6 game-changing tips to become prolific at what you do.

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1. Find something to get obsessed about

‘The most important thing is to find a certain aspect that you can really obsess about and lose time in.’ — Ian Spalter • 99u

Obsession is a more extreme version of ambition. …


Great ideas come from unlikely places. Be alert and present.

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‘Great ideas can come from the most unlikely places at the most unlikely of times.’

Randy Fisher • DeveloperTown

Great ideas come from moments of inspiration, but you can never predict when inspiration will strike. This is why some ideas come seemingly easy, and others seem to take blood, sweat and a ton of trial and error. The only way to ensure you’re able to create the conditions to generate great ideas is to be present and alert to inspiration, no matter how unlikely.

Even in the moments when you’re not ‘working’, you can still be receptive to great ideas. This doesn’t mean you’re consciously trying to solve a problem or ideate in your free time, it just means that you’re mainly allowing your subconscious to work on your behalf. Your brain acknowledges retrospectively when you’ve had a lightbulb moment.


Don’t overthink your ideas. Do little and often.

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‘The first rule of having good ideas: Don’t try to have good ideas. What’s important is just to have ideas.’

Neil Pavitt

During idea generation, it’s possible to get stung by the belief that we need to focus on producing ‘good’ ideas. The truth is, we don’t. Good ideas are few and far between. In fact, most good ideas evolve from bad ones, and a lot of good ideas happen by accident. Sometimes they come to us when we’re not even consciously trying. But just because we might think our idea is great, doesn’t mean others will. Ultimately though, ideas mean nothing unless we can actually execute and finish them.

The enemy of productivity is over-thinking, and over-thinking is the result of idea perfectionism. We can’t guarantee that our ideas will eventually become what our own measure of success is, so it’s a bit futile to over-think the future. The more time we spend throwing away ideas in pursuit of ‘good’ ones, the less we can actually accomplish in the long run. …


Work from the heart. Make the world a better place.

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Theodore Roosevelt once said that the best prize life has to offer is the chance to work hard—at work worth doing. Lives can be enriched by meaningful work, but what is creative work that’s worth doing? Even if you’re unique, and great at what you do, you have to ask yourself whether what you’re actually producing is meaningful.

I’m an advocate of unique, but originality isn’t worth the effort unless it has significance or a positive impact on people’s lives. …


Break your own rules. Be yourself. Have self-compassion.

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Ambitions are good for your career; they can push you creatively and productively, but relentlessly pursuing them through tunnel vision is dangerous. They rarely result in what you expect, and while you might find success and feel brief moments of accomplishment, the satisfaction is usually short-lived. Your ambition is just setting you up for another hill you have to climb, and another one after that. When you blindly obey your own ambitions, they can be a lofty and slippery slope.

‘The most important rules to break are your own.’

Niklas Goeke

Sometimes the pay-off is not worth the effort of your ambition. When you’re putting tons of effort into your goals, you expect to get some value out of it. A minimal value with a high level of ambition can be problematic without foreseeing high value in the long-term. Your ambition is capable of clouding your judgement to quit or change your approach. You have to break the routine. Break the cycle. Come to terms with the fact that your ambition is not in control of you, because nothing ever goes to plan. …


Use momentum when you’re at peak self-confidence.

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Self-confidence is the key to achieving almost anything. It’s the power of certainty within yourself that you can pull something off. Without that belief, you’ll find it difficult to live up to your potential. Self-confidence can do wonders for your personal growth, but it can also raise your level of motivation, productivity, and creativity.

This is probably no secret to you — you’ve been aware of the power of self-confidence since you were a child. In hindsight, maybe there were moments over the course of your life where you wish you had more of it. …


Get comfortable with uncertainty.

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Risk-taking is a normal part of the process

Without taking risks, original ideas wouldn’t be possible. It’s an obstacle that every creative needs to overcome if they are to create something new, but it always comes with exposure to the possibility of failure or mediocrity. Acknowledging the purpose of risk-taking in the creative process seems unorthodox, but should be accepted in order to create original work.

When a direction feels risky, it’s probably worth it. It’s a sign of the unconventional — the path that most would avoid. It might seem audacious or adventurous. You’re creating something that most would hesitate to do. …


Actions carry you further. Find purpose and urgency. Get feedback.

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‘Constant thinking will not take you far from the place you are now. Actions will.’

Max Lukominskyi • The Mission

You can think till the cows come home, but you’ll make no progress unless you start doing. Until you start translating your thoughts or ideas into actions, they’re worthless. The best thought out ideas are worth nothing unless executed.


Progress. Critics. Community. Long-term goals. Action inspires.

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‘Once you desire progress more than convenience, obstacles no longer stop but propel you.’

Benjamin P. Hardy • Inc

The truth about obstacles, setbacks, inconveniences, and whatever comes between you and your goals, is how they will immediately expose the doubts you might have about what you’re doing, and how you’re approaching it. Your commitment will be put to the test.

However, if your desire to advance is great enough, you’ll realize the inconveniences are mostly temporary and are part of what make you better. …


How to maximize creativity with just 3 daily habits.

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The human mind thrives on creativity. When you have a higher openness to cognitive flexibility and the ability to entertain novel ideas, you have a natural capacity to overcome stress—a symptom of anxiety that if sustained can have consequences on your mental health. In other words, the traits of creativity have the potential to give you a healthier, more fulfilling life.

Without openness, you are more likely to become drained, less inspired, and less motivated.

Creativity isn’t exclusive to people who appear to focus on it for a living—it’s for everyone, because we all participate at varying levels, even if only mentally. The following daily routines are by no means the only means to improve your mental health, but they can certainly cultivate the right conditions to allow your creativity to thrive. …

About

Xtian Miller

Design Lead @Vectorform

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