely shatter their creative confidence in a few seconds flat!

My first tip is the most important and an absolute MUST…

1. Start with a big YES.
SAY ‘yes’ FEEL ‘yes’ EXUDE ‘yes’. (Even if all you want to say is no, no, no!) Start with the word yes and then go further and enter into appreciation… for the sheer effort, time, concern and energy that person has put into his/her creation.

2. Appreciate and acknowledge the fact that everyone on the planet has (and is entitled to) his/her own taste, interpretation, methodology and perception.

3. Acknowledge the person’s intention was true; to produce something that would do whatever job it was intended for… be it to entertain, sell, improve, explain, illustrate etc etc. The fact that it may actually do non of these things (for any number of reasons, eg: the style may be wrong for the intended audience) is completely irrelevant at the first instance.

4. Know that once creativity has been expressed – it can be applied again and again and to an even greater extent.

I believe is my biggest secret.; the fact that I know more is possible. If someone is newer to his/her creative expression than me, then softly softly catchee monkey. I try to gently and patiently help them experience how they can come up with more, (and more and more) which may be the case if what they’ve produced needs adjusting.

KEY THING: You mustn’t fake it, this appreciation must be genuine.

2. Use the magic words… ‘Tell me….’
This is a great tip, literally say the words. Pick something which you think needs adjusting and ask them to tell you about it.

“Tell me about this picture… tell me why you used this colour… tell me about this scene… tell me about this layout…”

This will help you both work out whether you are singing from the same songsheet. However, you must listen to what the person is telling you. Not just their words but also to their subtext, listen to what lies underneath their words. It’s important to understand a person’s motivation.

Remember your main objective is to communicate that you are not criticising them… but offering reflections about their creative work.

As the person is talking (telling you about why they did such and such) it is usually possible to then clarify the objectives, add new information or remind them of facts, that will help you both agree that such and such needs adjusting.

Read Full Post »

>Continuing our theme on how to get those creative juices going!

First… here’s a quick question:
Have you ever found yourself feeling threatened by another person’s creativity? Be honest now…

If the answer is ‘no, never’ I probably won’t believe you.
Why? Because this awful feeling happens to the best of us. Take me, I’m a graphic designer, and quite often I’d create a masterpiece, only to have it completely taken to the cleaners by the rest of the team. (Change this, change that, move that over.) What to do? How do you stop feeling totally rejected?

In situations such as these, here is something which I’ve found to work everytime. Caution: it sounds simple – but may be the hardest thing to practise.

Serve creativity, don’t expect it to serve you.
Senario: Say that someone comes along and produces something which totally overshadows your own work. It’s all too easy to dry up yourself. Or perhaps someone else takes over your work (which you’ve done all the groundwork for) and transforms it into something completely different from what you intended – and takes all the credit. It’s enough to make you lose your creative thread completely.

At times like these it’s vitally important that you trust in the abundance of the creative principle. Recognise that it is your creativity is being expressed by the other person. They are your talent. Because like attracts like.

Recognise that it’s your relationship to your own creative nature that is being expressed here. Treat it as you would a relationship with a dear friend. Trust her. (or him) If she stops talking to you, give her a gift… How? In the form of trust. Trust the process. Stop. Believe in her absolute abundance and realise that something else, something bigger, and more fabulous is just waiting for you around the corner.

Importantly… you must know that the nature of creativity is to product something which has never existed before – and that’s why you feel lost. Because you are facing the unknown. NOT because you’ve lost your creativity. Does this make sense? The person who has just made you dry up is your vehicle, NOT your obstacle.

Your creative nature has put that person here to be a stepping stone, for you. It’s up to you what you do with it.

Read Full Post »

>Being creative – as I mentioned in my earlier blog – is every human’s being’s prerogative and (in my experience) anyone who thinks they are not creative simply hasn’t discovered their natural outlet yet. If this sounds familiar then read on! If you are naturally creative then it’s still worth reading and contributing, as there are always more doors to open. In fact the more creative you become, the more creative you can be.

My purpose is to offer you ways that may help you discover some of things for which you have natural flare – for there are always more than one!

Todays tip is this: to be creative means to taste the moment that happening now. Be with yourself. Being creative is NOT the same as daydreaming. Very important fact.

I discovered this when I was going through a traumatic experience a few years back. I found it hard to focus, hard to apply myself to anything. Months went by and I was incapable of doing anything more demanding than automated jobs, things which didn’t require my emotional engagement in any way. And then… one day… I picked up a piece of paper and started penning something. I focussed my attention from whatever it was that causing me pain, and applied myself to really engaging. As my creativity flowed – my pain disappeared! When I stopped being creative the pain came back. It was like my creative muscles needed something to focus on, and if I didn’t consciously focus it on something good, then it seemed to turn on me and made me feel bad!

That’s when I realised that you need emotional energy in order to be creative. The ability to engage with an inspired idea. Mull over it, pay attention. This is why I call it the opposite of daydreaming. Daydreaming is when your thoughts are allowed to drift from one thing to another, with no control and no awareness of anything that’s around you. Whereas engaged, creative thinking means you have an enhanced awareness of things around you. the shape of a leaf, the sound of children playing in the street, the pattern on the coffee cup – suddenly the most trivial thing can give you the inspiration you need to find a solution to a problem at hand.

_uacct = “UA-3374010-1”;

Read Full Post »

>Why does being asked to ‘come up with a few creative ideas’ fill so many of us with such secret dread?

Every human being is born with the creative spark – the ability to create something completely new, original and unique. Yet how many times, over the years, have I heard a (now) familiar cry spring from anguished lips “But I’m not creative!”

Why is it that so many of us feel that we are not creative people? Why does our mouth dry, and pulse race, at the very thought of having to think up something no-one else on the entire planet has thought of before?

Let’s answer that question together. Please add your comments to this blog as we embark on this quest. For although I’ve hitherto been blogging on stage presence – this blog is ultimately called ‘creative confidence’ Creativity is a quality closest to my heart, and I utterly believe that everyone is as creative as the most accomplished people alive today. If you share this belief, please add your experience – if you whole heartedly disagree, share that too!

Seed of an idea
In my experience the first place to start – when you’re faced with the prospect of having to think of some ‘creative ideas’ is not to freeze, but to cast about for something which will inspire you. This ‘something’ is the seed from which your creative idea will germinate.

Your quest for creative idea then, begins with a quest for your seed.
This seed can take any form… an emotive song, an inspiring person, something someone said to you, a quote you’ve just read, a painting, a piece of information, an image, a photograph… Cast around until you find something.

Don’t Panic
Your attitude is all important. You must be patient. You must trust that the seed for your brilliant idea will come. In fact it’s already there somewhere and you’ll find it just at the precise perfect moment. If you panic, it’ll just take longer.

How do you know when you’ve found your seed? It’ll emotionally grab you. It’ll get you excited. It’ll stimulate an idea. That’s when you must must must grab the moment and allow the ideas to flow.

Warning: Seeds are time sensitive. When you find your seed, act on it. Give it room, give it some thought and most importantly… put PEN TO PAPER. Don’t ignore it or leave it till later. You’ll be amazed at how you much you forget.

Don’t worry if the first ideas are bad… keep them coming, the good ones sometimes come later.

Read Full Post »