How to Be Creative in More Areas of Your Life
In the previous lesson, you learned how to discover the action to take to change any bad habit. In this lesson, you’ll discover how to apply what you’ve learned to additional aspects of your life and gain confidence as you see the beneficial results.
Many people use creativity tools and techniques for their work, but it doesn’t occur to them that these powerful tools can enrich the other parts of their lives too. Let’s look at a couple examples.
Be creative in your relationships. If you’d like to improve your relationship with your teenager, you can ask the same questions you’d consider if you wanted to improve a product:
• Can it be bigger? (Can you spend more time together?)
• Can it be smaller? (Are you interfering too much in their life?)
• Can you add features? (Are there activities both of you would enjoy that you’re not doing?)
• Can it be a different shape? (Can you try family meetings if one-to-one is not working?)
Be creative in improving your fitness. If you’ve tried and failed to exercise on a regular basis, try imagining teaching someone how to do that. What are all the ways you’ve become skilled at not exercising? These might include:
• Sign a contract with a gym and then discover you don’t really like it.
• Set unrealistic goals so when you don’t make big progress right away, you can conclude there’s no point in continuing.
• Plan to exercise on the three days a week you most feel like it, so you can leave it until there are only three days left that week, and then not going because other things come up that are more urgent
When you have your list, you can come up with alternatives to each of your current behaviors:
• Use the free trials that most gyms offer, and sample several of them before signing any contracts.
• Set small, achievable goals, and reward yourself when you reach each one.
• Choose the same three days on which you’ll exercise, build those sessions into your calendar, and treat them as important as any meetings or other scheduled events.
Be creative in dealing with conflicts. Let’s say you have a minor car accident and the other driver starts shouting at you, to the point where you worry it could turn into road rage. A perfect opportunity to use The Opposite Technique!
The usual approach would be to defend yourself, to yell at him the same way he’s yelling at you. The opposite would be to yell at yourself. If he shouts, “You’re a [very bad person]!”, you shout even louder, “I know! I’m a moron! Everybody says so! I’m useless!”
Pretty soon, your response will confuse him enough that he’ll snap out of his rage. This method was actually used by a psychotherapist friend of mine.
Be creative about your finances. Maybe the issue is that you run out of money before you run out of month. The obvious solution would be to spend less, but you don’t like that idea.
The opposite would be to spend more. How could that be practical? Well, maybe you could save money by buying certain items in bulk when they’re on sale. Or, perhaps rather than focusing on buying, you could think about the opposite: selling. Could you raise money by selling items you no longer use?
Over the next few days and weeks, whenever you encounter any kind of challenge in your life, like getting yourself to exercise more, motivating your children to do their chores, or coming up with a clever decoration for the holidays, treat it as a creative challenge. Consider which of the tools you’ve learned in this course might be the most useful, and apply it. If one solution doesn’t work, brainstorm some more, maybe with a different tool, and try another one. Keep going until you’ve solved the problem.
In the next and final lesson, we’ll look at how you can make sure to keep your creativity alive every day.
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