The Science Of Creativity And How To Fight A Creative Block

Can you become more creative? How does your brain create things? What is a creative block and how do you fight it? If you use creativity in any aspect of your life, then these are questions you might want to have the answer to.

Creativity is not only about art. We use creativity almost everyday in our life. And probably in every business out there, creativity is one of the main requirements. In order to be successful in any field you have got to be creative.

But what is creativity and how can you be creative?

Let’s find out.


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What is creativity?

Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and somehow valuable is formed. The created item may be intangible or a physical object.

And in the words of a great creator:

Creativity is just connecting things.
When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.

Steve Jobs

What is the science behind creativity?

Did you ever wonder about what happens in your brain when you come up with an idea or manage to solve a problem? How does your brain create things?

It has been suggested in one study that creativity is a twofold process, in which an initial improvisatory phase, characterized by spontaneous generation of new material, is followed by a period of focused re-evaluation and revision.

And apparently, contrary to general belief that there is a specific part of your brain (the right side) that is responsible for creativity, creativity does not involve a single brain region or single side of the brain.

The creative process however involves both sides of the brain. This process is divided into four parts: Preparation, incubation, illumination, and verification.

Graham Wallis, a researcher, explained the four-stage process that goes through the person’s brain when they try to come up with a creative solution to a problem as follows:

1. In the preparation stage, we define the problem or desire, and gather any information the solution needs.

2. In the incubation stage, we step back from the problem and let our minds contemplate and work it through. Like preparation, incubation can last minutes, weeks, even years.

3. In the illumination stage, ideas arise from the mind to provide the basis of a creative response. These ideas can be the entire solution or just pieces. Unlike the other stages, illumination is often very brief, involving a tremendous rush of insights within a few minutes or hours.

4. In verification, the final stage, one carries out activities to demonstrate whether or not what emerged in illumination satisfies the need and the criteria defined in the preparation stage.

The first and last stages are left brain activities, while the second and third stages belong to the right brain.

How can one become creative?

I didn’t know that you can “become” creative. I thought creativity was mainly a gift. Some people are born creative and others are not, and that’s it.

But it turns out there is a lot more to creativity than that. While there is a genetics part to it, creativity is mostly developed through experience.

Creativity is a muscle you develop.

Mark Rober

It all depends on the experiences you have been through and how you train your brain to use the information it has.

Creativity is your ability to bring the most unrelated things and create a connection between them.

If you know hip hop music, then you probably know what freestyle is. Freestyle is a style of improvisation in which unrehearsed lyrics are recited with no particular subject or structure; where rappers use random words that has nothing to do with each other and create a rhyming lyrical content. This is one great example of how creativity works.

A study was made on a number of freestyle rappers in 2012. The scientists asked a number of rappers to freestyle lyrics and scanned their brains while they were rapping those random words, to find a way to figure how creativity works and what happens in the brain during the creative process. You can read more about this study here.

I’ve read a number of articles and watched a few videos on this subject of being creative and one of those that stood out for me was a TEDx talk by Balder Onarheim.

He gave three ways you can practice creativity and I found them quite interesting.

  1. Think of 3 unrelated words while brushing your teeth
  2. Use your dreams to solve a problem
  3. Use Wikipedia’s “Random Article”

Tooth Brush

He asks you to challenge yourself while brushing your teeth, before you go to bed every night, to come up with three words that are completely unrelated to each other. And then try to create some form of connection. This is something similar to being able to freestyle.

This is a way for you to train your brain to find connections between things that wouldn’t normally have a connection, and that on the long run strengthens your creative abilities.

Dreams

First of all, there are four stages of sleep, the fourth and last one of them is the rapid eye movement (REM) stage which is when we are dreaming and this stage takes place every 90-110 minutes, this is how long it takes for a complete sleep cycle.

And if you wake up right after this stage, you will be able to remember clearly what your dream was about.

And, in the video, Onarheim suggests that before you go to sleep, think of all the information you have on a certain problem or block that is stopping you, but don’t try to solve it, only recite the details as if giving raw information to someone else.

Because in dreams there are no rules and no constraints on what can and can’t happen. There is no logic; your mind wanders freely, and so you would most likely be able to find a connection that you weren’t able to see or figure something that you weren’t able to think of while awake.

You may want to read this article about how to use your dreams to solve a problem as it also suggests some ways to help you remember your dreams better.

And here is a number of famous examples where people got their best and most famous ideas from their dreams.

Wikipedia

The third suggestion is if you are stuck right now and need to come up with a solution, you may use something like Wikipedia’s Random Article option and regardless of what this article is about, you must read and find some form of solution out of this article.

I tried this one myself when I was stuck and while it didn’t direct me to the exact idea I was looking for, it did help in the brainstorming process.

There are many more things you can do to work on your creativity, read those other 9 ways to become more creative.

image from mission.org

What is a creative block?

So when you have worked on your creativity and practiced all the ways, and you’ve successfully become a creative person now!

Then all of a sudden your mind surprises you with creative blocks. It is when your mind refuses to let loose and create more. It is the inability to access your internal creativity.

And it often seems to happen when you’re in a desperate need of being creative. Because that’s how life works apparently.

My experience with a creative block this week

This past week, among a few other things, a block was in the way of me writing something new and caused me to be late for the first time to publish my blog post.

I received a call from my father a few days ago and I told him I feel bad because it seems like I will miss this week’s post and when he asked me why, I didn’t know what to say, because when I tried to find a reason, I couldn’t come up with one. And I felt so stupid.

The initial thought I had of the reason I couldn’t create something was because I wasn’t feeling it. I simply thought I lacked the motivation to do it.

But when I put more thought into it, I realized it was because I felt too much pressure. I felt like I had to put something out there that was so well-thought-out, perfectly researched and executed.

I needed to put a perfect article, but I wasn’t in the state of mind to create something this good and I didn’t have enough time, which added even more pressure.

And even though, deep down, I know that done is always better than perfect, I couldn’t make myself publish something that I wasn’t 100% satisfied with.

I have spent four days in a row in a mental fight with myself. And it was something like this:

I need to create something, but I don’t have the energy because there is too much pressure and too little time, and it needs to be perfect, but I can’t create perfect. I suck.

When I finally missed the deadline and couldn’t manage to publish anything in time, feelings of pressure were replaced with feelings of guilt. I was still facing the mental block but I was no longer anxious, I was simply sad.

However, when I was no longer anxious, I was able to think more clearly. And what I learned through this process is to identify what the voices in my head are saying.

I simply lost the purpose of my blog and this is why I felt the pressure and felt that I had to have a perfect article published.

The purpose of this blog was for me to learn something new every week, it is a way for me to document what I learn, this is why I started it.

However, recently this perspective started to shift and I started to think of it as a way to teach people something new.

This change of perspective, though might seem trivial, has hugely impacted my entire process. It was no longer about self-improvement, it has become an obligation towards others. It has become a pressure to put something that matches people’s expectations.

And that was what caused my creative block.

I just had to go back and think and realize why I got stuck in my head in the first place.

Once I realized this, and once I got this initial perspective back, I carried on with my process as usual. I realized that I don’t have to get it perfectly right every single time, not every week’s article needs to be “the best article I have ever written.”

It’s fine to put something that is not my absolute best, and work on enhancing later, or create something better the following week.

No one can get it right all the time. And no has to get it right all the time.

How do you fight a creative block?

I’m sure every creative person has to go through a creative block at one point throughout their creative process. It can cause loss of motivation and a lot of self doubt.

And it can be difficult to get past a creative block, but being aware of when and why a creative block develops can help in avoiding it.

I have read somewhere that in order to fight a creative block, you first need to identify your resistances.

A resistance is whatever it is that keeps you from creating. It is that internal voice in your head that tells you, “don’t create anything today.”

It could be fear. Fear of failure or rejection, fear of judgment, fear of facing an audience.

It could be a voice telling you no one cares about what you create.

It could be your mind telling you there is someone out there who is doing it better anyway.

It could be you comparing your work with someone else’s and feeling you will never match their talent and execution.

There are so many reasons as to why you will have this voice telling you not to create, and to be able to fight it, you will have to give yourself a moment to realize why it is telling you this.

Once you realize your resistances, you can then work on eliminating them.

Think of a creative block like having your brain in a cage, once you know what the cage is made of, you will be able to unlock it.

In my case, it was losing perspective of my process, losing the vision and also the need for perfection. When I identified those things, the resistances, I managed to get my perspective back and realize I was wrong, and that helped me get out of this block.

You may want to check this article that discusses a number of reasons as to why you may have a creative block and suggests some solutions for each one.

It is also worth mentioning that in some cases people can consider several types of therapy to help them with creative blocks.

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Suggestions from the Twitter-verse

I asked creative people on Twitter about what things they do that helps them get out of a creative bock and there were a lot of good suggestions, and some of them could be helpful to whoever reads it.

“I make a list of ideas I want to write about. Organization and accomplishment are big motivators for my writing. I also clean when I’m in a slump, b/c I’m more productive in a clean/organized environment.”
The Prepping Wife

“I just have to walk away and do something else. Inspiration usually strikes when I’m in the shower or about to fall asleep.”
Mom of the Moment

“I keep lots of different projects going at once. If i get burnt out on one, there’s usually another style, another topic, that i can write about.”
Kella Hanna-Wayne

“I usually turn on a documentary or series on PBS which slso tends to get my inspiration spinning. I also find cider helps too – a glass tends to help make me more confident and less doubtful.”
Peacoat Travels

“I also find that reading a book unrelated to anything I do helps. I’m a musician and have recently started writing for fun. Reading gets me out of my own head.”
My Unexpected Life

“Visiting a place I haven’t been to before or in a long time.”
Sean Flac 2.0

“I actually play video games haha. Or go for a walk if it’s nice out.”
In Asian Spaces

“A long run to clear my thoughts or a little girl time with friends usually inspires me — especially the topics that come up (some may not be appropriate for my blog, but they inspire none the less).”
LifeTravelStilettos

“I disconnect from technology, social media & the society. So as to reconnect with my soul and my creativity in nature and silence.”
Neha Gunnoo

“Depending on my creativity to keep a roof over my head means I don’t have the luxury of blocks. I dig in & do the work. When it gets tough, I’ll switch projects for awhile, or do something physical. Or shower. I work through tough plot points in the shower.”
Devon Ellington

“Sit down and write out a first draft with as many related words as possible. So if I’m interested in writing about fitness I would think about related keywords and jot them down, this gets the creative juices flowing…”
Underground Fitness

“Watch something on Netflix, read a small book, take a stroll, start writing in a little notebook, listen to some music. Those are all warmups to me.”
M. Lanen-de Vries

If you have other methods you use to fight creative block yourself, please share them in the comments below.

Till next week, happy days!

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How Can You Have The Mind Of A Millionaire?

This week’s post is about one of the most informative and insightful books I have read on achieving financial freedom so far: Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth, by T. Harv Eker, which “reveals the missing link between wanting success and achieving it.”

Secrets of the Millionaire Mind* has sold over a million copy worldwide and has been a #1 best seller on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today; its main mantra is “think rich to get rich.”

The book is divided into two parts: Part 1 is introducing you to the meaning of your “money blueprint,” how to find out what yours is and how to transform it to one that can make you capable of achieving financial success and growing wealth; part 2 gives you the Wealth Files, the 17 ways of thinking that differentiate the rich from the poor and middle-class people and how to apply them.

I wouldn’t call this an actual book review; it is more of my reflection and my thoughts on some parts of the book. This post certainly does not contain all the material or all the ideas discussed in this book. I’m only briefly sharing here, in 5 points, the highlights of the parts that has affected my own way of thinking and which I applied to my life. (All the quotes mentioned in this post are taken from the book.)

1. What Is Your Money Blueprint?

Eker begins the book by explaining what it means to have a money blueprint, that since the world is made of duality such as hot and cold, up and down, in and out, right and left, for one to exist the other has to exist as well. And, similarly, since there are some outer laws of money, there must also be some inner laws of money; ones that come from within the person and which can dictate their outer results of achieving wealth.

Some of the ways you can figure out your own money blueprint is through looking back at the environment you grew up in: What was your culture or neighbourhood like? What was their stand on money or on rich people? What did you hear or see regarding money? What famous sayings you heard about rich people? And how did your own parents handle money? Was there a lot or was it lacking? Has it ever caused any troubles? –In general, you need to dissect your own experience growing up and see whether it was positively or negatively affected with money, whether its abundance or lack thereof

Recall that thoughts lead to feelings, feelings lead to actions, and actions lead to results. Everything begins with your thoughts—which are produced by your mind.

Knowing your blueprint is important because it leads to understanding your current money situation and helps you answer questions like, why am I not rich? or why do I make a lot of money but still unable to save any? or why do I keep losing money every so often? and so on. He guarantees that any money-related issue that you may have at the moment, you shall find the reason to it, and therefore be able to solve it, when you know your money blueprint.

2. The Four Quadrants of Life

Eker explains that we do not just live in one form of existence but four of them: the physical world, the mental world, the emotional world, and the spiritual world. The work you do on the last three decides the result you will see in your physical world.

So, whenever things in your outer life are not going well, that means things in your inner life are not going well. Focusing on fixing the result will not change it, you need instead to focus on fixing the causes.

And he uses an example to someone who typed a document, printed it, then found a typo, so they take out their eraser and erase the mistake and re-print the paper again to find the same typo.

They try to erase it again with a bigger eraser this time and they even go ahead and study a three-hundred page manual called Effective Erasing. Once they feel ready, they then go ahead and print the paper, but to their amazement, they still get the document with the same typo again, nothing changed.

He explains that this is what most people try to do when dealing with problems in their life, they don’t see where the real cause is; the problem was never the printed copy, but the original document in the computer; not the physical output, but the program itself.

Money is a result, wealth is a result, health is a result, illness is a result, your weight is a result. We live in a world of cause and effect.

3. The Wealth Files

Throughout the second part of the book, Eker shares the 17 things that rich people do differently; the secrets that set apart the rich from the poor.

I will share here a very brief explanation of each one of the points, however, in the book, these are all thoroughly explained and with plenty of examples and methods on how to achieve each of these points yourself.

the 17 secrets of the millionaire mind - photo taken by rawpixel.com
1. Rich people believe “I create my life.” Poor people believe “Life happens to me.”

In this one Eker explains that while rich people always believe they are in control of their life and they take full responsibility for anything that happens, poor people usually prefer to be the victim of their story. He then gives you clues on how to tell if you or someone you know is one of those who always likes to play the victim role.

Victim clue #1: Blame

Poor people always look for someone else to blame for their financial failure. That could be their parents, their boss, the economy, the government, anyone but them.

Victim clue #2: Justifying

They’re always justifying why they don’t have money by saying things like “money is not really important,” while rich people understand the importance of money.

Quoting below one of my favourite parts in the book:

Poor people validate their financial ineptitude by using irrelevant comparisons. They’ll argue, “Well, money isn’t as important as love.” Now is that comparison dumb or what? What’s more important, your arm or your leg? Maybe they’re both important.

Money is extremely important in the areas in which it works, and extremely unimportant in the areas in which it doesn’t.

Not convinced? Try paying your bills with love. Still not sure? Then pop on over to the bank and try depositing some love and see what happens.


Victim clue #3: Complaining

Poor people always have something to complain about. And if you read about the laws of attraction, you know that you only attract more of what you think of and what you talk about.

So, the more you complain about things, the more you attract them to you.

When you are complaining, you become a living, breathing “crap magnet.”

2. Rich people play the money game to win. Poor people play the money game to not lose.

Usually poor people want to have enough money to pay the bills. They want just enough to cover their necessities.

While the middle-class people are a little step further, they want just enough money to feel comfortable.

Rich people on the other hand are playing the money game to win big, they want massive wealth. Their goal is to be rich, not to have enough to pay the bills or have enough to just be comfortable.

If your goal is to be comfortable, chances are you’ll never get rich. But if your goal is to be rich, chances are you’ll end up mighty comfortable.

3. Rich people are committed to being rich. Poor people want to be rich.

While everyone wants to be rich and have a lot of money, not everyone is willing to make the commitment to get there. And one of the reasons most people don’t get there is because they have negative thoughts around making money.

Eker gives real life examples of thoughts that some people has shared with him like, “what if I make it and lose it? Then I’ll really be a failure” or “it’s too much work,” or “I could be robbed,” or “I’ll never know if people like me for myself or my money,” and so on.

One minute the universe hears that you want to be rich, so it begins sending you opportunities for wealth. But then it hears you say “Rich people are greedy,” so the universe begins to support you in not having much money. But then you think, “Having a lot of money makes life so much more enjoyable,” so the poor universe, dazed and confused, re-starts sending you opportunities for more money. The next day you’re in an uninspired mood so you think, “Money’s not that important.”

The frustrated universe finally screams, “Make up your frickin’ mind! I’ll get you what you want, just tell me what it is!”

4. Rich people think big. Poor people think small.

How many people do you deliver your services or knowledge to? How many people do you affect? Rich people always think big, they want to reach and affect as many people as they can.

He gives an example for trainers in his business and how each vary, some are comfortable in training a class of only 20 people while others would rather have 1000 people or more per class. Obviously, each of these people are paid differently.

If you are going into a business with the intention to just succeed in this one project, this is what you will get; one successful project, and an okay financial outcome. But if you are going in with the intention of creating a brand of 100 successful projects, that’s what you’ll get and that’s how you’ll become rich.

Most people choose to play and think small either because they are afraid of failure, or they don’t have enough confidence in themselves and what they’re capable of. But when you think small, you act small and therefore you affect a small number of people, while when you think big, it leads you to big actions and a meaningful life where you help as many people as possible with your services and knowldege.

Your life is not just about you. It’s also about contributing to others. It’s about being true to your mission and reason for being here on this earth at this time…Most people are so stuck in their egos that everything revolves around me, me, and more me. But if you want to be rich in the truest sense of the word, it can’t only be about you. It has to include adding value to other people’s lives.

5. Rich people focus on opportunities. Poor people focus on obstacles.

The difference between the poor, the middle-class, and the rich in looking at a certain situation/opportunity:

The poor, “What if it doesn’t work?” or “It won’t work.”
The middle-class, “I sure hope this works.”
The rich, “It will work because I will make it work.”

Do you want some simple but extremely rare advice? Here it is: If you want to get rich, focus on making, keeping, and investing your money. If you want to be poor, focus on spending your money. You can read a thousand books and take a hundred courses on success, but it all boils down to that. Remember, what you focus on expands.

6. Rich people admire other rich and successful people. Poor people resent rich and successful people.

He states here that one of the reasons that poor people can’t seem to get rich is that they often view rich people as bad people. If you think they’re bad people, and you want to be a good person then, by default, you will never be one of them.

And he gives an example of when he found himself being treated with resentment whenever he would pass by poor areas where some of the people there would look at him and treat him as some kind of an evil person. Some would go as far as insulting him or throwing stuff at him, just because he was driving an expensive car, but then when he went to the same neighbourhood with a somewhat cheaper car, no one seemed to bother him or even notice him.

He then shares another story about when he, himself, at some point in his life, was of those people who criticized rich people and felt they were sometimes greedy or thought they were cold and unfriendly, and how that changed when he became rich, moved to a rich neighbourhood and started interacting with other rich people to find that they were the exact opposite of what he expected them to be; some of the most kind, friendly, and charitable people he has ever met.

…”Bless that which you want.” If you see a person with a beautiful home, bless that person and bless that home. If you see a person with a beautiful car, bless that person and bless that car. If you see a person with a beautiful family, bless that person and bless that family. If you see a person with a beautiful body, bless that person and bless that body.

7. Rich people associate with positive, successful people. Poor people associate with negative or unsuccessful people.

Rich people are always learning from those who achieved wealth before them. They look for ways to get in touch with those people and learn from their mistakes, know how they think, and maybe even copy their steps to achieve their own financial success. They think, “If they can do it, I can do it.”

While most poor people only surround themselves with similarly poor people and when they hear of people’s success they often tend to judge them and bring them down. He explains that energy is contagious, so if you surround yourself with negative people, that’s what you’ll get, more negativity. However, if you surround yourself with successful and positive-minded people, that’s what you’ll end up becoming.

If you want to fly with the eagles, don’t swim with the ducks.

8. Rich people are willing to promote themselves and their value. Poor people think negatively about selling and promotion.

This is about how people view the concept of “marketing and promotion.”

Some people maybe dislike it due to their own negative experience of having other people promoting their unwanted services to them and so they don’t feel like promoting is the right way to get there. Others may think that it is not proper manners to praise your own service or product. While some people think if you want their product, you should find them on your own, and they think of promoting as something that is beneath them.

But regardless of your take on promotion and marketing yourself or your services, if you are not going to use every suitable opportunity you get to promote, you will most likely never get rich. And it is quite logical, if no one knows about you and what you do, no one will be asking for your services or buying your products.

Rich people are almost always excellent promoters. They can and are willing to promote their products, their services, and their ideas with passion and enthusiasm. What’s more, they’re skilled at packaging their value in a way that’s extremely attractive.

If you think there’s something wrong with that, then let’s ban makeup for women, and while we are at it, we might as well get rid of suits for men. All that is nothing more than “packaging.”

9. Rich people are bigger than their problems. Poor people are smaller than their problems.

Getting rich is hard work, and it is full of obstacles and possible risks and problems. Poor people often avoid anything that may lead to a problem. So it’s hard for them to accept any form of challenge, because challenges often come with problems. Rich people on the other hand work on themselves so hard so that whenever a problem arises it wouldn’t affect their journey, they will deal with it and keep going.

He gives an example to help you see the difference, comparing your own strength level as a person and how big or small a problem is on a scale of 1 to 10. If you are a person with a strength and knowledge of a level 2 and you face a problem of a level 5, this will definitely be a big problem which you will find hard to overcome.

Now if you work on yourself and grow and become a person of level 8 and face the exact same level 5 problem, you will feel like you can handle it; it’s just a small problem now.

And if you work even harder on yourself and become a level 10 person, would a problem with level 5 even affect you in anyway? Most likely, not. You will no longer even view it as a problem, you will just deal with it as a normal task on the way.

The secret to success is not to try to avoid or get rid of or shrink from your problems; the secret is to grow yourself so that you are bigger than any problem.

10. Rich people are excellent receivers. Poor people are poor receivers.

He explains here how important it is to be willing and accepting to receive and how most poor people have difficulty with that.

Most people think they are simply unworthy or undeserving of receiving things. He addresses how low self-esteem and how the way some people were raised as children can become a major factor affecting their ability to feel worthy enough to receive more.

Can you imagine a squirrel saying, “I’m not going to collect many nuts this year to prepare for winter because I’m unworthy”? Doubtful, because these low-intelligence creatures would never do that to themselves. Only the most evolved creature on the planet, the human being, has the ability to limit itself like this. …If a hundred-foot oak tree had the mind of a human, it would only grow to be ten feet tall!

Others believe that it is better to just be a giver than to be a receiver. And to them he explains that this is not true. You must be willing to receive just as much as you are willing to give. If you work hard for something, then you are in every way deserving to receive the rewards.

Giving and receiving are two sides of the same coin. Whoever decided that it is better to give than to receive was simply bad at math. For every giver there must be a receiver, and for every receiver there must be a giver.

And living with this concept does not only apply to money but to everything else in life. Once you are willing to receive, you will be receiving more of everything; more love, more peace, more happiness, and so on.

How you do anything is how you do everything.

11. Rich people choose to get paid based on results. Poor people choose to get paid based on time.

Most poor people prefer to be paid for their time, to receive the same amount of money at the same time every month. Because this creates more security. But if they only make money for security, then fear is their motivation. So, instead of going for wealth, they settle for just enough to survive.

Rich people prefer to get paid based on their performance, what they create, the results they provide. And this allows them to get paid in percentage or have commission or live off profits of their business.

Poor people would fear taking such step because there is no guarantee that they will succeed if they go ahead and start their own business and start getting paid for their worth and their value. And there are indeed no guarantees. Just as there is no guarantee that someone will lead a happy and successful life living paycheck-to-paycheck.

Rich people believe in themselves. They believe in their value and in their ability to deliver it. Poor people don’t. That’s why they need “guarantees.”

12. Rich people think “both.” Poor people think “either/or.”

Now this is one of my favourite parts in the book. He says that the difference between the rich and the poor is that the rich live in a world of abundance and the poor live in a world of limitations.

Poor and most middle-class people come from scarcity. They live by mottos such as “…. you can’t have everything.” And although you may not be able to have “everything,” as in all the things in the world, I do think you can certainly have “everything you really want.”

They often think that you can either have money or have happiness; you can either have a secure, well-paying job or do what you love; you can either focus on business or have fun; there is always an either/or question.

Rich people use their mind and their creativity to find a way to have the best of both worlds; to be rich and also be happy, to work hard and also have time for their family.

Rich people don’t have the either/or mindset, instead they think, “How can I have both?”

Rich people believe “You can have your cake and eat it too!”
Middle-class people believe “Cake is too rich, so I’ll only have a little piece.”
Poor people don’t believe they deserve cake, so they order a doughnut, focus on the hole, and wonder why they have “nothing.”

13. Rich people focus on their net worth. Poor people focus on their working income.

Here you get the difference between your income and your net worth. Net worth is financial value of everything you own. While working income is the money you get every month for your active working hours plus the one you get from your passive income. And that is only one of the four factors affecting your net worth.

Rich people focus on building their net worth as opposed to just focusing on increasing their active working income alone.

The four net worth factors are:

1. Income
2. Savings
3. Investments
4. Simplifications

He explains each one of them and then gives you examples on how to achieve all four to create your own net worth.

14. Rich people manage their money well. Poor people mismanage their money well.

You learn here that one of the differences between rich and poor is that rich people know exactly how to manage their money to make them more money. While most poor people would think that you first need to have a lot of money in order to start managing it, but the thing is, if you don’t know how to manage your money, you will never have a lot of it. It’s when you manage it that you start saving more, investing more, and therefore making more.

He also advices you on how to manage your money and divide it on separate accounts for investment, saving, leisure spending, education, giving, and life necessities.

Until you show you can handle what you’ve got, you won’t get any more!

15. Rich people have their money work hard for them. Poor people work hard for their money.

This is one of the first things I learned and which made me realize that I need to start going for the passive income route if I ever want to achieve financial freedom.

In this file, Eker explains that most people aren’t even aware of the concept that you can make your money work for you, and that is why they never stop working for it.

On the other hand, rich people know that they need to work hard for their money until they make enough of it, that their money can take over and start working for them. The trick to be able to achieve this is to get educated on the different methods you can invest your money.

And he says that there are two primary sources of passive income: You either have your “money working for you” which means you go for investment options like funds, stock, etc, or you have your “business working for you” which is through gaining profits off your own business such as book or music royalties, or courses, etc..; and most rich people do both.

He also emphasizes on the importance of starting to get involved in real estate as soon as you can.

While poor people see a dollar as a dollar to trade for somethings they want right now, rich people see every dollar as a “seed” that can be planted to earn more dollars, which can then be replanted to earn a thousand more dollars.

16. Rich people act in spite of fear. Poor people let fear stop them.

In this wealth file, he explains that both rich and poor people have doubts, fears, and worries, the difference is the rich don’t let those feelings stop them from taking a step forward.

Poor people don’t like leaving their comfort zone. They only do what’s convenient and what makes them comfortable, and escape from anything that makes them feel any kind of worry or discomfort, when the only way to actually learn and grow is by getting out of your comfort zone.

If you are willing to do only what’s easy, life will be hard. But if you are willing to do what’s hard, life will be easy.

17. Rich people constantly learn and grow. Poor people think they already know.

The difference here is that rich people don’t stop learning. They never assume that they now know everything. And because they keep learning, they keep growing, and they become the best at what they do. And when you are the best at what you do, you get paid the best.

You can be right or you can be rich, but you can’t be both.

4. Declarations

After every lesson in this book, you get some form of conclusion and, throughout the book, by the end of every lesson, he gives you a “declaration, ” and encourages you to declare it, out loud.

This declaration can be the form of change or the decision that you will make to transform your life and your thoughts to become more open to financial success and overcome any previously inherited thoughts or beliefs that may have interfered with you moving forward.

He believes that the declarations you make to yourself are a powerful secret for change. And he explains the difference between an affirmation and a declaration is that: An affirmation is using a positive statement to state that a goal you wish to achieve is already happening, while a declaration is you stating your intentions that you are willing to undertake a certain course of action to achieve a goal.

And he thinks that the former doesn’t usually work because we often know deep down that it is not really true, while the latter is more believable and effective.

Now I have to admit that when I first heard of all this, I said, “No way. This declaration stuff is too hokey for me.” But because I was broke at the time, I decided, “What the heck, it can’t hurt,” and started doing them. Now I’m rich, so it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that I believe that declarations really work.

Either way, I’d rather be really hokey and really rich than really cool and really broke.

5. Millionaire Mind Actions

After you read the declarations at the end of every wealth file, he gives you a list of things that you need to do in order to train yourself to act and think like the rich.

Every one of the 17 wealth files has a list of actions for you to do to be able to apply these lessons to your own life.

I will end this post with another one of my favourite quotes from the book:

Money will only make you more of what you already are. If you’re mean, money will afford you the opportunity to be meaner. If you’re kind, money will afford you the opportunity to be kinder. If you’re a jerk at heart, with more money you can be jerkier. (I know there’s no such word, but if you’re a real jerk, you’ll find a way.) If you’re generous, more money will allow you to be more generous. And anyone who tells you different is broke!

If you found this post anywhere near helpful or inspiring, let me tell you that the book is 100 times more helpful and more inspiring!

This one is probably my longest post so far and I still couldn’t contain even half the thoughts and ideas I got out of the book. I honestly can’t recommend it enough. So, go ahead and read it!

Till next week, happy days!

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8 Steps To Achieve Anything You Want In Life

This post walks you through everything you need to start achieving your life goals today! Plus 8 practical steps you can easily follow and apply to every goal you have.

Most of us run into many great ideas and read inspiring articles or books that have practical thoughts and ways to improve our lives, but how many of us actually take the time to apply any of it? Well, not many.


Jump to:


As far as I can remember, I never really had a life goal that I was pursuing. If I ever had a goal it was usually short-term and more often than not I’d get bored or lose hope and give up in a few weeks.

In my opinion, I think there two types of people out there: Those who achieve great things and those who spend their lives wondering (me in the past).

And the difference between the two is that one of them took the time to realize what they want out of life and then took action, while the other is just living in a hamster-wheel kind of life where they are preoccupied by their routine to the point that they have no clue what they really want out of life; and, unfortunately, most of them don’t even realize it until very late in life.

I have read so many books and watched countless videos on self-development and how to progress in life; how to plan and set goals and achieve them. However, I haven’t ever sat down and collected all those things that I learned and created one big summary that I can actually follow myself.

And I didn’t realize how much my life was lacking until I decided to do just that a while back, and words can’t begin to describe how much my life has changed since then.

So, in this post, I am sharing that summary of everything I learned about life goals and how to achieve them.

A dream is a dream.

A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline.

Harvey Mackay

Why should you have a goal? And how do you choose it?

I believe that there is no greater waste than a life without a goal. Goals give you a vision as to where your life is headed and motivation to keep going and keep getting better. Having a goal helps you make the most out of life and, in successfully achieving your goal, it gives you a sense of pride and confidence.

But what kind of goal should you have? Well, you can have goals in all aspects of life. You can have a goal for your health, your personal life, your finances, your spiritual wellness, etc.

And while it is important to have a goal for every major aspect in your life, it is, also, equally important to realize that it is kind of impossible to do all of them at the same time.

Meaning, if your goals are to be fit, and to be rich, and to meditate every day, and to travel the world, and to get married, and you go ahead and attempt to do all of those things at the same time with an equal amount of attention, thinking you can balance everything, chances are you will either give up completely or, if you’re really special, you will manage to have a mediocre achievement in one, or maybe two, of them.

But in order to truly manage to achieve everything you want, you need to focus only on one or two main goals. Those should be the ones that have 80% of your time and attention. Once you have achieved those goals, or at least reached to a point of confidence that you are well on your way now, you can then move on the next major goal on your list.

And when deciding which goal or which aspect of your life you need to focus on right now, it is best if you ask yourself: which one of them that, if you achieve it, will make achieving everything else easier?

When you answer this question, you will have decided on your goal and you can then go ahead and start working on it.

How do you set a SMART goal?

It is not enough to just have an idea of what you want, to be able to achieve your goal, it needs to be a SMART goal. There are several meanings for a SMART goal, but this is the one I choose to go by:

  • Specific (exact target, be as descriptive as you can)
  • Measurable (you can easily see or feel the target achieved)
  • Action-oriented (has a clear plan with actions you can follow to reach that goal)
  • Relevant (be certain it is relevant to you and your actual desire in life)
  • Time-bound (has a realistic and flexible deadline)

For example, your financial goal can’t just be “I want to be rich;” however, it can be something like, “3 years from now, I want to have 1 million in my bank account through real estate investments.”

Make sure you also write that goal down on a paper and have that goal in front of you at all times.

To be honest, I’ve always wondered what difference it would make if the goal is on a paper or a note on my phone or just in my head, I mean I already know what I want. But I found that just the simple act of writing the goal and reading it every day makes it more tangible and that makes a huge impact. Because, without even realizing it, everything you do subconsciously leads you to achieving that goal, the more you read it and recite it the more real it becomes in your head.

Live your life as if all your dreams have come true then challenge your reality to catch up.

Dan Lok

What happens between setting the goal and achieving it?

After you have a clear specific goal to achieve, now comes the real work. Because there is a huge gap between setting a goal and achieving that goal, and in that gap usually lies the “planning.”

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Most of us can get to the part where we decide what we want to achieve and have a very good reason as to why we do; however, the reason many of us don’t manage to achieve those goals is because we don’t take the time to actually plan how we are going to get there.

In order to set the right plan for your goal, you will need to break it down into smaller goals and then set a plan to achieve those smaller ones.

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.

Benjamin Franklin

The 8 steps to follow to achieve any goal you have in life

In this example, I will have a hypothetical scenario for a financial goal for myself and then follow the steps it takes to create a practical and realistic plan for that goal. I chose a financial goal since it is easier to explain with numbers.

1. What is your major financial goal in life?

I want to have financial freedom where I wouldn’t need to have a job to have an income.

This is the big picture, the ultimate goal, but put in a vague statement. So, I need to be more specific.

2. How to change that into a SMART goal?

By the year 2029, I want to have one-million pounds through real estate investments.

Now this is a clear goal that I can start working on.

3. How do you break down this ultimate goal into smaller targets?

  • Ten-year goal: one million
  • Five-year goal: 500K
  • One-year goal: 100K
  • Monthly goal: 8.4K
  • Weekly goal: 2.1K
  • Daily goal: 300

So I broke that major goal down to the point where I know how much money I will need to make on daily basis so that I can achieve the weekly goal, to achieve the monthly goal, to achieve the yearly goal to reach my ultimate goal.

If I don’t manage to hit the daily goal, I will fail to meet the weekly one and therefore the monthly one and so on. So it is very important that you know how your every day activity is going to contribute to the final result.

4. What are the requirements to get there?

This is where I set a list of all the resources, the skills, the knowledge I will need to be able to achieve these goals.

For this example

  • I need to find more ways to make money so that I can meet my daily goal every day.
  • I need to set a budget to be able to save enough money for investment.
  • I need to establish a few sources for real estate investment.
  • I need to learn more about finance, money, and time management.

5. What kind of obstacles may you face along the way?

It is important that if I want to have a realistic plan and have one step ahead is to make sure I study all the possibilities and expect any kind of obstacle, so that when it happens, I am prepared.

The possible obstacles in this scenario are:

  • I may not be able to save enough money for investment.
  • I may fail at one of the investment choices I put my money into and therefore lose money.

6. What do you need to do to avoid/overcome those obstacles?

After I think of the obstacles, it’s time to study the methods through which I can resolve such obstacles whenever they arise.

  • So, I may need to spend more time learning more skills to widen my job opportunities.
  • I need to make sure I stick to the budget I set and cut down unnecessary spending.
  • Contact people who are more knowledgeable and can help me find better ways to invest my money.
  • Do my research before I put my money into any kind of investment.

And, most important of all, I need to accept that eventually there is always a chance of failure in anything in life; so, in the worst case scenario where that happens, I need to take that with a positive mindset to be able to move forward and not be stuck in that one point of failure.

7. Set a schedule

After we set the goal, break it down, study the requirements, the obstacles and how to resolve them, comes the time to put down a strategy to achieve that goal.

Meaning, I need to write down my daily tasks that will lead me to achieve the daily, weekly, and monthly goals.

When setting the daily tasks or my to-do list, it is also helpful to prioritize them. So, I’d think of the most important thing that absolutely has to be done that day. Then ask if I could only finish two things today, what would I do next? And so on, until I have a list of all the important things that need to be done according to their priority.

Here’s a to-do list for our example:

  1. Work 6-7 hours on writing/design tasks to be able to meet the daily goal of 300 pounds.
  2. Study 1 hour of Finance course.
  3. 30 minutes for myself and my well-being (workout, meditate, or interact with family or friends, etc..).
  4. Pitch for new clients.
  5. Do research on the investment options I have.
  6. Read book on time management

I can also go ahead and set the exact hour of day I will be doing those things to be even more organized.

This way, every day I will have a clear idea of what needs to be done in order to get closer to achieving that one ultimate goal. And now I am ready to take action!

8. Share your goal

The last step after I have done all the planning is to share my goal with someone. This could be a family member or a friend (or in my case, a blog, online for everyone to see…) because they will hold me accountable, and this will give me a push to achieve that goal, especially in those moments when things get tough and I may feel like giving up on it.

It will also make it more real, because now it is not just in my head or on a paper on my desk, it is out there and other people know about it too.

This, in a slightly large nutshell, is everything I learned about planning and setting achievable goals for myself.

One last thing to remember:

There are no unreasonable goals, only unreasonable deadlines.

Brian Tracy

Till next week, happy days!

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