Think of it as a superpower for your creative muse

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Photo by Josh Hild on Unsplash

Imagine pursuing a wave of light, observing it while traveling at the same speed. From your unique perspective, it would appear to be stationary. How would it behave? What qualities would it have? The insights gained from this daydream helped Albert Einstein to develop his theory of relativity.

This vivid mental exercise is the most famous example of a thought experiment. It’s been used by some of the most brilliant minds in history to make some of their biggest breakthroughs.

It’s also one that you can leverage to develop elegant…


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Photo by Marina Khrapova on Unsplash

These rare events can change your life. Are you ready to take advantage of them?

Like a meteor that flashes and fades in the summer sky, transformational opportunities appear only a few times in our lives. They emerge without warning and tend to vanish just as quickly and mysteriously.

Eric Anderson, who kick-started the space tourism industry in 2001 by sending the first private citizen to the International Space Station aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket, calls these unique events “windows of opportunity.” He defines them as “a rare set of circumstances and a brief moment in which an otherwise impossible outcome is potentially achievable.”

Most of the time, we habitually fail to recognize transformational opportunities…


Here are 10 powerful reasons why:

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Photo by Brian McGowan on Unsplash

Today’s smartphones are incredible tools for consuming information, any time, anywhere. But did you know that they’re also the ultimate creativity tool?

I’m convinced it’s true! I’ve studied, used and written about brainstorming and creative thinking tools for over 20 years. I’ve concluded that a smartphone, equipped with the proper apps, is unmatched in its power, versatility and portability for generating, capturing and developing your ideas.

Here are 10 powerful reasons why:

A true “go-everywhere” tool: One of the keys to creative success is having a “closed-loop” system for capturing ideas when they pop into your mind. Most people and…


Are you perplexed by a complex problem

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Photo by André Ravazzi on Unsplash

Are you perplexed by a complex problem? Maybe you need to use a divergent thinking technique to get a fresh perspective on it. This unique thought experiment can help you unlock new insights and generate high-value ideas.

One of the problems we face as human beings is that we can‘t get out of the way of our thinking. In other words, we tend to get trapped by our beliefs, experiences and perspectives. That limits our ability to develop creative ideas.

One powerful way to sidestep this mental block is to view your problem or challenge from other peoples’ perspectives. For…


10 ingenious insights from John Cleese

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Based on vector art used by commercial license from Side Project

Dead parrot proprietor. Silly walker. Black knight. Creativity guru.

Which of these doesn’t belong?

Actually, all of them describe different facets of British comedic genius John Cleese. In recent years, he has attracted a surprising amount of attention for his deeply insightful and inspiring speeches about the nature of creativity.

Here are 10 creative insights from his remarkable mind that you can adopt to elevate your creativity:

1. Creativity is not a talent. It’s a way of operating.

Many people think creativity is the result of having a high IQ, or it’s something you’re born with. …


Making delicious cookies and building successful mind maps — both are better with a recipe

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Photo by May Mui via Unsplash

At this time of year, baking cookies makes my mouth water. Chocolate chip cookies with walnuts are one of my favorites. Making them “just right” takes a specific recipe, however.

So does creating an effective mind map.

Making delicious cookies requires the right ingredients and tools, plus a specific process for combining the ingredients and baking the dough.

Creating an exceptional mind map is no different. …


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Photo credit: Alan Hanaoka, Unsplash

A savvy strategy to bring more “fire” to your career and life

Imagine sitting in front of a cold fireplace and demanding, “Give me warmth!”

Ridiculous, right?

But many of us do this when we expect our employers to pay us more money but don’t offer any value up front. Or we rationalize that “They’re not paying me enough, so I’m not going to do any more.”

Both approaches cause us to end up in the same place — frustrated, disillusioned, with no more money in our pockets. Sitting in front of our own metaphorical cold fireplace, grumbling about the unfairness of life.

Why?

Because that’s not how compensation and success work.

The law of compensation


Jump-start your thinking in new directions with these diverse perspectives

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Are you stuck in a mental rut? Has your creative muse deserted you? Perhaps you need to be whacked upside the head — figuratively and creatively speaking, of course.

One if the most powerful ways to jump-start your thinking in fresh, creative directions is to look at your problem or challenge from different perspectives. And the best way to do that, hands down, is a creative problem-solving technique with the whimsical name of SCAMPER. It’s a mnemonic for Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify/Magnify/Minify, Put to other uses, Eliminate and Reverse/Rearrange.

SCAMPER is powerful because it gives you an easy-to-remember framework that…


5 myths about mind mapping software and why I call it “the savvy executive’s secret weapon”

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It’s funny how perceptions grow like weeds around concepts, approaches and tools. Myths surround them and it’s hard to see what their real value is.

A case in point is mind mapping software.

Everyone “knows” that it’s great for brainstorming ideas and creating simple outlines. Also, people who have never used it also tend to assume that it has a steep learning curve.

What you don’t know is that the productivity- and creativity-enhancing applications of mind mapping software are much more extensive than you may realize. And its learning curve is actually very low. …


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In the name of organizational efficiency, chances are you’re now doing more work than ever before — more projects, more objectives, more data, more plans and more deliverables. Working remotely during the pandemic has made things even more challenging. It’s getting harder to keep up. Chances are, you’re a victim of “information overload.”

To survive, you need to be able to sift through a mountain of information, ideas and knowledge, synthesize meaning from it and communicate it in reports, plans, presentations and other forms of business communication.

But in many cases, you’re limited to the same set of business productivity…

Chuck Frey

Thought leader in mind mapping, visual thinking & creativity. Relentless explorer. Storyteller. Seeker of ideas that matter. Published on The Innovation.

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