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Living Your Passion

Living Your PassionAre you living your passion? Dan Sullivan, a highly successful entrepreneur in the US, said one of the main reasons that people struggle with focus, is that they’re not entirely sold on whatever they’re doing. They may think that they are on a conscious level, but they may not be on a subconscious level. People can also get emotionally attached to a project without completely selling themselves on the idea. I can totally relate to this with past projects I have been involved which did not go according to plan. I don’t regard them as a “failure” though as each time I have got feedback and learned from it.

There is a flip side though… [Read more…]


How To Have Ideas

How To Have Ideas

You may have noticed that this week has been Creativity Week as far as this blog is concerned. To conclude this week’s focus I thought it would be useful to present some ideas about…how to have ideas. Creativity doesn’t necessarily have to be the creation of something brand new. It may be that you discover a way of improving something that already exists – accountants (who may not consider themselves creative) can be creative in their own way, for example by streamlining spreadsheets or processes.

[Read more…]


The Creative Brain

Leading on from the last post on creativity, I thought it would be appropriate to include an insight from expert, Tony Buzan on the creative brain. This is a really interesting video in which he cites Leonardo Da Vinci as having said that everyone is an artist and everyone is a scientist. From the moment we are born, we start to experiment and we continue to experiment throughout our lives, mostly unknowingly of course: [Read more…]


29 Ways to Focus On Your Creativity

If you ever think you’re not the creative type, then you’re wrong. Everyone is creative, it’s just that most of us have been educated out of it – according to Sir Ken Robinson, the creativity expert. You’ll be pleased to know however, that there are ways to induce creativity, to get it back. Here are 20 ways to focus on your creativity that you should watch to with sound.

Please share with your friends if you liked these 29 ways to focus on your creativity. It’s easy to forget that we were all born creative, it’s inside us all. Unfortunately most people get sucked into work and neglect their creative sides so pick a few of these tips each day and get creative!



10 Ways To Focus On Happiness

Do you ever wonder why some people always appear to be happy and others are never quite content? These 10 ways to focus on happiness are written by Paula Davis-Laack, J.D., M.A.P.P for Psychology Today. She actually presents them as things that happy people do differently having spent years studying thousands of people. See you many of these you can tick off as things you already do, or are present in your life..

10 Ways To Focus On Happiness

Ways To Focus On Happiness1)  They build a strong social fabric. Happy people stay connected to their families, neighbors, places of worship, and communities. These strong connections act as a buffer to depression and create strong, meaningful connections. The rate of depression has increased dramatically in the last 50-75 years. The World Health Organization predicts that by 2020, depression will be the second leading cause of mortality in the world, impacting nearly one-third of all adults (Murray & Lopez, 1996). While several forces are likely behind this increase, one of the most important factors may be the disconnection from people and their families and communities.

2)  They engage in activities that fit their strengths, values and lifestyle. One size does not fit all when it comes to happiness strategies. You tailor your workout to your specific fitness goals – happy people do the same thing with their emotional goals. Some strategies that are known to promote happiness are just too corny for me, but the ones that work best allow me to practice acts of kindness, express gratitude, and become fully engaged. Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky offers a wonderful Person-Activity Fit Diagnostic in her book, The How of Happiness (Lyubomirsky, 2007)

Continue reading whole article on Psychology Today

So which of these 10 Ways To Focus On Happiness already apply to you? Which of these do you think you are actively engaging in on a day to day basis? I quite liked the second point here – focusing on strengths, values and lifestyle. In today’s world, I fear only a small proportion of the population focus on their strengths, certainly in their jobs. In my opinion, this is why I think many people are unhappy. People drift from job to job, seeking out a better opportunity each time, time and time again, and then have a midlife crisis realising that they’ve spent the last X number of years in a job which is so far removed from their innate strengths and talents that they don’t know what to do with themselves. That’s the problem with society – no one’s encouraged to work to their true strengths. We’re educated to all be the same, and to get a “decent job”, we need a degree, but everyone has one of those now, so where a degree was sufficient 10 years ago, you now need a masters. But now, loads of people have masters, so you need an MBA, then PHD etc.  Creativity expert, Sir Ken Robinson calls this “Academic Inflation”- we’re all completed educated out of our creativity (as we were all born creative, FACT). I’d highly recommend his book, The Element actually. It’ll get you thinking and inspired to be creative.


Ways To Focus On Your Strengths

Ways To Focus On Your StrengthsThis really caught my eye as I remembered the days when I worked for a large organisation. Here, Diana Clement explains why it’s necessary to learn ways to focus on your strengths after making an interesting point about how organisations often focus on developing areas of weakness of their employees, rather than their strengths.  Her words make a lot of sense as she points out a number of negative effects that focusing on weaknesses will have on employees:

  1. Negative, not positive, interactions with colleagues
  2. Treat customers poorly
  3. Tell your friends what a miserable company you work for
  4. Achieve less on a daily basis
  5. Have fewer positive and creative moments.
  6. Many people may be staring their strengths in the face, but until they can see them are held back in their careers or simply sit at their desks disengaged.
She then reveals a few interesting statistics about how a management consultancy service uses a book called Strengths Finder 2.0 to work through performance appraisals of the organisation’s employees.

Gallup, which provides a management consultancy service in New Zealand, found that only 1 per cent of employees surveyed whose manager primarily focused on their strengths were disengaged.

Not surprisingly, the organisation’s consulting focuses on what executives and employees do well.

It provides staff with a copy of its book, Strengths Finder 2.0, and takes them through an assessment of their strengths.

The book gives an introduction to the concept of strengths psychology and then has a unique access code which enables the reader to complete a 30-minute questionnaire.

The results highlight each person’s five top strengths out of 34 and provide ideas for action on each relevant theme.

Participants are then asked:

1. How does this information help you better understand your unique talents?

2. How can you use this understanding to add value to your role?

3. How can you apply this knowledge to add value to your team, workgroup, department, or division?

4. How will this understanding help you add value to your organisation?

5. What will you do differently tomorrow as a result of this report?

Read the full article here

These ways to focus on your strengths are actually in tune with what creativity expert, Sir Ken Robinson, has to say in the previous video.   He mentions how the majority of people in this world end up drifting through life not working in a job that’s in line with their strengths.  I’m sure everyone would be much happier if they truly focused on their strengths rather than developing their areas of weakness which would in turn, lead to increased creativity.



How To Improve Your Focus And Creativity

If you would to learn how to improve your focus and creativity, then these words from co-author of Organize Your Brain, Organize Your Life: Train Your Brain To Get More Done In Less Time, Margaret Moore, should fill you with confidence.  This article was written by Celeste Perron For HealthGoesStrong.com and I have excerpted two of my favourite points.

How To Improve Your Focus And Creativity

Take brain breaks. One key to better focus is to take a “brain break” every 30-60 minutes. “After that amount of time your brain gets depleted and you need a break, especially as the day goes on,” says Moore. “So move around and do little tasks like making the bed, or go for a walk.” Surfing the web and watching funny YouTube videos doesn’t necessarily qualify as a brain break. “It’s important to get out of your chair and move your body,” she says, and adds, “sometimes taking break from what you’re doing can lead to your best creative insights, which is why we so often hit upon great ideas in the shower.”

Stay cognitively flexible. One risk we face as we age is mental rigidity, getting stuck in opinions and thought patterns that can block creativity and also hurt working memory. One trick Moore suggests for preventing that is intentionally exposing yourself to opposing points of view—say, watch MSNBC followed by Fox News, or read an editorial in the New York Times followed by one in the Wall Street Journal that voices the opposite opinion. “You don’t want to get too stuck in your ways of thinking, because being able to understand multiple points of view helps you stay more youthful and get the most of your brain.”

Click here to view the original source of the article

Of these methods on how to improve your focus and creativity, I could entirely relate to Margaret Moore’s suggestion to take brain breaks away from your computer.  She makes a point that you can often have your best ideas when you’re in the shower – this is so true.  It’s easy to reach a stalemate sat in front of your computer.  If you read the full article you’d have understood the importance of reducing stress, getting enough sleep, not multitasking and feeding your brain with the right types of food in improving your focus and creativity.  She also mentioned how exercise is essential as it helps your prefrontal cortex to grow as well as reduces stress.  As you may know by now (as a regular on this site), the hippocampus is largely responsible for memory and exercise is essential in maintaining a healthy hippocampus.

The point about remaining cognitively flexible was very interesting as was her reference to mental rigidity.  I can completely identify with that as I have parents! I’ll be having words.


Feeling The Flow To Focus

According to Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi, author of Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Performance, we need to use both sides of our brain in order to be feeling the flow to focus.  This article written by John M. Eger for the Huffington Post cites various brilliant minds including Steve Jobs (once again) and how we need to think differently in the new economy.

Feeling The Flow To Focus

Author and educator Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi describes getting both sides of the brain to work together as “flow… a mental state of operation in which a person in an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity.”

Drawing on both the right and the left logical side is more difficult in large part because we have not used the right side much. Most education aims at nurturing the left side so after a time the right side kind of atrophies.

Betty Edwards, author of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain advocates, “suppressing” the left side of the brain in favor of the right side. As Tony Schwartz, author of The Art of the Mind describes the process: “It focuses on disregarding preconceived notions of what the drawn object should look like, and on individually ‘seeing’ edges or lines, spaces, relationships, and lights and shadows, later combining them and seeing them as a whole, or gestalt.”

Which side of your brain are you using? Has anyone asked you that question before? Are you already using both sides of your brain, thus feeling the flow to focus? I love the citation of the campaign launched by Steve Jobs for Apple called ‘Think Different':

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.

Click here to view the original source of the post

And finally, John M Eger mentions Sir Ken Robinson as the creativity expert.  Here’s a 20 minute clip by Sir Ken Robinson on How Schools Kill Creativity, which I highly recommend you watch:

Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?