Category Archives: Articles

Educative write-ups and resources

8 Ways To Develop A Child’s Creativity

Children are full of unharnessed creativity. The way they invent their own games and find explanations for the things that are beyond them? I personally believe that their perpetually excitable state is as a result of the new discoveries they make every moment; within themselves and in their environment.

Some children are child prodigies in some activity or the other, their talents are obvious and they evolve rapidly. Others are not so obvious and they may display several talents at the same time; but no child is ordinary.

A child’s creativity starts with their method of thinking and problem solving. Daily challenges to expand their reasoning and understanding of the world, along with an encouraging environment allows for a child to become more confident of their views and opinions. There are a number of ways to develop child creativity, most of which can be incorporated into daily life.

1. Allow your child to make simple choices, such as what to eat for dinner or where to go on a weekend. This encourages them to think independently, exercising an important aspect of creativity.

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2. Encourage independence from caregivers and media. A child that is constantly entertained by others or the television will struggle to find things to do on their own without access to media.

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3. Provide items in your child’s environment to stimulate their imagination. Drawing supplies, blocks, books, and random craft supplies can all contribute to elaborate dramatic play schemes.

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4. Brainstorm different uses for items with your child. For example, a cardboard tube can be a telescope, tower, or person. Validate all of your child’s ideas, praising him or her for such an impressive imagination.

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5. Ask your child open-ended questions to stretch their understanding and help them to postulate ideas.

  • Ask your child “what if” questions. “What if people could fly?” “What if people lived in space?” “What if dolphins walked on land?”
  • Involve your child in figuring out ways to make an improvement upon something. “How can we clean up the living room faster?” “How could we get water to the flowers without spilling any?” “What could we do to make the ball bounce higher?”
  • Being read a book is an excellent opportunity for a child to exercise their creativity. Ask your child what could happen next, or how a character feels (and why).

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6. Play with your child. Work together to establish dramatic play scenarios, using substitute items for props when needed. Pretend play allows for children to imagine life from a different perspective, an important building block of creativity.

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7. Be prepared for “messy play.” While it may seem that your child is playing in the mud simply to make more work for you, in fact there is a great deal that is learned by playing with such things. When they are finished playing, make it a rule that they have to help clean up. If faced with the choice of getting messy then cleaning it up and not getting messy at all, almost all children will choose the former option.

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8. Engage in story telling. Start a story and take turns building upon it. Follow your child’s lead in what the mood of the story should be. Expect most stories to be more on the silly, impossible side. Since this is just a story, no idea is too far-fetched.

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In summary, it is important to encourage creativity in your child with these and other methods. This will reduce the probability of them being late bloomers, or worse never blooming.

Have you tried any of the above before and had results? Or do you have another method not listed that has worked for you? Do share your own method(s) in the comment box

Happy Children’s Day!

Hat Tip: wikiHow

What Is The Key To Creating Remarkable Things?

by Mark McGuiness

No one likes the feeling that other people are waiting – impatiently – for you to get back to them. At the beginning of the day, faced with an overflowing inbox, a list of messages on your voicemail, and the to-do list from your last meeting, it’s tempting to want to “clear the decks” before you start on your own most important work. When you’re up-to-date, you tell yourself, your mind will be clear and it will be easier to focus on the task at hand.

The trouble with this approach is that you end up spending the best part of the day on other people’s priorities, running their errands, and giving them what they need. By the time you finally settle down to your own work, it could be mid-afternoon, when your energy has dipped and it’s hard to focus on anything properly. “Oh well, maybe tomorrow will be better,” you tell yourself.

But when tomorrow comes round there’s another pile of emails, phone messages, and to-do list items. If you carry on like this you will spend most of your time on reactive work, responding to incoming demands and answering questions framed by other people. It’s a never-ending hamster wheel. And it will never lead to remarkable work, in Seth Godin‘s sense, “worthy of being remarked on.” We don’t find it remarkable when our expectations are met – only when they are exceeded, or when we are surprised by something completely unexpected.

The single most important change I’ve made in my own working habits has been to start doing things the other way round – i.e. begin the day with creative work on my own top priorities, with the phone and email switched off. And I never schedule meetings in the morning, if there’s any way of avoiding it. This means that whatever else happens, I get my most important work done – and looking back, all of my biggest successes have been the result of making this simple change.

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These days, I have two popular blogs that bring me plenty of new business. I have e-books, training programs, an e-learning program, and a network of great contacts I can call on for help. I have qualifications, and more importantly the knowledge and skills I acquired through my studies. All of these things are assets that create ongoing value for my clients and for my business. Yet there wasn’t a single day when I sat down to write each individual essay, blog post, training plan, or e-book chapter, without a string of people waiting for me to get back to them.

It wasn’t easy, and still isn’t, particularly when I get phone messages beginning “I sent you an email two hours ago…!”

By definition, taking this approach goes against the grain of others’ expectations, and the pressures they put on you. It can take an act of willpower to switch off the world, even for an hour, during the working day. For some strange reason, it feels “unprofessional” to be knuckling down to work in this way.

The thing is, if you want to create something truly remarkable, it won’t be built in a day. A great novel, a stunning design, a game-changing software application, a revolutionary company – this kind of thing takes time, thought, craft, and persistence. And on any given day, it will never appear as “urgent” as those four emails (in the last half-hour) from Client X or Colleague Y, asking for things you’ve already given them or which they probably don’t really need.

So if you’re going to prioritize this kind of work – your real work – you may have to go through a wall of anxiety in order to get it done. And you’ll probably have to put up with complaints and reproaches from people who have no idea what you’re trying to achieve, and can’t understand what could be more important than their needs.

Yes, it feels uncomfortable, and sometimes people get upset, but it’s much better to disappoint a few people over small things, than to sacrifice the big things for an empty inbox. Otherwise you’re sacrificing real productivity for the illusion of professionalism.

Here are a few tips to help you make the switch:

1. Creative work first, reactive work second.

Either start the day on your creative work, or make sure you block out time for it later in the day – preferably at a time when you typically feel energized and productive.

2. Tune out distractions.

You know the drill – email off, phone off, work from home if you can, stick your headphones on if you can’t.

3. Make exceptions for VIPs.

Don’t be reckless. If you’re working with a client to a deadline, or your boss needs something urgently, treat them like VIPs and give them special access – e.g. leave the phone on and answer if they ring (everyone else gets the voicemail).

4. Be really efficient at reactive work.

You can’t ignore everybody all the time. The better your productivity systems, the more promptly you’ll be able to respond to their requests – and the more time you’ll have free for your own work.

Over to You

Do you agree that ‘creative work first, reactive work second’ is the key to creating remarkable things?
 
How do you prioritize work on important-but-not-urgent projects? What benefits have you gained from doing this?

SOURCE

Bizzare Habits That Helped Their Creativity

If you want to be successful, you may need to get a little weird!

Looking at the lives of immensely successful people, it becomes clear that strangeness has its benefits. From Marissa Mayer’s eccentric sleeping schedule to Ludwig van Beethoven’s affinity for composing in the bathtub, here’s a look some weird habits that have fueled success.

According to Harvard psychologist Shelley Carson, eccentric people tend to be more creative because of something called “cognitive disinhibition.”Basically, creative folks have less of a filter on their thoughts and actions, which makes them more likely to do things that don’t follow the norms of behavior.

1. Yoshiro Nakamatsu would starve his brain of oxygen to get big ideas.
Yoshiro Nakamatsu would starve his brain of oxygen to get big ideas.

image credit: Wikimedia commons

At 85, Nakamatsu is one of Japan’s greatest inventors. He patented the floppy disk back in 1952 and has racked up 3,300 patents. He’s the father of the karaoke machine, the sauce pump, the taxicab meter, and the digital watch.

To feed his inventiveness, he likes to push his brain and body to the limit. He regularly goes swimming and holds his head underwater to the point of nearly drowning.

“To starve the brain of oxygen,” he once explained, “you must dive deep and allow the water pressure to deprive the brain of blood. Zero-point-five seconds before death, I visualize an invention.”

Then he jots down his inspiration on an underwater notepad and heads back to the surface.

2. Jonathan Franzen works with a blindfold to keep his concentration.
Jonathan Franzen works with a blindfold to keep his concentration.

In an era of 140-character messages, Franzen composes serious fiction. His books “The Corrections” and “Freedom” capture the endemic weirdness of American families.

But to write his 500-page novels, Franzen goes beyond just boycotting social media. He blocks out all sensory stimuli. As the New York Times reports, he writes with earplugs, earmuffs, and a blindfold when he really needs to concentrate.

”You can always find the ‘home’ keys on your computer,” he said. ”They have little raised bumps.”

3. Ludwig van Beethoven developed his ideas in the bathroom.Ludwig van Beethoven developed his ideas in the bathroom.

image credit: Public domain

Though he famously went deaf, Beethoven became one of the world’s most influential composers with works such as “Moonlight Sonata.” Surprisingly, baths were a part of his workflow.

His student and secretary Anton Schindler wrote that the composer would stand at “his washstand and pour large pitchers of water over his hands, bellowing up and down the scale or sometimes humming loudly to himself.”

Then he’d stride around the room rolling his eyes, writing down notes, and continue pouring water and singing. While the splashing annoyed his neighbors, Beethoven was onto something: We get our best ideas in the shower.

“These were moments of deep meditation,” Schindler said, “to which no one could have objected.”

4. Thomas Edison refused to sleep when he was on a roll.
Thomas Edison refused to sleep when he was on a roll.

image credit: Wikimedia Commons/Library of Congress

While Edison would sneak in a power nap, he usually slept as little as possible — only three hours a night. He thought sleep was “a heritage from our cave days” and a waste of time.

That’s why he would work for a reported 72 hours straight before finally closing his eyes. That marathon work ethic led to the invention of the phonograph, the alkaline battery, a better lightbulb, and some 1,093 patents.

“We are always hearing people talk about ‘loss of sleep’ as a calamity,” he wrote in a 1921 letter. “They better call it loss of time, vitality, and opportunities.”

5. Marissa Mayer has slept at her desk for maximum productivity.
Marissa Mayer has slept at her desk for maximum productivity.

image credit: Magnus Höij

Mayer likes to get deeply invested in a project to encourage breakthroughs. When the Yahoo CEO was working at Google, she would devote 130 hours a week to the search company. To do so, she would sleep at her desk and get “strategic” with her showers. It’s all part of maximizing her waking hours, and one reason you’d rarely find her without a laptop.

How does she prevent burnout? She’s reported to take a week-long vacation every four months.

6. Charles Dickens liked to solve morgue mysteries to train his brain.
Charles Dickens liked to solve morgue mysteries to train his brain.

image credit: Public domain

When Dickens wasn’t writing “Great Expectations” or pointing his writing desk to the north, you could find him at the Paris morgue, looking at dead bodies.

This was part of his “attraction to repulsion,” which also brought him to crime scenes where he liked to play detective.

Trying to solve the crimes, some argue, trained the writer in critical thinking — the kind needed for his complex novels.

7. Maya Angelou kept a hotel room to block everything out and write her best works.
Maya Angelou kept a hotel room to block everything out and write her best works.

image credit: Amazon

To say that this author and poet is prolific is an understatement. In over 50 years of writing, she’s produced many autobiographies, several books of poetry, films, and television shows. She’s also been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the U.S.

Her secret: a tiny hotel room, where she’d go from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a dictionary, a Bible, a deck of cards, and a bottle of sherry to get her creative juices going.

“I’ll stay as long as it’s going well,” she said in an interview. “It’s lonely, and it’s marvelous.”

8. The psychologist B.F. Skinner measured his hours and productivity obsessively.
The psychologist B.F. Skinner measured his hours and productivity obsessively.

image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Skinner helped found behaviorism, a formative school of 20th century psychology. According to his thinking, all our actions can be measured, trained, and changed, if we only pay attention to the inputs and the outputs.

Quite fittingly, Skinner conditioned himself.

As Mason Currey notes in “Daily Rituals,” Skinner started and stopped his workdays with the buzz of a timer. He tracked the hours he worked and the words he produced along a graph. Sixty years before the quantified self movement became cool, Skinner was using numbers to better his production.

9. Francis Bacon said hangovers helped his painting.
Francis Bacon said hangovers helped his painting.

image credit: abc.net.au

Bacon, a British artist who painted gruesome and intense portraits, lived the high life. Bottles of wine, beers at the pub, and drinks at private clubs were a daily routine.

Interestingly, all the imbibing and hard living helped his creativity.

“I often like working with a hangover,” he said, “because my mind is crackling with energy, and I can think very clearly.”

SOURCE

Why Creativity Is Important To Well-Being

A profound insight into Creativity and being a creative person

My Loving Art Project

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Creativity helps me find meaning in my life.

Experiencing the ice at the lake got me thinking about how I get insights into my life when I apply my creativity. I think the greatest gift is that I learn about myself in ways that were not obvious to me before. The act of creating reveals a truth in my life. The art is a by-product of a creative process through which personal meaning and purpose are revealed.

Creativity helps us connect to our emotions.

The patterns forming in the ice as we were jumping on the floating dock brought up feelings for me. Becoming aware of what I am feeling is the starting point of my creative process. I think the feelings here were joy, wonder and curiosity. These are all feelings associated with states of creativity. There was also a feeling of freedom and connectedness.

I was spontaneous with…

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Simple, Ingenious Inventions That Will Make You Smile

Many of us are creative on a daily basis. We come up with the simplest ideas to solve nagging problems, it’s just that we think they are too simple to be called inventions.

Actually, not all inventions have to be complicated. In fact, sometimes the simplest ideas can be the most ingenious.

Below are some simple ideas I found around the web that could make your everyday life a little bit easier or just make you smile. I particularly like the snuggle-friendly bed 😀

The No-Guess Door Hack:

A Cleaner Toilet Experience:

Cord Organization With Bread Ties:

Cord Containers:

Simple Refrigerator Organization:

Sand Shovels:

Ingenious Way To Fill a Bucket:

Security Lock for USB Drives:

Dollar Shredder Alarm Clock:

Paper Cup Holder:

Karate Chop Salad Chopper:

Snuggle-Friendly Mattress:

Portable Bike:

Food Tray for the Car:

(H/T: Pleated Jeans)

A Pschological View: 17 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently

Research has suggested that creativity involves the coming together of a multitude of traits, behaviors and social influences in a single person.

“It’s actually hard for creative people to know themselves because the creative self is more complex than the non-creative self,” Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist at New York University who has spent years researching creativity, told The Huffington Post. “The things that stand out the most are the paradoxes of the creative self … Imaginative people have messier minds.”

While there’s no “typical” creative type, there are some tell-tale characteristics and behaviors of highly creative people. Here are 18 things they do differently.

1. They daydream.

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According to Kaufman and psychologist Rebecca L. McMillan, who co-authored a paper titled “Ode To Positive Constructive Daydreaming,” mind-wandering can aid in the process of “creative incubation.” And of course, many of us know from experience that our best ideas come seemingly out of the blue when our minds are elsewhere.

Although daydreaming may seem mindless, a 2012 studysuggested it could actually involve a highly engaged brain state — daydreaming can lead to sudden connections and insights because it’s related to our ability to recall information in the face of distractions. Neuroscientists have also found that daydreaming involves the same brain processes associated with imagination and creativity

2. They observe everything.

The world is a creative person’s oyster — they see possibilities everywhere and are constantly taking in information that becomes fodder for creative expression. As Henry James is widely quoted, a writer is someone on whom “nothing is lost.”

3. They work the hours that work for them.

Many great artists have said that they do their best work either very early in the morning or late at night. Vladimir Nabokov started writing immediately after he woke up at 6 or 7 a.m., and Frank Lloyd Wright made a practice of waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. and working for several hours before heading back to bed. No matter when it is, individuals with high creative output will often figure out what time it is that their minds start firing up, and structure their days accordingly.

Read My Post: Routines or Not?

4. They take time for solitude.

“In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone,” wrote the American existential psychologist Rollo May.

Artists and creatives are often stereotyped as being loners, and while this may not actually be the case, solitude can be the key to producing their best work. For Kaufman, this links back to daydreaming — we need to give ourselves the time alone to simply allow our minds to wander.

“You need to get in touch with that inner monologue to be able to express it,” he says. “It’s hard to find that inner creative voice if you’re … not getting in touch with yourself and reflecting on yourself.”

5. They turn life’s obstacles around.

Many of the most iconic stories and songs of all time have been inspired by gut-wrenching pain and heartbreak — and the silver lining of these challenges is that they may have been the catalyst to create great art.

An emerging field of psychology called post-traumatic growth is suggesting that many people are able to use their hardships and early-life trauma for substantial creative growth. Specifically, researchers have found that trauma can help people to grow in the areas of interpersonal relationships, spirituality, appreciation of life, personal strength, and — most importantly for creativity — seeing new possibilities in life.

6. They seek out new experiences.

Creative people love to expose themselves to new experiences, sensations and states of mind — and this openness is a significant predictor of creative output.

“Openness to experience is consistently the strongest predictor of creative achievement,” says Kaufman. “This consists of lots of different facets, but they’re all related to each other: Intellectual curiosity, thrill seeking, openness to your emotions, openness to fantasy. The thing that brings them all together is a drive for cognitive and behavioral exploration of the world, your inner world and your outer world.”

7. They “fail up.”

Resilience is practically a prerequisite for creative success, says Kaufman. Doing creative work is often described as a process of failing repeatedly until you find something that sticks, and creatives — at least the successful ones — learn not to take failure so personally.

“Creatives fail and the really good ones fail often,” Forbes contributor Steven Kotler wrote in a piece on Einstein’s creative genius.

8. They ask the big questions.

Creative people are insatiably curious — they generally opt to live the examined life, and even as they get older, maintain a sense of curiosity about life. Whether through intense conversation or solitary mind-wandering, creatives look at the world around them and want to know why, and how, it is the way it is.

9. They people-watch.

Observant by nature and curious about the lives of others, creative types often love to people-watch — and they may generate some of their best ideas from it.

10. They take risks.

Part of doing creative work is taking risks, and many creative types thrive off of taking risks in various aspects of their lives.

“There is a deep and meaningful connection between risk taking and creativity and it’s one that’s often overlooked,” contributor Steven Kotler wrote in Forbes. “Creativity is the act of making something from nothing.

11. They view all of life as an opportunity for self-expression.

Nietzsche believed that one’s life and the world should be viewed as a work of art. Creative types may be more likely to see the world this way, and to constantly seek opportunities for self-expression in everyday life.

12. They follow their true passions.

Creative people tend to be intrinsically motivated — meaning that they’re motivated to act from some internal desire, rather than a desire for external reward or recognition. Psychologists have shown that creative people are energized by challenging activities, a sign of intrinsic motivation, and the research suggests that simply thinking of intrinsic reasons to perform an activity may be enough to boost creativity.

13. They get out of their own heads.

Kaufman argues that another purpose of daydreaming is to help us to get out of our own limited perspective and explore other ways of thinking, which can be an important asset to creative work.

“Daydreaming has evolved to allow us to let go of the present,” says Kaufman. “The same brain network associated with daydreaming is the brain network associated with theory of mind — I like calling it the ‘imagination brain network’ — it allows you to imagine your future self, but it also allows you to imagine what someone else is thinking.”

14. They lose track of the time.

Creative types may find that when they’re writing, dancing, painting or expressing themselves in another way, they get “in the zone,” or what’s known as a flow state, which can help them to create at their highest level. Flow is a mental state when an individual transcends conscious thought to reach a heightened state of effortless concentration and calmness. When someone is in this state, they’re practically immune to any internal or external pressures and distractions that could hinder their performance.

You get into the flow state when you’re performing an activity you enjoy that you’re good at, but that also challenges you — as any good creative project does.

15. They surround themselves with beauty.

Creatives tend to have excellent taste, and as a result, they enjoy being surrounded by beauty.

16. They connect the dots.

If there’s one thing that distinguishes highly creative people from others, it’s the ability to see possibilities where others don’t — or, in other words, vision. Many great artists and writers have said that creativity is simply the ability to connect the dots that others might never think to connect.

Read My Post: Connecting The Dots… Let’s learn from the masters

17. They constantly shake things up.

Diversity of experience, more than anything else, is critical to creativity, says Kaufman. Creatives like to shake things up, experience new things, and avoid anything that makes life more monotonous or mundane.

Adapted from SOURCE

Research has suggested that creativity involves the coming together of a multitude of traits, behaviors and social influences in a single person.

“It’s actually hard for creative people to know themselves because the creative self is more complex than the non-creative self,” Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist at New York University who has spent years researching creativity, told The Huffington Post. “The things that stand out the most are the paradoxes of the creative self … Imaginative people have messier minds.”

While there’s no “typical” creative type, there are some tell-tale characteristics and behaviors of highly creative people. Here are 18 things they do differently.

They daydream.

– See more at: http://www.creativitypost.com/psychology/18_things_highly_creative_people_do_differently1#sthash.qPhu0d9a.dpuf

How To Embrace A Life Of Creativity

Staying creative and discovering newness in the midst of ordinary life is a big challenge, but you can embrace creativity by having an open mind and absorbing new experiences.

It’s easy to fall into that ‘lazy’ trap and wallow in self pity, thinking how nothing is going right for you at the moment, and how life has not been particularly fair to you. However, don’t get into that negative mindset; instead, be open and embrace new experiences in life and make your daily life more creative and worthwhile.

Here are a few guidelines to help you along:

Be curious: Creative people are always interested in life. There’s a sense of wonder in them. So give in to your imagination and let it run wild. Be open to a host of possibilities. You never know what’s in store and you will find yourself surprised many times.

Make creativity a daily habit: They say creative people are known by their habits. Start small but do make it a habit. Make a commitment to yourself that you will take time out everyday to spend in thinking ‘creative’ or doing something creative. There is no match to the will of forming a daily habit and sticking to it.

Have your own little creative corner: It might sound odd but yes having a bright, colourful creative corner can give you a boost. Create a little space for yourself in the house and decorate it to your liking. Never mind if it’s just a work desk, but let it speak about your personality and allow you to be what you want to be even if it’s a for a little while.

Keep learning: There’s no age limit for learning new things. These days, most cities have lots of creative workshops like pottery, photography, cooking, baking, calligraphy and the likes. Enroll in one and revel in discovering a new creative high in your life. If languages fascinate you, learn a new language. Meeting new people will be an added advantage too.

SOURCE