Redefining “Money Can’t Buy You Happiness”

Think of the last time your bought something you really wanted. How did you feel afterwards? It felt good.

Now, is there something else you really want? Maybe a new laptop, smartphone, or some nice clothes. Buying that thing, whatever it is, will bring you happiness. When you finally have it, you will be excited to try it out.

As cliche as it says “money can’t buy you happiness”, we feel happy when we buy the things we want.

The Real Reason Why You Are Happy When You Buy Stuff

Human beings are hardwired to seek instant gratification. You’ve probably heard the phrase instant gratification hundreds of times. To get that thing we want, the moment we want it. This desire for instant gratification came to us as a survival mechanism. I’m not going to talk about instant gratification in details here, if you want to find out more about it, take a look at 5 Ways to Get Over Approval Addiction and Instant Gratification.

While instant gratification is in human’s nature, we live in a society driven by delayed gratification. Delayed gratification is the desire for something but the inability to get it when you want. In our society, you have to wait for your pay day, your meal at a restaurant, your coffee at Starbucks. When the thing you want finally arrives, you get excited.

Your excitement for this thing, the delayed gratification often elicits stronger emotional responses in you than when you get it. This feeling comes from dopamine a chemical that influences the pleasure centers in our brains.[1] When you become excited for something, you are actually enjoying a release of dopamine into our system. The thing you are actually excited for is almost secondary to it.

Think about it, how did you feel a couple hours after buying something you waited a long time for? It was probably not nearly as good as when you first got it, or when you’re waiting to get it. It’s natural, it’s a part of human nature.

In this way the happiness you feel isn’t true happiness. In fact, biologically speaking, you’re just enjoying a blast of dopamine. When this blast of dopamine is gone, you want something new again, which is secretly, more dopamine. This is what that old saying “money can’t buy you happiness” really means.

There is, however, a way in which money can buy you happiness. It’s just not in a way you think.

An Alternative to Buying Happiness

Recently Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA conducted a study where two groups of people were given $40 each.[2] One group was told to spend it in buying a possession, an object, something they wanted. The other group was told to spend it in ways that would enable them to have more free time, for example, having food delivered to save them from cooking, or hiring a cleaner, instead of cleaning their house themselves. When each participant in the study were to measure their happiness to a 10 point scale, those who spent their money on more free time were almost always one whole point ahead of those who spent their money on stuff.

In a sense, they were happier because they brought themselves out of doing something they didn’t want to do. Just buying more stuff, in the long run didn’t have much of an affect on their happiness, when those who spent money on time found an increase in life satisfaction.

It was the free time that made people happy.

It was the quality time that contributed more to their happiness, the money was just a tool they used to get more time. But the money ultimately is unnecessary. All that is required is a re-adjustment of how you measure time.

Everyone has 24 hours a day. The life expectancy for females is 81.2 years; for males, it’s 76.4 years. Most people have more or less the same time of living. To make every hour, or minute count is the way to create your own happy time. If you are always feeling busy and don’t think you have enough quality time for yourself, you need to make a change to turn things around.

To be truly happy, make quality time a true value in your life. Find out how to do so in my other article How to Gain More Time Like Making Money.

Featured photo credit: Photo by Ross Sokolovski on Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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Google Search Tricks to Make Your Searches 10x Faster and Better

Let’s face it, Google’s impressive search engine has almost all the answers that you could possibly be looking for. You think of a query or questions, and then you ‘just Google it.’

We spend on average four hours per week on Google searches. Seems implausible? Think of all the times that you don’t quite get the search result you want. You may make several different efforts at entering search phrases. Not only that, but even if you enter the correct search phrase, you may need to have scrolled through pages of listings before finding exactly what you were looking for.

Your time is precious, don’t waste it with inefficient web searches. I’m going to introduce to you several little-known Google search tricks to supercharge your online searching!

1. Use the Exact Phrase

If you’re looking for something specific, then make sure you search by using the exact phrase. For example, if you’re looking to find out Tom Cruise’s height, type in the exact phrase into the Google search bar as follows: “Top Gun” This will instantly return only articles or websites that contain that exact phrase. (Please note that the “___” is what tells Google you’re only wanting exact phrase results.)

2. Exclude Terms With Minus

This second tip is actually an extension of the first one. Staying with Top Gun, let’s say your exact phrase search “Top Gun” brings up dozens of articles that mention Tom Cruise. You could trim down the results list by excluding the word Cruise.

To do this, you need to use the minus symbol before the word you want to exclude. Here’s how it should look: “Top Gun” -Cruise

3. Say Hello to *

In Google searches, the asterisk (*) offers two clever tricks.

Firstly, it can help Google find a missing word in a phrase or quote. For example, try searching for this: Whether you *that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right I’ll leave you to discover the missing word and author of this quote.

The second trick the asterisk can perform is to search all words starting with a specific word. For instance, if you search: inst* This will bring up not just results with the words inst in it, and also variants such as instagram, institute and instructure.

4. Make OR Your Search Friend

This tip is super easy to use, and is a bit like going into a coffee shop and saying: “I don’t mind which cake I have, and I’m happy with either chocolate OR lemon.” In the virtual world, if you are unsure of the best search, or would like to do a multiple search at the same time, use the OR function. Here’s an example of how it should look: Batman or Thor This search will return results for both Batman and Thor. (Some results may be separate, others may contain both searched terms.)

5. Use Synonym Searches

I’m sure you’ve come across times when you can’t remember the exact name of an establishment or website. Your initial searches fail to find what you’re looking for. In cases like this, you might want to try a synonym search. How does it work? Well, let’s say that you were looking for Cafe Days in Haledon, New Jersey. But wait… you’re not sure if it’s Days or Daze? The quickest way to resolve this is to type the following into the search bar: Cafe Days Haledon ~Daze Google will immediately give you the answer you’re looking for.

6. Search Between Two Values

I’m guessing that you won’t have come across this search tip before. However, it’s a super useful one to know about. For example, have you ever wanted to quickly find a list of U.S. presidents between certain years? Google can make this really easy for you. All you need to do is enter the following search phrase: U.S. presidents 1950.. 2000 In this example, the phrase will quickly return results showing all the U.S. presidents that served between 1950 and 2000. Just to be clear, the “..” followed by a space is what triggers this search function.

7. Bring up Related Sites

I personally use this handy search function a lot. It allows you to find websites similar to other websites. This is best explained with an example. Let’s say that you love going to National Geographic’s website, but you’d also like to see what other similar websites are available. Here’s what you need to type into the Google search bar: related:nationalgeographic.com This search will instantly return a list of similar sites to National Geographic. As I mentioned earlier, a super useful function.

Save Time and Frustration with Lightning-Fast Google Searches

You want to find your football team’s latest score.

You need advice on how to make a claim on your insurance.

You’d love to know just how high your favorite mountain is.

The list of possible searches is endless, but by using the seven tips I recommend in this article, you’ll save yourself valuable time, energy and headache.

Whether at work or at home, you’ll find yourself being able to pinpoint information in super-quick time. You’ll also find yourself having a new relationship with the internet. One where you are a confident and masterful commander.

I’m sure this article will give you everything you need to be a rapid-fire Google searcher, but if you need anymore information – just Google it!

Featured photo credit: FirmBee via pixabay.com

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How to Gain More Time Like the Way You Make Money

Time is finite. Each of us on this planet are here only temporarily. It is important to use time wisely yet it is easy to get caught up in spending your time doing things that don’t really matter. Most people act in ways that are only sustainable if we had an infinite amount of time, but we don’t.

Imagine you were able to save $10 per day, and let it build. After a year you will have accumulated $3,650. Equally, if you were able to save 10 minutes of a day to be reused later, by the end of the year, you would have saved 60 hours.

What would you choose?

Most would go with the money. It’s understandable. Humans like quick rewards.

But money by its nature is salvageable. If you lose money, you have the opportunity to get more. But time is different, once an hour passes, you lose an hour and it won’t return. What people don’t realize is that with time, you have the opportunity to spend it earning more money than the $3,650.

Money Is Tangible but Time Is Not?

What are you doing right now? You’re reading this article. This is your present. Your present is all that exists.

Events even in your immediate past are beginning to fade from memory. If I asked you what you had for lunch yesterday, you will probably answer it correctly but you’ll have to think. The future is a big question, your plans for tomorrow might change. Something might happen tomorrow and affect the rest of the day. A traffic jam might make you late for work, a friend might cancel a coffee meet-up. The future is uncertain, so we ultimately go with what we want right now.

There is a famous Chinese proverb that says we all “cross the river by feeling the stones”. This means that in life we make things up as they go along. We adapt, we change things, we roll with the punches. At the same time we make plans from our present perspective.

Some people spend their time on making more money for a more carefree life in future. So they spend most of their time on getting their jobs done even though they don’t find these works enjoyable. They choose to suck up all these tough times, hoping to exchange for enjoyable times in future. They may have saved plenty of money, but that still doesn’t guarantee an enjoyable future. What’s for sure is that they had some unsatisfying times.

Everyone has their own preference and there’s no right or wrong for their choice. Ask any 70 or 80 year old, what would they prefer, getting more money or more years of healthy living, they would choose the years. If money could buy time, they’d rather go broke. But money couldn’t buy more time, and all the money they had saved couldn’t gain back the lost time.

Although we know that time is limited, we act and often think as if it is not. A common, though counterproductive way of thinking, were we to treat our finances in the same way, treating $100 like $1000 and we would soon be bankrupted. Treating time like this is far more damaging. If you lose money, it’s still possible to get more. But if you lose time, you lose it forever.

John Lennon wrote this in his song,

“Life is what happens when we’re busy making plans”

We need then to make the best use of the time we have, and not spending it in unsatisfying ways. Time is the only asset to treasure.

The Only Way to Measure the Value of Time

A day will always be 24 hours. There will always be 60 minutes in an hour, and there will always be 60 seconds to a minute. Some lives are longer, some are shorter, but we can assume we get around 70-80 years. Looking at the value of time by counting the number of hours, days, and years is meaningless because time is pre-set for everyone; no more, no less. Instead of considering time to be spent in minutes or hours, how we spend it is more important. We should make the most of “quality time”.

I’m not suggesting you to quit your job, and spend everyday however you like. That is unreasonable and unrealistic. Everyone has 24 hours a day, but not everyone consciously chooses how they want to spend those hours and ensures all these hours are satisfying to them. Time should be measured in time we can control and enjoy over time we don’t enjoy. The time that you have control over to do what you love is “quality time”.

People who work 70% of their day on a job they don’t like with the mind that they will have greater time in the future have only 30% quality time. With 70% time of the day spent on doing something they don’t like. 70% of their time is unsatisfying.

To control the time you have an make it satisfying, begin to use time productively. By doing only things that matter to you, time will no longer be something “assigned” to you because you actively gain control over your time.

You can adapt this idea to suit you in your day to day life. For example, you can increase your productivity and energy through the day by taking a short nap, which increases your happiness and maximizes your quality time. Or you can increase your quality time by spending time connecting more deeply with friends and loved ones; the more you enjoy the time with them, the greater the quality time.

There are plenty of ideas on Lifehack which give you further information about making the most of your time. You can find out more about how to make the most of your time here: Time Merchant.

Remember, the more quality time you have, the better and more enjoyable you life becomes.

Featured photo credit: Picjumbo via picjumbo.com

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Stop Waiting For Your Dream Job and Go Ask For It

If you were looking for a new job, how would you go about finding one? Instinctively you’d probably start off by filtering through all of the common job archive websites; Craigslist, Indeed, Monster, etc. in order to find something related to your field. Which is fine, if you don’t mind settling.

We have been programmed to work this way, to take whatever job is convenient in order to pay the bills and support our lifestyle. For many this system works well enough. But this is how people fall into complacent jobs that don’t truly satisfy them.

If you want to land the job of your dreams, you’re going to have to go out there and get it

The truth is, the best jobs aren’t listed. Around 80% of opportunities in the market are not open to the public and can only be acquired internally. So if you’re basing your search on the 20% that have actually been listed, you’re going to have a very difficult time landing that dream job.

So instead, you’ll end up with a job that “works for now.” Eventually you’ll come across the job you’ve been striving for and make the switch. But what if that opportunity never comes? You’ll most likely fall into a routine with your sub-par job and justify it by saying that most people never get to have their dream job.

How can you solve that issue? By taking the initiative and creating an opportunity. But before you’re able to finagle your way into your dream company, you must first understand why 80% of jobs are not available to the public, and how to work that fact to your advantage.

1. Businesses are not sure what or who they are looking for

This is usually true for startup businesses that are trying to expand into a new market. It’s uncommon ground, so it’s tough to project what they really need.

If they don’t know who or what they’re looking for in order to move in a new direction, then it’s nearly impossible to create a job ad for a position that does not yet exist.

What they need is human resources. A fresh perspective that can give them a new edge. This is the perfect opportunity for you to up-sell yourself and the value that you can bring to the company.

Take a look at their weaknesses and what could be improved. You could be the answer to all of their problems. Offer your skills in such a way that they can’t afford not to have you.

2. Companies tend to train-up internal staff instead of hiring new employees.

Some employers don’t want to go through the grueling trial and error of the interviewing process. Unsure if they’ll be able to find the people with the skills they’re looking for, they will train their already existing staff to do the job instead.

The mentality is, “the more I invest in my employees, they more likely they are to stay and contribute.” While in some cases this may be true, it’s not very cost efficient and may not work out as they hoped.

There is no certainty that the employees will stay, especially if there is a change in their job description. Many people are creatures of habit and want to stick to what they know.

It can be difficult to predict how much time could be wasted training employees to learn these new skills. And in that time you’re taking man power away from already existing projects. In turn, those projects could be neglected and end up hurting the company.

This is your golden opportunity. Showcase the fact that you already possess the skills they are looking for. Explain the resources they could save by simply hiring you instead of training up their staff. Your drive and passion will make you stand out as the best cost-efficient choice.

3. The company truly does not have any openings.

There is still room for opportunity here. Similar to the previous points, you can scale the company for their weaknesses and needs, and offer yourself as the solution. You could bring ideas to light that probably would have never been considered.

Your attention to detail and willingness to improve will make you a valuable asset.

What you do for work is important because it affects your happiness too

Your dream job isn’t going to fall into your lap. You need to be a little aggressive and create that opportunity. Even if the company of your dreams truly isn’t looking for new employees right now, they will remember you if you make a good impression.

Your job doesn’t have to just pay the bills. With the right career, you can find your purpose, devote yourself to your work, and live a meaningful life that brings you satisfaction.

I mean think about it, you spend the majority of your life working. If you don’t enjoy your job, then you’re leading a miserable life. On average, you spend 8 hours a day at work. That’s 22 working days out of the month; 2,112 hours a year! Wouldn’t you rather spend all of that time working towards something you truly care about?

Mental Notes On How To Manifest Your Destiny!

At this point I’m sure I’ve got you convinced. You deserve the job of your dreams. In order to approach these opportunities and make them a reality, there are three components to keep in mind:

1. Display expectations for yourself, and the company

Check out resources such as LinkedIn to research the expectations for the job you are pitching for. Research the job descriptions for a grade or two above your skill set. See what goals you need to work towards and which skills you need to improve.

Explain the progression you would like to see in yourself, and how your progression will benefit the future of the company. Self-reflection is very important to employers, so be transparent about which skills you need to improve upon that can also improve the company.

2. Understand competitions the company is facing

In order to understand what the company needs, you need to know what they’re competition is doing. Is it working for them? Could you advance those ideas and make them your own?

Show them that you know which issues they are facing, and suggest strategies to solve these issues. Offer your skills and explain how they will give them a new edge in this growing market.

3. Don’t just tell them what you can do, show them.

Prepare a portfolio of your previous projects to show off your capabilities and experience. After explaining what you have done, tell them your plans for the future. What are you doing to enhance your skills? What could have been improved in previous projects?

If you show that you are actively improving your skill set, prospective employers can expect that your skills will improve their business plan.

So remember, don’t wait for the perfect job. Create it.

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Use This Tool And Your Mailbox Will Never Be Like A Trash Can Again

When you search the internet these days, it seems like you’re almost always prompted to enter your email address. Having a launch page that collects email addresses is one way that companies drive traffic and increase sales.[1] The deal is almost always the same, they offer you a useful download or exclusive content in exchange for your precious personal information.

While I can’t fault people for working to grow their businesses by collecting email addresses, my overflowing inbox has become a point of contention. When I log in to find over 100 messages, many of which I have no interest in reading, I cringe. The torrent of emails becomes an even bigger problem when you give your information to aggressive marketers who send messages daily. If you’re like me, you tell yourself that you’ll unsubscribe from those emails, but it seems like they never stop coming.

An overabundance of emails is stressing you out

You know that email has revolutionized the way that you work, but most of us have too much of a good thing. A recent study suggests that around 89 billion business emails go out per day.[2] We may be spending 25-50% of our work time on email, and chances are, we’re checking messages outside of business hours too.[3]

Every time you get an inbox notification, it breaks your concentration. Sometimes, you’ll receive an important message, but more often, it’s junk. Now you not only feel anxious when you open your cluttered inbox, but you also have interruptions from useless messages exacerbating your stress levels and decreasing your productivity.

You may have agreed to receive emails from certain entities, but it was likely because the site offered to give you access to an useful resource. Now you’re wading through spam, which makes it tough to see meaningful emails. Unless you have a system for starring important emails, unsubscribing, and filtering messages into different folders, you’ll be overwhelmed. In fact, even with such a system, it can feel like you’ll never clear your inbox.

Stem the flow of incoming emails with 10 Minute Mail

Instead of giving up on web pages that require you to hand over your email address, or relying on the “unsubscribe” button, you could try 10 Minute Mail. The service provides you with an authentic email address that you can use in the place of your regular email. You’ll have access to the content that you want without paying for it later in the form of junk mail.

Decreasing your incoming emails is easy

Using 10-Minute Mail is simple. There is no fancy sign-up process to access their service. Start by going to the 10 Minute Mail website.

You’ll automatically get a temporary email address like the one above. Just copy and paste that address where you would usually put your regular email address.

The countdown timer to the right of the address tells you how long you’ll have access that email before it self-destructs. After the address disappears, it’s gone for good. If you need to use your temporary email for more than ten minutes, click the arrow icon to the far right. That will reset the countdown to ten minutes. You can reset the timer as often as you’d like.

Many companies require you to click a verification link to access their exclusive content. You can receive emails at your 10 Minute Email address as long as you keep your temporary address active by refreshing the countdown timer.

You can also forward valuable information from your temporary email to your personal email so that you can take what you need without enduring unwanted messages.

When you’re finished with the temporary address, allow the countdown timer to run to zero. The email, and everything associated with it will cease to exist.

Stay focused and save time

Avoid handing out your personal email to sites that you don’t know. You’ll save yourself from a barrage of unwanted messages, which means less stress and fewer interruptions for you.

The 10 Minute Mail service is also excellent if you aren’t sure how trustworthy or valuable a page is. Since many sites won’t let you preview a product or page without giving an email address, you can check whether the site offers what you want without contributing to your spam problem.

One of the best features of 10 Minute Mail is that it’s easy to use and doesn’t require a membership fee. You can donate to the site via Paypal if you’d like, but you can try the service without spending a dime. You’ll only be able to receive a limited number of email addresses per hour, but if you want a hassle-free way to access a page or exclusive product, this tool is perfect for you.

Try 10 Minute Mail‘s free service, and you’ll think twice about giving out your personal email to access a web page or get a free download.

Reference

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Creativity Doesn’t Appear as Flash Even for the Most Creative People

People often talk about creativity and inspiration as if it is a thing totally distinct from them. That ideas generate themselves spontaneously, or as if it is a trait that some people are born without and can’t ever gain. These ideas are commonplace, but are totally untrue.

Some think creative works exist in a vacuum, and are, by their nature, totally original, and entirely the work of some lone visionary. This again is untrue. Nothing comes from nothing, and even some of the most creative people of all time were inspired by countless works, and everything they had ever done or seen. For example, William Shakespeare, almost all of his plays like Hamlet and Romeo & Juliet were inspired by other works, or were retellings of history. His stories have transformed our artistic landscape, and they wouldn’t have existed if he didn’t work on his creativity or inspiration.

In fact, creativity can be developed, it always is. It is useful to think of creativity like a skill, and like any skill, you can build on it, work on it, and increase it. In this way. Someone who thinks themselves as uncreative today may one day become a great creative.

These myths about creativity are damaging to our culture. It isn’t hard to imagine how these myths begin. As children, we are not taught to be creative, and those who are taught to do creative things, like painting or creative writing are taught in such a rigid way that true creativity can never blossom.

In an art class, children are taught how to draw, they may also be told to express themselves in art. Yet, as these classes tend to have set standards and aims, if their work doesn’t meet these vague standards, they may get a bad grade. This can easily lead someone to believe that they simply aren’t creative enough.

To counter the creativity myths, I have devised a framework for developing creativity. I have identified four levels of creativity that can be developed. Think of it as a ladder leading to great creative potential.

The Four Levels That All Genuine Creatives Must Go Through

With this system, you’ll be able to measure your own increasing creative ability, and by doing so, becoming more creative would stop seeming like an abstract aim, but a concrete, and attainable goal. With this model of creativity, it becomes far easier to measure your creative improvement.

It is also a great idea to consider where you would like to improve creatively and use these levels of creativity as a way to help define your path to improve your skills. If you want to improve your writing skills for example, work your way up from the basics to more advanced techniques. Get a feel for everything and work your way up.

Level 1: By-Chance Creativity

This is the most common and base form of creative ability. On this level you are still very much able to produce great creative works and think creatively. But being not too knowledgeable about creativity or your own creative ability, it is difficult to replicate any creative success you have. This of course can be improved through developing your creative ability.

Level 2: Learned Creativity

On the second level, your understanding of creativity and your own creative potential has increased. On this level you will find you are able to relate more to great creatives, you are able to learn from their experiences as well as your own. You can replicate creative success as many times as you like, but there is a sense that your works rely on the works of others too much. That you are replicating them and their success.

The above painting is by Picasso when he was 15. Picasso was a level 2 creative at the time he painted this. A great piece of work, but pretty unoriginal in style. Many people have painted pictures like this.

Level 3: Creativity Goes Wild

Here the supports are severed. Level two gave you the ability to distill creativity from others, there you learned the rules. Here, with that understanding you get to break or ignore the rules according to your preferences.

This is when you produce creative works you notice that you have a voice or style that is unique to you.

Level 4: Redefining Creativity

On this level you are operating at the highest level of creative ability. This is the level of people like Steve Jobs, Picasso, Alan Turing, and Vincent Van Gogh. These are people who know their own creative potential intricately, know all the rules, and as such are free to utterly re-invent them .

People one these level work in ways that most people can’t match or imagine. They do a lot of experiments and make a lot of creative mistakes, but are able to learn from these mistakes for the betterment of their work.

This is Weeping Woman by Picasso, here with his own distinct, and bold style, Picasso is operating at a high level of creativity. Picasso, having developed his creativity over his lifetime, has redefined the rules of the game. Nobody comes close.

Climbing the Four Levels of Creativity Ladder

If you want to work through the 4 levels, no matter what your current creative ability is, it is important to work from the bottom. You can aim for reaching level 3 first, but start with the foundation. By doing so you will be able to better measure your success.

From Level 1 to Level 2: Log Your Experiences and Knowledge

Develop a library of experiences and important influences that you can draw from. Think about what inspires you and why and think deeply about it. Study the works of creative people you admire, and read deeply about them. By doing so you should be able to work out their techniques and replicate them.

Make sure you get feedback for any creative works you produce. Pay attention to anything people say. Especially the more critical. Maintain a logbook throughout the process to measure your progress. Log everything.

From Level 2 to Level 3: Learn the Rules And Break Them

Exploit each and every opportunity to expand your knowledge. By doing so learn the rules of creativity and your trade.

Once you feel you understand the rules, consider how they can be best implemented, see if you could change and adapt them to suit your goals and intentions. Don’t break the rules for the sake of breaking them. Eventually you’ll start to see beyond the ordinary ways of doing things.

Find like-minded people, people who you can share ideas with. In retrospection and discussion your knowledge will increase further. Steve Jobs wouldn’t have been the man we celebrate today without the early collaboration of Steve Wozniak.

From Level 3 to Level 4: Experiment And Create New Rules

Every time you see a piece of creative work, either your own or someone else’s, ask yourself this question “How was this done?” “How can it be improved?”

Never stop looking for ways to increase your knowledge and understanding. If you are in a race and stop before finishing, others will overtake.

Using all of your developed knowledge and skill, try to think of ways to use what you have learned to produce works, or be creative in ways nobody has before. Originality can only come from influence, this seems like a paradox, but it is true.

Welcome failure. See your failures, and the failures of others as learning experiences. The great politician and Lawyer Robert Kennedy once said

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”

Creativity Doesn’t Come as Flash, It’s a Journey

Creativity is like life, it is a quest for constant self improvement. It is a quest that can only be undertaken though, with knowing the rules, then breaking them, then re-inventing the rules.

Now you know what you need to do to boost your creativity. Follow the four levels of creativity, and work your way up to becoming a true creative person.

Featured photo credit: Gabriel Barletta on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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How to Read Books You Aren’t Interested in but Are Useful for You

Successful people read a lot. But they don’t just read anything and everything. They read specifically for self-improvement, education and success.

If you don’t believe me, just take a look at these stats:[1]

  • Warren Buffett reads between 600 and 1,000 pages per day.
  • Bill Gates reads about 50 books per year.
  • Mark Cuban reads for more than three hours every day.
  • Mark Zuckerberg read a book every two weeks throughout 2015.

As I’ve already stated, these hugely-successful people don’t just read anything, instead they self-educate and self-motivate through reading high-quality content.[2]

Fiction Books Have Stolen the Spotlight

People like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are prolific readers of books that help them to improve their skills, knowledge and understanding. But the average person appears to have little interest in reading self-improvement books.

If you look back at decades of book sales, you’ll see that fiction books tend to be much more popular than self-improvement books. 70% of the Amazon Best Sellers in 2016 are fictions including Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 & 2, Special Rehearsal Edition ScriptA Man Called Ove, and The Girl on the Train.[3]

Fiction books are designed and written in such a way as to impel you to continue reading them. There’s a hook or cliffhanger in every chapter that keeps you focused on reading until the last page, so that you can find out what happens next – and what happens at the end.

On the other hand, non-fiction books in the self-improvement field are intended to help you solve a problem or reach a specific goal. In most cases, these types of books are not written in story form (one exception is The Social Animal), rendering them less attractive to the majority of readers.

A lack of storytelling in self-improvement books leads many people to believe that the books are dull or difficult to read and understand.

Do you recognize yourself in the last sentence?

If you do, then the good news is that you’ve most likely being picking the wrong type of self-improvement books for you. For example, if you’re fascinated by space exploration, but choose to read a technical-heavy, scientific book on the subject – you’ll quickly lose interest. However, if you chose a book that is easier to understand, say an autobiography of a NASA astronaut, you’ll probably love the book – and boost your interest in space exploration.

You could also think of it this way, you’ve just stated to learn piano, but someone’s given you an advanced piano music sheet. Not only will you struggle with the sheet but it may put you off piano playing for life.

It’s All About Picking the Right Self-Improvement Books

So, what’s the secret to choosing the right level of non-fiction book?

Firstly, you need to have some context. That could be a problem you want to solve – or a goal you want to achieve. For instance, if you’re not planning on being an entrepreneur, then you’re unlikely to understand or enjoy the context of a book like High Output Management – even though it’s a highly-recommended self-improvement book.

Get the context right, and you’ll find an ocean of self-improvement books to help you learn and grow. The best of these books will give you clear advice and recommendations for bettering your life.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Fiction books and novels can be enjoyable, and often encourage imagination and creativity. However, they’re a less direct way of improving your daily life.

It’s worth repeating. Failing to pick the most suitable non-fiction books can discourage you from becoming a regular non-fiction reader. This could directly impact your chances of developing and growing.

Picking the Right Self-Improvement Books Starts with A Purpose

If you want to be highly-successful in life, then you must take advantage of the countless wisdom and knowledge available through self-improvement books.

The secret to choosing the most suitable self-improvement book for you is to understand your current situation – and to have a clear vision of what you hope to achieve in the future.

The ideal self-improvement book will be one that fits your current needs, and will be easy and enjoyable for you to read from start to finish.

Let’s say you’re interested in becoming a graphic designer. If the first book you read is aimed at qualified, professional graphic designers, then it’s unlikely to be the book for you. Instead, if you choose a book such as The Non-Designer’s Design Book, you’ll probably find the book a fun and fascinating read. And it’s likely to whet your appetite to read more books on graphic design. Perhaps this time, books that are slightly more advanced.

Picking the wrong book will instantly discourage you from reading and learning more. Picking the right book, however, will spark your interest – and help you find constant opportunities to grow and improve.

Good Self-Improvement Books Will Capture Your Attention – and Boost Your Knowledge

If you haven’t yet started and finished a self-improvement book, then ask yourself what is stopping you delving into the genre? Is it fear of the unknown, or a lack of understanding what self-improvement books can offer?

From my own experience, I can tell you that if you choose a non-fiction that meets a desire or need that you have, you’ll be hooked by the content. And you’ll likely finish the book in rapid time – even though the book doesn’t have a storyline like novels do.

If your purpose of reading is to look for an answer you want, then this will inspire sufficient curiosity to keep you avidly reading until the last word of the book.

The right book will also be easy to understand, and will effortlessly keep your interest and attention.

Self-improvement books can open up all kinds of future opportunities for you. You’ll learn new things, be inspired, and develop a deep love of practical knowledge and wisdom. And the most exciting thing? You’ll be able to apply the ideas and advice that you learn to your daily life. And once you do this, you’ll be likely to see a trend towards positive results.

You and I are wired to seek progress and results, and when we achieve these things through the help of self-improvement books, then we’ll be naturally encouraged to explore more self-improvement content.

3 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Self-Improvement Book

Hopefully, I’ve boosted your interest in becoming a reader of self-improvement books. And I want to finish this article by giving you some specific advice on choosing the perfect book for you.

1. Begin your search by analyzing your problems

Take a good look at yourself and your life, and identify any problems you’re facing. Perhaps you’re unsatisfied with some areas of your life, such as health, relationship or work issues?

2. Picture the answer you seek

Once you’ve identified a problem (or problems), try to figure out the causes behind the problems. For example, if you suffer from a lack of self-confidence, was this caused by overly-dominant parents or teachers? If you believe that to be so, then keep the problem and cause in mind when you come to choose a book.

Here’s an effective way to help you find out the root cause of a problem: How To Make the Invisible Cause Visible

3. Keep the kind of answer you want in your mind as pick the book

A keyword search of an online bookseller’s listing (such as Amazon), will usually throw up dozens or even hundreds of results. However, you can narrow these results down by:

  • Reading the foreword – but understanding that this is designed to hook you in to purchase the book.
  • Looking at comments, both the best and the worst reviews of the book. Here’s a smart way to read comments: The Ugly Truth About Comments and Reviews That No One Knows
  • Viewing a sample of the book’s content. (This will give you a feel for the style and substance.)
  • Considering whether the book can give you the answer(s) you need.

The whole process may take you some time but it will be worth it.

After picking the right book, keep your desired answer in mind as you read. Skim through the chapters to see if there’s anything important you should read first.

Some people find that they don’t need to follow the order set in the book, but in most cases, I suggest you try to stick to the original order. The majority of writers will build on their advice, and to jump out of the intended order, can lead to confusion and loss of context.

Having said that, if your problem is urgent, you might want to skip sections in order to quickly find your desired answer. However, if you do this, make sure you have a complete understanding of the answer, even though you haven’t read every single page or word of the book.

Perhaps after finishing your first self-improvement book, you’ll come up with a new problem and seek another answer. This is how you will keep reading (and finishing) self-improvement books – something you had zero interest in before.

Featured photo credit: Stock Snap via pixabay.com

Reference

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