5 Ways to Open and Nurture Your Imagination

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Your imagination is the key to creating your dreams and building your future. When you are creatively blocked, you are going to have a more difficult time being your best self at work or at anything you attempt to achieve. Too often, those of us who are ambitious and production-driven, will ignore creative pursuits because we think we don’t have time for them. You might be saying, “But I’m not a creative person. I’m a business person, so what does creativity and imagination have to do with anything?”

The answer is, “everything.”

Here are five ways to open your imagination, which will in turn, ignite that spark of creativity within you so you can create more with your business, as well as enhance your life.

1. Reading.

I’ve mentioned before that when I get up in the morning, I read something for at least 30 minutes. The reading offers fuel for my imagination and inspires me to think of new business ideas and marketing strategies. Even if you just pick up something and read for 10 or 15 minutes, you are “waking up” your brain and stimulating the thought process. Make this a daily habit. You can also do this in the evening before you go to sleep. Reading can transform not only how you see yourself, but also how you see the world.

2. Writing. 

I am a big proponent of journaling. I carry a Moleskin leather journal with me everywhere I go and I jot down thoughts, ideas and feelings into this journal. I love to go to cafés or bookstores and just sit and journal. I cannot begin to tell you how this creative exercise opens up my imagination to new ideas for work, solution to current roadblocks and life, in general. Many people like to journal first thing in the morning — either in their own handwriting like I do in my Moleskin journal, or on their smart phone, or tablet. The idea is to spend quiet moments with yourself and write out your thoughts. If you do it in the morning, it will clear the air, give you an opportunity to write out your frustrations and start the day fresh. Words are powerful, after all, and this action can influence important change in your life.

3. Movies. 

This might sound like a self-indulgent activity, but it can be more than that. Seeing a movie can be productive, inspiring, motivating and creative. When you go to see a movie — and I enjoy seeing them by myself — it opens up your mind and imagination to possibilities. The sounds, colors, action, stories and characters, are all potential motivators to remind you of something you can do to enhance your business and life. So, while seeing movies is entertainment, it is also a great way to open your creativity and imagination.

4. Art.

We are not all Picassos, but if we enjoy art in any form, then don’t neglect it. I have friends who are traditional artists, but tell me they never have time to paint anymore. That doesn’t sound logical to me. If art restores your soul, if art nurtures your imagination and creativity, then why aren’t you doing it? You can surely find 10 to 15 minutes a day to devote to something you love. When painting a picture or any other type of artistic craft that you enjoy, you are tuning into your inner self and tapping into a creative well that will nurture and inspire you. That will help to inspire you further in your work. Maybe your “art” is decorating a room in your apartment or house. Then, do it. Maybe your “art” is body-building or gymnastics. Maybe it’s dance. Maybe it’s music. Maybe it’s gardening. There’s a true art form to activities that people don’t often recognize. “Art” is more than just painting a picture. It is anything that’s creative. Strengthening your creative muscles will help you tune into your inner wisdom and will open your imagination to all kinds of possibilities.

5. Daydreaming. 

Finally, I want to emphasize that daydreaming can be an important tool to opening your imagination and creativity. Sure, I imagine we all remember when we were in elementary school and teachers told us to stop daydreaming and get to work. When you daydream, you take yourself out of the ordinary moment and open yourself to possibilities. Naturally, you don’t want to live your whole day in a daydream world, but taking moments to relax and “daydream” are small exercises that can open your imagination to new ideas and dreams. And those new ideas and dreams can help you thrive in business and in life. And isn’t that what we all want? So, start daydreaming today and enjoy those little moments of creativity. Everything starts with a dream, even a “daydream.”

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Bring Out Your Inner Genius and Exercise That Creative Muscle

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Chances are, if I asked a room of 10 people if they were creative or not, I would bet that more than half of them would say no. There is a huge myth that only a select few people are creative and have the potential to tap into their creative genius each day. I used to be one of those people.

I would convince myself over and over again that I am not creative at all, and that I just have to deal with it. I used to think about all of the books, articles and speeches that I wanted to create but then eventually talked myself out of it, because I would hit a wall and just tell myself that creativity isn’t a strong suit of mine.

You might not be thinking about what books, articles or speeches to create, but there has probably been a point in time where you have talked yourself out of pursuing something, because you convinced yourself that you lack a certain level of creativity that it takes to get the job done. The great fact of the matter is that everyone is creative and has the potential within them to tap into their inner creative genius.

I have people almost everyday tell me that they wish they were more creative. That used to be me. I would read great books and read profound articles and just think to myself — “How I wish I was as creative as the author who wrote that great book.” It wasn’t until a mentor of mine explained to me that I have all of the creativity that I need to create whatever it is I want. I just needed to develop it.

As a former athlete, those words ended up really striking a chord with me, because it dawned on me that just as an athlete needs to work on his sport and practice everyday to get better, I quickly came to the understanding that the exact same thing needs to happen in order to develop my creativity muscle. It’s true that a small percentage of men and women have developed their creative potential — while a great majority has not. It’s also true that those who haven’t don’t lack creativity or the potential to tap into their creative genius. It’s just that they haven’t developed and worked their creative muscles enough.

You don’t need to be a writer, artist  or musician to develop and strive to tap into your creative side. Life in general, and you becoming the very best version of yourself requires creativity. Stepping away from the norm and creating the life of your dreams requires creativity. Being a great leader requires creativity. Great marketing and business development requires creativity. While in pursuit of a major goal or dream, logic may tell you one thing and eventually lead you to a dead-end road, while the best of the best get creative, and ultimately create a path if there appears to be none in sight.

That’s part of the difference between those who make it and those who fall short. They understand the importance of developing the creativity muscle each and everyday, even if for just 10 minutes or so. When I stopped listening and abiding by what the creativity myth was telling me — that only a select few people have the potential to tap into their creative genius — my life took on a whole new meaning.

Start today to develop your creativity. Make it a daily habit to write in a journal, get on a writing schedule to simply just write what comes to mind or wherever your imagination takes you or use any other methods that may work best for you in the pursuit of developing your creative potential.

I know firsthand that developing your creativity and working at it each and everyday can do extremely wonderful things for your life, business and future. Don’t follow the enormous amount of people who leave their creativity potential dormant and locked away while blindly following whatever the masses of people do.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com