11 Principles To Spark Creativity, Success & Fulfillment

I have 17 years of formal schooling under my belt but no class taught me more than “The Creative Process” my Senior year in college.  

Despite the fact that my profession is in business, this class taught me much more than any business class that claimed it would “prepare me for the real world”.  Bullshit.

I can learn that assets – liabilities = equities in a book.  

The purpose of this post isn’t to hate on traditional schooling.  It’s to call out the teachers that think outside the box and what I learned from this brilliant professor.  I hope it helps you to do something great today.

This professor had true wisdom.  

On the first day of class, he gave us a small sheet of paper with 11 topics principles on it.  

These principles are the basis of life. 

Follow these and you’ll be on a path to a fulfilled life.  Here they are:

Passion For Work

I’ve talked about this before.  Find what you love to do and make money doing that thing.  Not sure what your passion is? Try a bunch of stuff and you’ll figure it out.  I love sales and building relationships and solving problems so that’s what I do for money.  I also love to write and podcast so that’s what I do on my “off-hours.”

Sense Of Humor  

The average child laughs 300 times a day and the average adult only laughs 5 times.  How messed up is that?

Don’t take yourself so seriously.

Ease up, and don’t be afraid to be a goofball every once in a while.

Sense Of Beauty

Stop reading this for a second.  

Look around the room you’re in.

I can’t see it but I bet it’s fucking beautiful.  

The chair you’re sitting on, the plant in the corner, the view from the window.

Look for beauty and you’ll find it.

What you seek is seeking you.

Sense Of History

Study history – be it a biography of someone, a book on Ancient Rome or by talking to a World War II veteran.

Knowing the past will help you to understand the present and future.  

Analysis

 Set goals for yourself and write them down.  Check your progress incrementally.

What 2 mm shift can you make that would benefit your life?

Pain

We will all experience pain: losing money, the passing of a friend, a tough break-up.

But as Elie Wiesel says, “The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference.”

Don’t shy away from things because of the chance that they’ll be painful.  

Two and a half years ago, I got dumped.  I got blindsided and, to put it lightly, didn’t take it well.  It took time to put things back together.  Although I couldn’t see it at the time, it was one of the best things that happened to me.  It opened me up to move across the country, to put an emphasis on new experiences and led to my current relationship, which makes me puts me on cloud 9.

If you’re going through hell, keep going. It gets better.

Courage

Courage is not the absence of fear, but the willingness to proceed in spite of it.  The first time you do it takes courage. Then, you get confident and it’s smooth sailing from there.

Curiosity

They say the best salespeople aren’t the smoothest talkers, they’re the most curious and best listeners.  

Be curious about how things work and in how people work.

This is why certain podcasts work and others don’t.  In the best shows, the host has done their homework.  They are in the “now” and genuinely curious about their guest.  They ask great questions – not just reading them off of a sheet.

If you are genuinely curious about other people, they’ll like you more.

Fluency

I don’t mean that you need to go learn to speak Spanish, although I’m sure that has great benefits too.

The word “fluency” actually means the ability to express oneself easily and articulately.  

This is a challenge for most people creating content, myself included.  “What will my co-workers think about my latest blog?  Will they still like me?  What if everyone laughs at me?”  These thoughts held me back from publishing for months.  It’s actually very interesting that the opposite is true.  People want to hear from their peers.

If you’re thinking about going for it – stop thinking, and just do.

Be you. Authenticity is the key to life. 

Divergent Thinking

I hate when people say “Ugh, I can’t do this, I’ve tried EVERYTHING!”.  Really? You’ve tried every single thing anyone has ever thought of?  That’s unlikely. 

We all (should) know Kevin Garnett’s famous rant that “Anything is possible!”.  He’s right.

If something doesn’t work, pivot.  And keep pivoting until it works.

Inspiration

This goes both ways.  

I start every day getting inspired – listening to a podcast or reading something powerful.  It’s a muscle that needs to be worked every day.

But the part most people leave out is paying that forward. Share your story, help others to get better.  I hope one person reading this gets inspired to do something great today. 

Be the hero in your own story.

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