Here are a few bite size ideas from No More Mondays. They aren’t long enough to deserve their own posts, but are worth mentioning. The first is about the importance to focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses. The second is a case study of how a very creative person would tap into his creativity:
In the sixth grade, a teacher told my friend Phil that the “secret to life is to focus on your weaknesses.” So for the next thirty years he worked on those areas where he was weakest. He struggled with accounting, with organization, and with ordering and inventory control. He ultimately developed some pretty strong…weaknesses. Then he discovered the power of focusing on your strengths. He surrounded himself with people who were more competent in all the areas where he was weak. He allowed them to do what they did well while he did the same.
Now, in my opinion, this is business advice from Dan, not advice for your personal life. In our personal lives we should dedicate significant amounts of time to overcoming our weaknesses, instead of delegating them. Say, for example, you are not good at communicating your feelings to your significant other. If you followed Dan’s business approach, you may find someone else to communicate to your significant other for you. This will not improve the relationship; partners must communicate their feelings directly to each other.
Business is about finding the fastest and most efficient way to deliver a product or service; thus focusing on strengths and delegating. Life, on the other hand, is about learning and improving.
Tapping Your Creativity
Thomas Edison had an intriguing way of tapping into the mixture of thoughts and dreams we all have in those moments just before we fall asleep–a highly creative state of mind. Daniel Goleman, Paul Kaufman, and Michael Ray, the authors of The Creative Spirit, explain his method: “He would doze off in a chair with his arms and hands draped over the arm rests. In each hand he held a ball bearing. Below each hand on the floor were two pie plates. When he drifted into the state between waking and sleeping, his hands would naturally relax and the ball bearings would drop on the plates. Awakened by the noise, Edison would immediately make notes on any ideas that had come to him.”
Isn’t it strange how the time between waking and sleeping does give us so many creative ideas? I keep a pen and notepad next to my bed, just in case I get a flash of inspiration. At night, before falling asleep, I usually have lots of ideas; I won’t claim that all of them are creative, but some have been winners. I don’t use Edison’s plate method since currently only own four plates (don’t know why we’ve never bought more), so can’t afford to lose any.
The take home lessons from today: in your business endeavors, focus on your strengths and delegate your weaknesses. Also, find when you are most creative, nurture those moments, and make sure you write down your ideas.