Category Archives: Learning

5 Ways to Spark Your Creativity

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Feeling stuck or mentally blocked? I find that there are a number of ways that help me get the creative juices flowing.

Here are my top 5 tips to stimulating the creativity muscle:

1) Spend time in silence

I meditate most days and even spend time driving around in my car in silence. Stopping for a few moments and taking a break from absorbing information or concentrating on a project really helps me open up to new ideas and methods for tackling a project.

2) Writing

I use Julia Cameron’s technique of writing morning pages each day to clear out the mental junk in my head and open up space for creativity. Check out the “Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron for more information.

3) Having Great Conversations

This is a really helpful practice to getting you inspired and energized. I find that if I’m feeling blocked, and I have a great conversation with somebody, I immediately benefit from the inspiration and ideas that come to me. My 30 day challenge idea came from a great conversation.

4) Cross functional activities

If you focus too much on one area, you’ll find that your creativity is limited. Try exposing yourself to new books, activities and people. I got really into rock climbing last year, and it was a fantastic way for me to learn about myself and also think about things differently.

5) Read good books

I usually read a lot of non-fiction but recently I started reading more literature. I finished “Pride and Prejudice” and now i’m working on “The Great Gatsby”. Good books are awesome at stimulating the brain in different ways.

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Should I Get an MBA ?

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I’ve been thinking a lot recently about whether or not I should consider getting an MBA. In conversations with business people, academics and friends, I’ve gotten pretty mixed responses about what the perceived value of an MBA is. There are tons of articles out there siting both the benefits and disadvantages of an MBA.

A mentor of mine who has an MBA in addition to a number of other credentials states he thinks the market is saturated with MBAs and so I’d be better off getting a more technical credential such as an accounting designation. His reasoning is that these days, specific skill sets and applied education are more marketable to employers.

Part of the reason why I want to get an MBA is because I would like to get some more formal education. I learn a lot from reading, keeping up to date with the latest industry trends and having great conversations, but it isn’t quite the same as completing a MBA. I remember when I was finishing my undergraduate degree in business administration and I took fantastic class on business strategy. Working with my professor and with my peers, I challenged myself in ways that I just don’t get to do anymore. There was something invigorating about trying to solve business problems with a group of people who are all highly invested in the outcome.

Josh Kaufman wrote a great book called “The Personal MBA“, which delves into this subject at length. The primary idea in his book is that an MBA can be useful; however, it depends on what you want to do with it. He argues that if you want to be an entrepreneur, then classroom learning might not the right fit. As an entrepreneur, I’ve always learned best by trial and error. Another factor he raises is cost. The reality is that MBAs can be extremely expensive these days and depending on the type of job or project you work on after graduation, it could be years before you recoup the benefit from lost time and money.

At this point, I’m still on the fence on whether or not an MBA is the right choice for me. I do want to work towards building a venture but i’m not sure if an MBA will get me there.

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3 TED Talk Playlists I’m Watching Right Now

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Last year, I made a commitment to try to watch a TED Talk every morning while I ate breakfast. This lasted for a few weeks but in that time, I absorbed an enormous amount of ideas, inspiration and actionable steps for creating great work.

Recently, I noticed that TED now has playlists which are organized by topic or by an individual. This is awesome! I normally find TED Talks by browsing or clicking on a link through Facebook. Having a collection of videos on one topic, in one place is great for absorbing tons of ideas worth spreading.

If you’re looking for a little Sunday motivation, check out these three awesome TED Talk playlists I’m watching right now. (I’ve noticed you can’t embed playlists the same way you share individual talks so the playlist links are embedded in the titles) I’ve embedded my favorite video from each playlist into the post.

1) Work smarter (11 talks)

Work smarter is a fantastic collection of TED Talks including some of my favorite authors such as Simon Sinek (Start with Why), Shawn Achor (The Happiness Advantage) and Jason Fried (37 Signals).

2) The Creative Spark (10 talks)

The Creative Spark includes inspiring talks by Elizabeth Gilbert (Your elusive creative genius), Ken Robinson (Schools kill creativity) and David Kelly (How to build your creative confidence). Elizabeth Gilbert’s talk is one my absolute favorite TED Talks.

3) A Better You (11 talks)

The A Better You playlist is a collection of success masters ranging from John Wooden to Tony Robbins. Make sure to check out Matt Cutt’s talk on “Try something new for 30 days”.

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