Nurturing Creative Genius: 5 Simple Steps

Nurturing Creative Genius: 5 Simple Steps

Nurturing Creative Genius

Genius Leads Success

For decades, the economy has been shifting away from manufacturing and industry. Now, knowledge drives economic growth. The most successful entrepreneurs in recent years are known for their creative genius. Consider Steve Jobs, of Apple. Bill Gates, of Microsoft. Mark Zuckerberg, of Facebook. Warren Buffett, uber-investor of Berkshire-Hathaway. Elon Musk, of Space X and Tesla. Richard Branson, of Virgin. Even JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter “empire.” Many more names come to mind.

Schools have their hands full already. Bringing the kinds of learning necessary for students to thrive, creatively, in this knowledge-based economy? That’s a challenge in times of lean budgets. In fact, too often, “creative” programs are considered fluffy. When push comes to shove, funding is cut.

In stark contrast, many successful people became successful because of their creativity, not inspite of it. Their success came from…what they didn’t know. Their creative impulse drove them to try something. Something new. Something different. Something never done before.

Genius, Interviewed

Recently, my daughter and I were interviewed on our local NBC affiliate, on this subject. We had a delightful time. Over the past 3 years we observed something. Jessica grew more interested in writing fiction, as she has observed me writing fiction. Accidentally, we then tripped into the next 4 steps in nurturing her creative genius. Soon, she’ll have her inaugural fantasy novel published! This exciting event in her life prompted the interview. Feel free to watch, if you’d like. It’s just 3.5 minutes long. [Note: click on the little CC button in the lower right of the screen if you don’t need closed-captioning]

5 Steps to Nurture Creative Genius

As supportive adults in the lives of kids—youth ministers, volunteers, clergy, counselors, parents & grandparents—we can impact how deeply and how far kids engage their creativity. Big challenges face the world young people will inherit. Nurturing a habit of creativity will enhance not just the lives of those creatives but those they influence.

These steps might seem simple or obvious. But consider what impact greater intentionality would bring.

  1. Observe:

    Notice the things that interest the kids you influence. It could be reading, writing, drama, music, poetry, design, building things. Just make mental notes of what gets them excited and engaged. These interests might fall under the simpler heading, “Hobbies.” But not all hobbies have the element of creation around them.

  2. Search:

    Find avenues for them to pursue their interest. Is there an inexpensive way to try it out? A a club to join? Not all creative interests will stick, so you won’t want to go all-in right away supporting Junior’s creative jag. Remain observant, because the newer creative interest may build of the earlier one. That may indicate a creative trend.

  3. Encourage:

    Provide simple ways for your kids to try out new things. And more new things. The idea is to nurture a spirit of creative exploration.

  4. Nudge:

    Sometimes kids get distracted by the newest “shiny object” so a little guidance back to the core interest might help. In a world full of iThis and iThat and millions of apps to amuse and distract, your work is cut out for you. If all else fails, maybe their creative energy can be aimed at developing a new app!

  5. Celebrate!

    Always take time to celebrate and recognize kid’s achievements along the way. This should be a fun process, not an end goal. Have fun nurturing creative genius. And make sure the genius has fun, too!

What do you think? Is creativity essential? Or over-rated? Do you think the economy has really changed? Or not so much? Make your case.

Engage here. Lob your comments into the discussion panel below. Curious about the books Joel has written? Click here for the books in our store.

photo credit: Capture Queen ™ via photopin cc

Money & Fear: 5 Steps To Emotional Recovery (Part 2)

Money & Fear: 5 Steps To Emotional Recovery (Part 2)

~Joel’s Blog

Fear Of Debt? Crawl Before You Walk

It’s simple enough and requires no math skill. Spend more money than you make. You go into debt.

That was true for us, as we revealed in part one of this series. In retrospect, there really was no way to avoid that unpleasant money outcome, given our meager income versus the cost-of-living challenges we faced. Consequently, as soon as we could we sought out greater income opportunities. Things got better.

As we saw last time, having loads of money doesn’t mean you will feel secure. Kara and Ron taught me that, as a financial planner.

Many people around the world, especially in America, had been living very high until the Great Recession hit. Things were pretty good. Money was moving easily. Account values and home prices were rising quickly. The expectation of that continuing may have actually set us up for the crash.

Life is what happens after you make plans.

But that assumes that there was a plan. Many people, around 2007, didn’t have any plan. They were winging it. Things felt good. And making a plan felt like work. Even unnecessary. They found out the hard way that not having a plan feels terrible and creates much more work, headaches, and heartache.

5 Steps to Emotional Recovery

So, what does it mean and how do you “prepare for rain” in your life? Prepare For Rain is a place where people get “unstuck,” start growing again, and renew their dreams and passions. To do that, you must take these five key steps:

  1. Recognize that you need “rain” in your life. Because of the Great Recession, that’s not so hard these days. Of course, we’re not talking about physical rain. Too many people are stuck in the mindset and expectation of scarcity, rather than abundance, even with money. “Rain” here means renewal, restoration, maybe even rebirth.
  2. Honestly reflect on where you are right now. Is your work satisfying to you? Sure, it’s important to have income, but are you trading your time for too little money? Is there something else you could do to supplement your income? A part-time job? Better yet, a home-based business that involves something you love…something you are gifted at?
  3. Get serious Money & Fear: 5 Steps To Emotional Recoveryabout your debt/income ratio. I’m all in favor of not having debt. But I don’t advocate people get out of debt as fast as they can—as many financial experts do. Don’t get me wrong. I am totally on board with the concept and the goal of becoming debt-free. The problem isn’t with the concept. It’s with people’s money habits. Many behaviors need to change, simultaneously, to achieve a “no-debt” status. Debt isn’t evil. It makes economies run and allows companies to expand, which includes hiring more people. The critical issue is how expensive is the debt: how much does it actually cost to buy the money. As an advisor—and then a leader of advisors—I saw many people work very hard at paying off their debt, using every spare dollar to do so. Often, I was advising and helping them to do so. While their goal was admirable, when life threw them a curve some stopped trying. Because every dollar had gone to debt-reduction, no money went to savings [not what I recommended]. So, what happened when life threw them a curve? They went back into debt to deal with the challenge. For some, this became a rinse & repeat cycle. They felt defeated. Therefore, I advocate that you continue building a savings account even while paying down the debt because it’s proactive and responsible.
  4. Re-engage your dreams. Chances are high that you put them on a shelf some time ago. Maybe a very long time ago. Why? Because you needed to work? OK, but why does it have to be one or the other? If you’ve always wanted to be a writer, then write. Get up a little earlier every day for a month…and write. See how you feel a month from now! You’ll feel awesome. Maybe you’ll have something to publish. Same thing for painting, music, poetry, whatever. It’s your dream. No one else can bring it to life besides you.
  5. Give back. Our perspective about things gets very skewed when we’re in our own little bubble. Volunteer somewhere. Lots of organizations need help, so find one that engages your passions.

Engage here. Does any of this resonate with you? Someone you care about? Have you downloaded our free guide yet?

photo credit: Alan Cleaver via photopin cc

When It Comes To ADHD, Humor Is Serious Business

When It Comes To ADHD, Humor Is Serious Business

ADHD Meets Humor

~Janet’s Blog

Life, Meet Humor.

Humor? Struggling with ADHD can be very serious business. For a period of time I believed that I had ADHD. However, years later I discovered that instead I have Celiac Disease. It turns out that undiscovered Celiac Disease can, due to the lack of nutrition, give you the symptoms of ADHD. Now that I am eating correctly and absorbing the nutrients I need again, my symptoms have subsided.

Boy it was tough before I found out though. I thought I was losing my mind! Misplacing multiple things a day, losing track of time, fighting off feelings of depression, and anxiety attacks. All these things made it very difficult for me to just function. I became an impatient mom and a very reactive wife. Life was difficult and serious.

Thank goodness I had help discovering that humor and laughing can help the situation.

On my 2nd CD I wrote a couple songs of humor about ADHD. I did so not to make fun of it, because it’s not funny, but to use humor as a survival tool. When I discovered these songs helped me smile, I realized that they could help others too!

These songs were written to help people with ADHD or those people who live with someone who has it. Help? How in the world could a song help? Well, humor is a great coping mechanism. Life can start feeling pretty darn serious when you misplace important documents, or your car keys, when time is of the essence. Anxiety starts to build and you begin to question yourself, your intelligence, and your trustworthiness. That is not a good feeling. The more you start to doubt yourself the more distracted you become which causes you to actually misplace even more things. It just becomes a downward spiral!

I wrote these songs to help you and me take a deep breath, shake it off, and pull ourselves off the floor of frustration. Humor can do that, and who doesn’t want some humor?

Now whether you have ADHD or any other chronic health issues that takes its toll and makes daily life a bit challenging, a good laugh can positively impact your day. Chemicals in your brain release serotonin when we laugh. In addition to feeling better, serotonin helps you think clearer. When we relax we can remember things we couldn’t or problem solve something we thought was impossible. We can become patient and persistent longer.

When we get upset it actually hinders our ability to think logically and instead we react which often makes the situation we are in worse. So stop, take a step away from the situation, listen to a silly tune and then try again.

Humor, Meet Life

I use the songs to help me stay lighthearted when I am feeling a bit overwhelmed with life. Otherwise I just can easily get depressed. Going down the path of depression is no laughing matter and you want to nip it in the bud ASAP. Depression blinds us from all that is good about ourselves. We end up feeling small, insecure, and out of control.  Sometimes it can come out in forms of anger that attack or are passive aggressive. Other times it can come out as neglect towards those you love most.

Reach for the light, the light of humor and you can become a light for others!

Be gracious with yourself and those you love through laughter!

Add to the conversation. We’ll be glad you did!

photo credit: Kris Kesiak Photography via photopin

 

Attitude Is Everything

Attitude Is Everything

Attitude Is Everything

Attitude…

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get downright discouraged about stuff.  I work really hard and things just don’t always go the way I had hoped.   There are times that I think for all the effort I have put in it should work but life doesn’t hand out A’s for effort. (Bummer huh?)  Can you relate?

However, I have observed in myself and others that our attitude towards everything we put effort into does matter!  I love watching the Olympics and seeing people giving everything they’ve got.  But what I really love are the stories behind the athlete.  It’s not the winners that grab my attention.  My heartstrings are tugged when I know the challenges a person overcame just to get to participate in the Olympics.  It’s their attitude that ultimately got them to where they are.  A person can be awesome at something but when things don’t go just their way, take on a sour attitude, and actually sabotage their own dreams.

Is Everything

Now I don’t know about you but I can get pretty stuck sometimes emotionally.  I get a picture in my head and that is what I want to accomplish, period!  When things don’t go as I plan, like anyone, I have a choice to make, either get ticked or step back and get creative.  This, of course, is easier said than done.  Sometimes I get really passionate about stuff.  But being a donkey’s behind doesn’t get me anywhere!   I have to talk myself out of feeling like I have every right to have a big old pitty party highlighted with lovely outbursts of frustration and a few colorful words.

Being a songwriter I have found that writing a song about life’s speed bumps is a great way to go!  A few years ago I wrote a song called, The Construction Man Blues, because there was so much construction going on that I couldn’t start recording my third CD.  It’s one of my favorites!

A few months later I was on my way to a gig, when my iPhone map-app sent me to a construction site instead of the Coffee Studio.  I was honked off at first and figured it wouldn’t be worth writing because it would be a bit too colorful to share (ahem, unhelpful attitude).  But then I figured out it could be a fun topic and I got creative (better attitude).

Ironically, the delay of recording my 3rd CD has allowed me the time and the life experiences I needed to be able to write several new songs. These news songs I think are some of my best material yet! The CD is going to have a nice mix of folk and blues when it is done. These are my two favorite styles.

Remember, attitude is everything.  It can move you forward or drag you down.  It’s solely up to you!

What moments in your life have required you to shift your attitude?

Add to the conversation (below)! We’ll be glad you did.

photo credit: a.otge via photopin cc

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