It's a talent that everyone has, yet they think they don't. The power of innovation. If you've ever marvelled at somebody's creative prowess, guess what, you can create and innovate too. It just takes time. Everyone is born creative. The box of crayons in kindergarten were not limited to those who possessed potential; because the truth is, everybody has potential.
You know how long it took to learn to ride a bike or drive or to never commit the same mistake again? It's the same with innovation. It takes a bit of practice and a lot of time before this mind function comes easily when called. This article will teach you a few tips on how to bring innovation into your life.
1. Don't listen to what other people say. Follow the beat of your own drum. Allowing for the input of other people will only bring cacophony to the music you are trying to make. If you have an original idea, don't waste your time and effort trying to make people understand. They won't. And the help you will probably get comes in the form of negative feedback. If all those geniuses listened to their peers, we would probably still be living in the middle ages.
2. Spend time on it. I cannot stress that enough, although, please do not mistake this tip to tell you to quit your day job entirely. Do not. This involves some tricky time management but with a little discipline you'll be able to squeeze both in.
3. Exercise. Take a walk. Run a mile or two. Send all those endorphins coursing through your veins. Exercising certainly clears and relaxes your mind and allows for anything to pop up.
4. Record your dreams. Aren't some of them just the craziest things that your conscious mind would never have thought of? If you've had these dreams before, and I'm sure have, this only shows you the untapped innovative power you have lying within. So jot down those notes. Those dreams may just create an innovative spark in you.
5. Find your own style. You can always tell a Van Gogh from a Matisse. You'll know Hemingway wrote something by the choice of words on the paper. So it is the same with you. People will appreciate your innovation more because it is uniquely yours and that no one else would have thought of what you were thinking. That will let people see how valuable an asset you are.
6. Don't hide behind nifty gadgets or tools. You don't need the most expensive set of paints to produce a masterpiece. The same way with writing. You don't need some expensive fountain pen and really smooth paper for a bestseller. In fact, J.K. Rowling wrote the first book of the Harry Potter Series on bits of tissue. So what if you've got an expensive SLR camera if you're a crappy photographer? Who cares if you've got a blinging laptop if you can't write at all? The artist actually reduces the number of tools he has as he gets better at his craft: he knows what works and what doesn't.
7. Nothing will work without passion. What wakes you up in the mornings? What keeps the flame burning? What is the one thing that you'll die if you don't do? Sometimes people with talent are overtaken by the people who want it more. Think the hare and the tortoise. Ellen Degeneres once said that if you're not doing something that you want to do, then you don't really want to do it. And that's true. Sometimes you just want something so bad you become a virtual unstoppable. And that is passion. Passion will keep you going.
8. Don't worry about inspiration. You can't force it; inspiration hits when you least expect it to, for those unpredictable yet inevitable moments you should prepare. An idea could strike you on the subway, yet alas, you poor unfortunate soul; you have no sheet of paper to scribble down a thought that could change the world. Avoid these disasters. Have a pen and paper within your arm's reach at all times.
I hope this article has helped you bring more innovation into your life. Keep in mind that you're doing these things for your own satisfaction and not anybody else's. But soon enough they will notice, and everything should snowball from there.
I studied Capoeira for some time and before and after every class we would repeat in unison, this phrase in Portuguese:
"Cada dia que pasa, estou melhor em tudo que faso."
It translates to: "Each day that passes, I am improving everything that I do."
So simply put that it leaves no more to be said. In every facet of your life, if you live by this mantra, you have no option but to succeed. It doesn't matter who you are, what your goals are or where you are in life. If you are alive, you have daily actions that you do to survive, and if you strive to do them better, you will be improving who you are in increments that are perfectly suitable and attainable by you. Whether you are a gymnast, a pirate, a bingo caller, a business owner or a rockstar, this phrase is relevant to you and you can immediately apply it to improve your life and improve your health.
How are you sitting right now? Is your posture correct?
How much time have you spent in front of the computer today? Too much?
What is your typing speed? Think you can make it faster?
Who was the last person you hurt? What it necessary or could you have used a better tactic?
What did you do for your health yesterday? Have you done it better today?
These are just a few of the questions you can apply to your actions to push you toward becoming the best human being you can be. I've mentioned "being all you can be" several times in this blog, and I've never served in the Army, but I believe that the fact that we're here on Earth is an amazing gift and we should all be making the best of it. Fundamentally speaking, if we want to make the best of our lives, we should first be the best person we can be.
Another interesting benefit of applying this mantra to your daily life is the fact that in order to successfully apply it, we first have to be AWARE. We need an awareness of our personal limits and we need to fundamentally understand what it will take to improve those limits.
Everyday, I try to workout a little bit harder than I did the day before, give more of myself, learn something new that I can apply to my life goals, or understand a new concept or strategy relevent to my current project.
What will be the next step to improving your daily life?
Man has come a long, long, long way over the process of evolution and development of our kind. From communication to simple tools to building large structures, creating and adhering to political infrastructure, creating currency, creating and supporting new businesses, venturing into outerspace, etc etc… Through all of this, it would be pleasing to think that mankind, by nature, has “good” intentions overall with respect to life and the universe on a broad scope. What that means exactly, I’m not sure, but I’m fairly certain that it’s false.
Over the course of evolution in any species, beings tend toward actions and behavior that best contributes to their individual survival or the survival of their family, loved ones or species. Currently, the speed of our technological development (otherwise known as “physical impact and modification to life and the universe”) is increasing very rapidly. Currently we are at a very volatile juncture in our development. We are at the “knee” in the curve, or the turning point where population, technology, knowledge and impact will be increasing far more rapidly than ever before. If we can see the errors of our ways and look beyond our own personal prosperity and look beyond the prosperity of our species, we will be able to identify a better way to live life that is less impactful to the universe and will make us a stronger more intelligent species in the long run.
Developments have been made over the millennia that, if gone unchecked, could mean the downfall or worse yet, the corruption or our species. Below, I’ve listed some of these developments and ways that you can address them in your life in order to take control of your part of the universe and the development of your offspring.
- Blind faith in technology. Don’t use or support a product until you know everything about what it does and how it works. This includes how it was made, who will be impacted by its use, who was impacted by its development and construction, negative impacts to yourself when using the product.
- Reliance on others. Due diligence means finding your own solutions to problems and personally making sure that all of the details have been covered in a manner that is satisfactory. Relying on others’ choices, products, opinions means that you have made the assumption that you agree with all of their beliefs.
- Question everything.
- Find your own answers to every question. Don’t be satisfied with an answer you’ve been given even from a trustworthy source.
- Write down the elements of humanity that are important to you. Writing them will solidify them in your mind and they will emerge in your actions.
- Keep yourself physically and mentally healthy in order to be able to make clear decisions and also be able to act on them.
- Acknowledge a major personal flaw. There's got to be ONE! Personality traits, over-eating, violence, lying, cheating, sub-optimal performance, etc... Acknowledging a flaw is an absolutely critical step to take in fixing it. Once you have acknowledged it, you will find it immensely easier to make realizations on how to fix it.
- Never take anything for granted.
- Whatever you do, act as if the whole world was watching.
- Always aim for improvement
- Double check all actions against your ethical beliefs. You may be in the habit of doing something that is contrary to your ethics, and not even realize it. Double check your every move and you'll most likely find things about you or your actions that you would just as soon change.
Life is an incredible platform for existence. Every day we meander through our lives at slower or faster paces performing hundreds, even thousands, of tasks that are completely second nature to us and require no conscious thought. This is an incredible capacity and should be wholly appreciated.
People who teach meditation and life improving techniques often discuss awareness. Practitioners are encouraged to meditate on their breathing, their sitting, their walking, their immediate physical surroundings, etc. These awareness meditations can have a profound mental, physical and spiritual effect on a practitioner. However, it can be difficult to comprehend the intention of these exercises. It’s a foreign, ambiguous concept for most people to “be fully aware” and I think it is often misunderstood or misconstrued.
Reduce the learned simplicity of tasks
Here’s a different method to raise your awareness in a more physical, understandable way. Take for example talking on the phone, flipping a light switch, handing someone money, drinking tea, using utensils… etc. These are tasks that you’re probably not very well aware of because you learned to do them at such a young age and have become complacent in doing them.
Today try performing all of these simple tasks with your left hand. Performing these tasks with the left hand will bring you back to the time of your youth when you were still learning coordination and everything was a new experience. Things like dialing the phone, eating, and using a computer mouse took more concentration on the task at hand and, therefore, gave you more awareness of what you were doing. Try this and let me know how it feels!
In ancient China, Shaolin monks developed a fighting style based on the physical characteristics and iconic elements of the personality of the Tiger. They called this Tiger style Kung-Fu. Since a Tiger has very keen eyesight, the monks developed methods of exercising their eyes to improve thier eyesight. These would have been exercises that they trained and developed from a very young age. They would have been performed by eveyone training in the Tiger style regardless of whether they had so-called "20/20 vision". No matter how good you are at something, you can aways become better with more training.
I have been recently practicing the following exercises and have noticed an improvement in my eyesight over just the past couple months.
One exercise was to count the leaves on a far away tree. With meditative patience they would focus in and count hundreds of leaves at a time. (This is a good one to practice in the fall since the leaves are changing colors and you may be staring at leaves quite a bit anyway.) Start up close with some leaves that are easy to make out and count 50 of them. With patience, slowly pick trees that are farther away from you and then slowly increase the number of leaves you count. Work your way up to 200 which will give you a good amount of time with your eyes focused at a distance. Do this once daily.
Another exercise is to focus on an object very close to your face. I usually choose my hand. Get it as close to your eyes as you can while retaining a good focus on it. Look at it for about 2-3 seconds after you've fully adjusted your focus on it, and then pick another object that is more than 20 feet away. I generally pick a leaf on a tree or something else that has some fine detail that will allow me to really focus on finer and finer detail. If you pick a flatt wall or something that doesn't have much texture or detail it will be hard to focus on. Again, look at the object for 2-3 seconds after you have achieved a good focus. Go back and forth between these two objects about 20 times and do this exercise daily.
Reference previous post: The Pain is Only What you Make It - Mind over Matter
With every impact, blood seeped out of my aching knuckles as I struck the wall-mounted training pad over …and over …and over again. Right, left, right left, right, left… My senior instructor, in his naturally menacing manner bellowed, “Punch harder!! I better feel the building shake! The pain is only what you make it.” as he walked out of the dojo and went upstairs to eat his lunch…
There were two of us testing for our black belts that day and we both took a healthy breath, focused in a little closer to our targets …and we punched harder. As our fists throbbed and knuckles stung, his words resounded in ears, and we persevered. My mind sunk into contemplation and became detached from my current situation. After many years of martial arts training, I knew the capabilities of my body, and I knew how it would react to certain types of damage. “They’re only knuckles. They’ll lose their skin and bleed. Since I’m human I know they’ll heal.”
“If the pain is only what I make it, then the fact that I’m stuck in this situation is unimportant.”
Physical pain is only a response to outside stimuli, and it tells a brain that there may be damage occurring at a certain location on the body. Essentially, it’s an electrical memo sent from your nerve endings to your brain and can be thought of as merely a form of communication. Well, if you are already aware of what is happening with your body, then you have no reason to read the memo. You have the option to disregard the memo in order to more effectively get your task done. Of course, the same philosophy can be applied to more than just the physical sort of pain or suffering.
“I know that I am in pain now, but I know that some time in the future I will no longer be in pain.”
Knowing that pain is temporary is also helpful. When you begin to realize that the climate of life is always changing, then you will always be prepared to embrace the approaching climate, be it painful or joyful. If this is the case, what difference does it make that there is pain now?
Image by KayVee.INC via Flickr
One-hour meditation too much to handle? 20 minutes? 5 minutes got you beat? Here's a new approach to meditation with one very westernized quality about it. It's very fast.
This method is less focused on meditation, but more about trying to sit peacefully and achieve a brief moment of clarity, or clarity of presence. This way of thinking comes from Zen philosophy. The idea here is to create an instantaneous state of mind, or state of being wherein your awareness or understanding of your immediate surroundings or situation is increased. Try not to exert effort when attempting this. It will inevitably lead to failure and regret. Failure to do something that you didn’t “try” to do, is not really a failure. If you want it to be a sunny day and it turns out rainy, you did not fail. If it rains, it rains; if it’s sunny, it’s sunny.
Hints to help you achieve a moment of clarity:
- Focus on your heartbeat until you can feel it pushing the blood throughout all of your arteries.
- Create a phrase or sentence that describes what it feels like to be alive.
- Look at your hand and try to understand that no matter what happens in this life, all that's sure is that you will have this body.
- Picture yourself from a bird's eye view. Visualize whatever you're doing at the moment and zoom out little by little to picture the room, building, trees, street, town, state, country, continent, planet, galaxy, and all of the cosmos.
- Imagine you have just been born and are seeing all of the things around you for the first time.
- Do not concentrate, just pay attention.
- Do something you absolutely love doing. Something that engages your mind and body 100%.
- Rise to a challenge that is slightly more than you think you are capable of.
- Breathe silently and listen to the other sounds your body may be making.
- Focus on your skin until it begins to tingle.
Have a nice day!
I woke up this morning and the words "Inspiration Age" were ringing in my head. Not sure why, but when I got to thinking about it, akin to the industrial revolution of the 18th & 19th centuries or the Space Age which began in the 50's, it does stand to reason that the first part of the 2000's will forever be remembered as the "Inspiration Age".
Our world is on an extremely fast and volatile evolutionary path, and wherever we end up 50 years from now, what we do TODAY will have been the inspiration that crafted it.
In this article I've listed what I believe to be the major contributors to today's inspiration.
Of course today's buzzword is "Green". This is getting engineers optimizing existing products and creating new technologies across the board as well as take a closer look at the entire Earth, its processes and their interrelations as a system. But this inspiration is not just limited to engineers, everyone conscientious enough is taking a fresh look at their daily life and coming up with new ways to optimize it that would have less of an environmental impact.
Budding New Technologies
So many technologies are in their infancy right now and there is much more research and learning being done than actual development or commercialization in the fields of cloning, consumer space flight, nano-technology, thought controlled devices and many more.
Revolutions in personal communication devices present an interesting topic for inspiration as well. New developments in everyday devices are revolutionizing how we go about our lives. What this means to me is the combination of all of our cool new gadgets into one tiny little device: Phone, Camera, PDA, Music player, and any other form of communication available “out there”. This has been on the horizon and greatly anticipated ever since cell phones started taking pictures and on the forefront of this effort is the iPhone which has been the first to really nail this. (it sounds to me like everything else pales in comparison – sorry Blackberry users). All of you people (myself included) who have been expecting this product for some time now, have provided a great deal of inspiration and motivation for product development engineers. Thanks everyone! From all of us.
These devices allow creative minds to focus on creativity, drawing inspiration and creating inspiration rather than organization of thoughts or communication.
There seems to be a large presence of people out there who have become very interested in optimizing every facet of life. Relationships, chores, work, parenting, making money… or just day-to-day tasks - hence the creation of this blog. ☺ I think this is a fascinating concept and, like the convenient devices discussed above, the idea is that if you can optimize certain tasks so that you don’t need to spend as much doing them, you have more time to spend focusing on the more enjoyable things in life. Enjoyable things inherently offer more inspiration to people because you can generally allow yourself to contribute 100% of your focus to these things. If you are attempting to enjoy something against your natural instinct you most likely won’t allow yourself to be completely immersed in it.
Another benefit to "life hacking" is that it offers an entirely new subject to scrutinize – The optimization of life itself. This is completely new and very creative in itself. It provides inspiration for the scrutinization of a vast number of other subjects that we currently take for granted or accept for what they are.
Otherwise known as the Net Generation, Generation Y, Echo Boomers, and iGeneration, Millenials are basically the generation following the baby boomers. Many business owners are afraid of Millennials because they are known to expect too much of the work place and they have the desire to shape their lives according to their own personal schedule and goals as opposed to committing to a life and goals dictated by a company's progress. I can understand why this would be frightening to an employer, unless of course the employer is, themselves, a part of the millennial generation or at least understands them.
This leads to an exciting evolution of all businesses adapting this millennial mindset and being able to happily accommodate a world that moves faster than ever. Daily market changes, trends and expectations will be accommodated much easier and with greater success.
Life is extremely tenacious, we’ve been reminded of this throughout 300 million years of evolution. When life struggles it pulls out the heavy artillery. When the going gets tough, the tough get going, if you will… In our current economic state there are a lot of business tactics that are being used to ensure a company’s success through this hazardous economic environment. There is creativity being used everywhere in business right now to build stronger practices and keep companies alive. This will undoubtedly contribute revelations on heartier methods to the western industrial world that can be used in the future that will better accommodate a more diverse economic environment.
A New Awakening
This is along the same lines as the life hackers and millennials. Overall, it seems like today's society is becoming more aware of the intricacies of daily life and is making "living happily" more of a priority. I recently read by Eckhart Tolle. It is an amazing book about the new spiritual revolution of today’s world. It coincides directly with the rise of eastern religion in the west and life hackers, and living happily. As stated above, when we are enjoying what we’re doing and living contently overall, it is easy to become completely immersed in all that we do. This then makes it easier to draw inspiration and create inspiration for all others. – Awakening to your Life’s Purpose
Sharing of Ideas
Digital mediums such as blogs, e-books, networks, social groups, etc, make sharing ideas and knowledge a snap. This is pretty simple, the more ideas, the more inspiration available.
Cheers, to the inspiration age! It's a lot of hard work that we've got to do now to create a better future for everyone.
What do you think? Is this possible? 50 years from now, what will you be calling today's years?
Read this article at MiniLifeHacks.com
The evolution and eventual civilization of human-kind is greatly attributed to the presence of communication between beings. As our communication techniques improve, we become more civilized and able to appropriately deal with various situations and hardships through many forms of communication. Besides the number of words in any given language, there are multitudes of gestures, sounds and expressions that help us to communicate without speaking. In order to have a successful society, and for people to work together, there must be good communication.
"The Pain is Only what you Make It"
I used that advice to my advantage that day and achieved a great victory that would reward me for the rest of my life.
Physical pain is an interesting phenomenon described by the International Association for the Study of Pain as:
"an unpleasant sensory and emotional association with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage"
Another widely used definition of pain from Margo McCaffery is:
"Pain is whatever the experiencing person says it is, existing whenever he says it does"
The thing I've learned about pain and the perception of it, is that the body, nervous system and brain overcompensate quite a bit with its warnings. In the first definition I've italicized 'potential' tissue damage. Even if the body is in no immediate danger of physical harm it still gives indications of pain to the brain as a warning. It's time we stop this tyrannical behavior of our own bodies and do our due diligence to learn exactly what they can handle and what they can't. The older we grow and the more we experience, the more pain we will naturally encounter and therefore, the more familiar we become with how our body reacts to different stimuli. That is, IF we are paying attention and learning as we go.
Self-observation and getting to know your limits and what you are capable of, I am convinced is of great importance to leading a happy healthy life. (See post: "Always Challenge Yourself") If you know the exact moment when this false alarm called "pain" will turn into actual physical harm, you should convince yourself that it is okay to dance on this line. For example, often times when lifting heavy awkward objects it can be uncomfortable for many people and the object may cause pain in your hands and fingers. But if you are aware that this amount of pain is safe and will cause no physical harm you can easily endure it and rest assured that you will be able to shake your hands out when you are done this task and there will be no harm done. Do you see how this realization can increase your physical strength? You are now permitting yourself to lift 15 extra pounds than your body and pain threshold would otherwise allow.
Furthermore, if you know the extent of physical harm that will be done by any given action, it may be acceptable to endure it depending on the task at hand. For example, you can probably commit to catching or breaking the fall of a falling dish if it means you may get some abrasions on your knuckles from the counter top, or a bruise from the falling dish. But you may not commit to that if it is not your dish, or if it is unimportant to you.
The more you learn about yourself and your body the more control you will have over what you do with it, and you are able to take the control away from your tyrannical bodily instincts.