Some people are extremely creative and productive. They're prolific writers, painters and musicians; they're visionary designers, architects and speakers. It's as though they experience no obstacles to producing a constant flow of high-quality work. Many of us wonder, "How do they do it?"
The answer lies in a few simple principles. Some people are just lucky and their productivity comes naturally. The rest of us can learn their secrets and discover, for ourselves, that amazing state of flow.
Here's my list of the seventeen ways to become insanely creative and productive:
1: Silence the negative self-talk. If there's a voice in your head telling you that you shouldn't, can't or don't deserve to pursue your goals, ignore it. This voice never tells the truth and its only function is to thwart you, so don't buy in to it. Reject the lies and keep moving forward.
2: Avoid distractions. It can be tempting to get caught up in time-wasting activities, like TV, the internet, video games. If you want to accomplish your goals, you have to minimize the time you spend in these activities. Otherwise, you'll never get anywhere. The same goes for the people who waste your time with their drama and nonsense. Limit your time with them, or better yet, cut them out of your life.
3: Set yourself up for success. Make it easy to get things done. Find a place to work in that's optimal for your creative process, prioritize the time to do your work, make sure that your friends and family respect your process, and focus, focus, focus.
4: Ignore other people's opinions. Let go of your attachment to external judgments. It really doesn't matter what other people think. In fact, a true visionary - Prince, for example- ignores the prevailing trends and just does their own thing. The most productive people cultivate an attitude of "Who cares what other people think?"
5: Be yourself. Along those same lines, let yourself be as weird as you really are. True artists are by nature, strange: they see the world through a different lens, and their commentary on it is uniquely their own. Let go of the rules and speak your truth. Being authentic will free up all your creative energy.
6: Play. When creativity becomes your way of playing in the world, you're opened up to infinite inspiration. There's a lightness to play, a lack of self-consciousness and a reluctance to take yourself too seriously, all of which greatly facilitate your creative process.
7: Dream. We need to avoid the time-wasters, but that's not to say we shouldn't spend time day-dreaming, or paying attention to our night-time dreams. Spending time dreaming allows our imagination to run wild, and in that state, amazing ideas and inspiration will arise.
8: Believe in yourself. No matter what anyone else says, you must trust your vision and believe in your abilities. Whatever difficulties you encounter, you shouldn't waver in your conviction that you're the person who's meant to do this work. Successful people have the attitude, "Why not me?"
9: Surrender to your passion. The burning desire to create and the love of what you do are what should propel your actions. If your passion lies dormant within you, go and find it and let it fill you up. Then, nothing will be able to interfere with your productivity.
10: Cultivate self-compassion. You're human, so you're going to make mistakes and sometimes you'll fall short. When you mess up, you'll need to forgive yourself. Self-compassion will enable you to keep moving forward, and to identify solutions to the problems you've created.
11: Develop patience. Our society promotes instant gratification, but good art takes time. It requires patience to allow the process to unfold. Sometimes you'll need to take a step back and allow your work to speak to you; to tell you what you have to do next. This will never happen if you rush things.
12: Practice. "Practice makes perfect" is a myth because perfection doesn't exist, but practice will enable you to continually improve. If you want to get better at anything, all you have to do is keep doing it, and you can't help but improve.
13: Pursue mastery. Practice will help you improve, but if you want to become brilliant at something, you have to push yourself beyond the limits of your abilities. Mastery is gained through actively seeking challenges; by always biting off a bit more than you can chew. This will raise you up to the next level in a way that simple repetition never will.
14: Embrace self-discipline. In our hedonistic society, we value self-indulgence, but the secret to great accomplishment is self-discipline. When you sacrifice the pleasures or comfort of the moment to focus intently on your goal, you become empowered to achieve the success you deserve.
15: Find the joy. Being creative can be extremely challenging; that's why not everyone is willing to take it on. If you persevere, eventually you will get to the point where it becomes enjoyable. This might take a while, but it'll happen. Once you find the joy, it will never leave you, and no matter how challenging the work is, from that point on, it'll always bring you joy.
16: Be ruthless. If you want to be massively creative and productive, you'll need to be ruthless for the sake of your art. You'll have to make some sacrifices, and you'll have to eliminate whatever person, activity or attitude is in the way of you reaching your creative goals.
17: Don't be afraid to fail. Sometimes we don't pursue an idea because it seems ridiculous, or because we're sure we'll fail. But sometimes, when we take crazy risks for our art, we'll be rewarded one-hundred-fold.
The reason that everyone isn't super-creative and super-productive is that these things require the right attitude and the right kind of effort. If you're willing to do what it takes, you'll be able to accomplish amazing things. Read the above list carefully; if you want to be this person, it's well within your grasp.
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