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“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” Maya Angelou
It’s not just celebrated artistic geniuses like Leonardo da Vinci and Walt Disney who are creative – you are too!
You can see your creative genius in action by looking at what you do for yourself when you’re not worried about the opinions of others:
- Timetabling and juggling everything into a busy day takes a lot of strategic thought and strategy is creativity
- Deciphering forecasts from numbers on a spreadsheet comes through creative analysis
- Thinking up a workout routine that you’ll actually keep to is creative
In business however, people tend to search outwards for answers rather than trusting in their own inner creativity. You can feel like you’re talking about the same old things all the time or stuck in marketing avenues that lead nowhere. You’re unsure of taking strategic risks when the crowd is all going another way.
I want you to start thinking of yourself as a creative person. You want to take the creativity that flows so easily when you’re on your own and bring it into your business decisions – especially the ones that feel governed by other people’s agendas.
To help you do this, here are a few books from my bookshelf that are very juicy for the brain and help excercise your neurons (almost) painlessly. They’re really enjoyable to read and I hope they’re as good for you as they are for me.
I’ve linked to Amazon (affiliate links) so you can read other people’s reviews too and have the option to order through Audible if you prefer listening to your books.
If you want to support your local bookstore, simply jot down the ISBN number and they should be able to order the books in for you.
This is one of my favourite books of all time. The cover says it’s a “discovery and understanding of the boundlessness of our own human potential” and it lives up to this in spades.
The book is divided into three parts. It starts by introducing us to how our brain is better than we think and there’s an account of Leonardo da Vinci’s life. Then it covers the seven “Da Vincian” principles in detail and includes very good and enjoyable exercises to help us absorb the teachings. The third part is a short drawing course that covers the basics. It’s not intimidating.
I have read this book cover-to-cover many times and it’s my go-to when I’m stressed or confused about something. It’s not advertised as a self-help book but it’s one of the best I’ve ever read.
There’s an accompanying workbook but I haven’t got that one yet.
This book is 300 pages of densely packed information and exercises designed to develop your mental muscles around generating new ideas and solving problems.
It was first published in 1970 and my paperback version is from 2015. The font is small but there are wide margins to make it a little easier on the eyes.
There is so much to learn in this book that my favourite way of “reading” it is by opening it at random and studying whichever lesson/exercise I land on. One of my most useful problem solving skills came from this book through an exercise where they teach you to take any random object in the room and use it to solve a problem you’re facing. Pure genius.
I brought this book in 2001 and it’s so good it’s constantly being reprinted. I’m an NLP Master (qualified 2006) and still find myself going back to this book for the exercises.
It’s easy to forget that as we get older, our world-view and priorities change so it’s important to check-in from time to time to make sure our minds and our hearts are in synch.
This book teaches the NLP core principles and has a plethora of exercises with a self-help vibe. It helps you understand yourself and there’s a focus on becoming a better communicator and influencer. It’s NLP so of course, you will learn to see and address your limiting beliefs and at the end of it all, you’ll realise it’s okay to be you.
A lot of people think that creativity is a jumble of mess and disorganisation. In reality, creativity is clean and orderly. Think of creativity like plasticine. You can build plasticine models on carpet and grass, but they stand up so much better when they’re built on a smooth flat surface.
NLP defuzzes your mind to give creativity a firm foundation.
View: NLP Workbook
All my book recommendations so far have been rich in exercises. That’s because creativity is an active process, not passive.
But now, here’s something slightly different for when you don’t want to think in an exercise kind of way. You want to stretch your mind and get it used to thinking flexibly about things that are hard. But you want to do it in a way that doesn’t bore you rigid.
I love technology, science and mystery but not to the level that I want to be a quantum physicist or anything. Fuzzy Logic is a book that gives me a taste of the things I love but without any pressure to sit an exam afterwards. Reading for knowledge is a wonderful path to creativity because you’re exploring a subject out of your own free will. Your concentration is high and your brain is happy to be busy with all the new concepts it’s being fed.
Fuzzy Logic might not be the right book for you. One way to find a topic that will work for you is to pick one of your old interests that you had to set aside as life took over. Here are the rules:
- Don’t pick a topic you do as a job or a hobby
- Pick a subject you deeply want to explore because it will make concentration easier, which is half the battle when you’re trying to exercise your brain
- No autobiographies because they are passive reading and you want your brain to move some muscle
View: Fuzzy Logic
Your Creative Genius Awaits
Everyone’s creative but because modern life gives us so much, it’s easy to confuse fun creativity with the kind of creativity that keeps the brain strong, agile and problem-solving.
Out of all the people who would have scrolled by this article or clicked away after a few seconds, you’ve read to the end because you were curious about my book recommendations. Which means you enjoy books and you enjoy words. The more you read, the more creative you become because words are the building blocks of thoughts and reading helps you string words together in so many different ways that new concepts appear as if by magic.
Have a wonderful creative journey. Email me, tell me what you’re reading too.