7 Ways to Truly Inspire Great Ideas by Steve Bloom

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The power of a truly great idea can’t be understated. With one great idea, you could build a multi-million dollar business. You could solve the world’s problems. One great idea could change your life.

Having the ability to come up with great ideas is a highly prized skill. But how exactly do people come up with them? Some people seem to think it’s all about inspiration – the kind that just strikes whenever it wants.

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It’s like the story of Isaac Newton. This is something we’ve all heard before.

Newton was sitting under a tree when an apple fell and bumped him on the head.

Immediately Newton was struck with a brilliant idea – the theory of gravity. In an instant, he changed how people see the world.

The big problem with this story is that it’s not true. Newton didn’t come up with his idea of gravity in an instant. It took a long time of thinking and working out the math.

But this instance is how many people look at generating ideas. They think it happens at a single moment when inspiration comes to them.

The problem with this way of seeing ideas is that it’s passive. Ideas come to you.

That’s not how ideas work. You have to actively be seeking them out; it takes some work to get there. If you just wait for them, a truly creative idea will probably never come to you.

If you want your life to change with a brilliant new idea, you have to be on the lookout for them. They don’t just happen out of thin air.

Be active, not passive.

Do things that mentally stimulate your brain so that ideas can be born.

Things like:

1. Surrounding yourself with brilliant thinkers

Great ideas don’t usually form alone. They often come from interactions with have with others. A small idea gets bounced back and forth in conversation until something extraordinary comes out of it.

Read the rest here:  http://addicted2success.com/success-advice/7-ways-to-inspire-truly-great-ideas/

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10 Reasons Why Exercise Makes You Better at Your Job by Reine Farhat

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Sports have always been a big part of life, beginning when I was a kid. My father’s way of teaching me how to swim was by throwing me in the water and telling me to fight and try every possible way to get to the surface. This approach has actually helped me overcome any potential fears I may have had, and ever since, I have used sports to get through long study nights and long working hours.

For entrepreneurs who are working hard to build startups, and their employees, exercise is crucial for keeping you in good health. According to many studies, it also improves your mood and reduces depression. The road to building a company is rocky enough; an even mood will help.

Here are 10 reasons why exercising will make you a better performer at work:

It makes you determined. If you play a sport on a regular basis, then you probably have a coach who is always pushing you and shouting at you to help you get the best out of yourself. If you don’t have one, then you probably have your own ways to keep yourself motivated. Athletes always strive to push their limits; any obstacle in front of them is just another challenge. The same thing applies at work. If you stumble upon a difficulty and have too much work to do at the office, if you can’t get any investment or if your startup idea needs some adaptation, you will learn not to give up. You will work it out, because, it’s just another challenge for you.

It reduces stress. Stress is an undesired companion, especially if you are an entrepreneur. “I do exercise in the gym before work, then I do some cardio, like taking a long walk or jogging after work,” says Lebanese entrepreneur Mark Malkoun, the co-founder of ReachFast, an application that helps iPhone users call and message their recent contacts more easily. “Entrepreneurs endure a lot of stress due to the nature of their work, and exercising can help a lot to reduce this stress and offset the harm that it’s causing to our bodies and minds.”

It makes you a better team player. Whether in the gym, in the pool or outdoors, workout buddies always encourage each other to perform better. If you’re involved in a team sport, like basketball or football, this increases your team work ethic. Team players are also a great addition to any startup. By team players, I mean those co-workers who help each other and collaborate to get a specific task done efficiently, and who work hand in hand to take their startups to a whole new level.

It makes you more accepting of failure. Team sports not only make you a better team player, but also help you accept failure. When playing against another team, one of the two teams will fail. Acknowledging that you failed is good, as it helps you reconcile with yourself. In the workplace, accepting that you failed when accomplishing a task or when launching an idea or making an important decision, will first, help you understand the mistake you made and learn from it, and second, work even harder to avoid it in the future.

It makes you more responsible. George Washington Carver who once said, “Ninety-nine percent of all failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses.” In team sports, just as at work, admitting that you broke the rules lets your colleagues, your teammates and your boss realize that you are a straightforward person who takes mistakes seriously and doesn’t cover them up. This will make them trust you more and maybe rely on you more often.

It gets your creative juices flowing. A study has shown that aerobics are more likely to boost your creativity. Exercising doesn’t train your muscles only, but also your brain. That is why sometimes when you are out of ideas and go out for a jog, you feel much better afterwards and the ideas start coming.

It replaces your morning coffee. Have you tried working out super early before coming to work? If not, try it. It fuels your body with energy and jump starts your metabolism, to get you ready for a long day at work. And if you’re bootstrapping, it’ll be a good way to cut down on your coffee expenses.

It makes you a good listener and teaches you self-discipline. Hind Hobeika, a competitive swimmer and the brain behind Instabeat, acknowledges that swimming has taught her self-discipline, “which is SUPER important as an entrepreneur”, she wrote in an email. It has also made her a good listener. “Swimming has taught me to listen to a coach and train with a team, which is the similar to listening to mentors and working with a team,” she says.

It gives you time to reflect. I personally enjoy swimming a lot, and I try to do it four times a week. During that time, I’m able to stop thinking about the outside world and focus on my technique, endurance and pace. It’s also a good time to collect my thoughts and reflect. Hobeika agrees: “Swimming is my alone time, the only time I’m not connected to anything but myself, so I’m obliged to listen to my thoughts and do a lot of reflection.”

It lets you meet potential partners or customers. Last but not least, exercising is a social activity. It allows you to meet new people or to get to know your colleagues, employees or co-founders better. “Sports give employees an opportunity to meet both colleagues and friends through a healthy medium,” said Derv Rao, co-founder of Duplays, a Dubai-based platform that connects players to sports in their local city. “Relationships are built above and beyond those formed by conducting business together.” (Disclosure: Wamda Capital has invested in Duplays).

Companies should offer sports to their employees, he says, because these companies “have demonstrated a direct impact on the bottom line through lower sick days, better employee performance at work and a healthier social life, leading to increased employee happiness and retention.”
Sometimes it is good to just throw your laptop away, get out there and enjoy a well-deserved workout. Not only will it make you feel better, it might help you come up with the next best idea. And just like kids fight their way in the pool to reach the top, entrepreneurs and employees should do the same too, but not only in the pool.

http://www.wamda.com/2013/07/10-reasons-why-exercise-makes-you-better-at-your-job

Reine is the Arabic Editor at Wamda. You can reach her at Reine[at]wamda.com, on Twitter @farhatreine or connect with her on LinkedIn.

5 Ways to Encourage Creative Thinking

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by James Caan, CEO of Hamilton Bradshaw

March 15, 2013

As the chief executive of a private equity firm I am always on the look-out for the UK’s brightest and most innovative talent. My role as chairman of the Government’s Start-Up Loan scheme has made me become even more aware of the need to be constantly watching for the best creative talent in the country.

Creativity can be a difficult notion to grasp but it is a key talent that is always found at the heart of any successful company. I would say that true creativity, along with drive and self-belief, are the defining characteristics of any successful entrepreneur.

Sir Ken Robinson, an internationally recognised expert in education, leadership and innovation, has described creativity in an easy to understand and succinct way. He wrote that creativity is “the process of having original ideas that add value”.

That is a straightforward definition, but the real difficulty comes in actually being able to think differently or “out of the box”. It is a very rare and valuable skill to be able to come up with ideas that are truly original and different to anything currently out there on the market.

Creativity always has to be relevant but it is crucial to the success of any business. Without originality, businesses have no way of differentiating themselves from their competitors in the market place. Being different from rivals has become increasingly important in the modern business environment.

Taking all of this into account, I believe it is vital to encourage staff to think differently and this can be done in several ways.

Give your staff the time and the space to be imaginative and creative. Apple is a great example of a company which has benefited enormously from this. Up to a fifth of their working day is given to creative thinking sessions. Innovation is a key characteristic of the company so it is vital for Apple to inspire staff and to give them the space to be original.

Constantly question yourself and your working practices. Instead of sticking with tried and tested methods, business leaders should always be thinking of alternative approaches when it comes to solving issues and problems. Simply posing the question can lead to new ideas and projects, which opens up valuable income streams.

Encourage people to work in groups. That way, ideas can be shared along with responsibility and the credit for success. A company which has an overly competitive and individualistic culture can stifle creativity.

• Not every idea is going to be a great idea but it is important not to ridicule people who are brave enough to think differently from the rest of us. If people are scared of being mocked then they are going to be reluctant to step forward with new ideas.

• Running a business and hitting targets is serious as people’s livelihoods rely on the success of a company – but the creative process needs to be fun. If you want to inspire people to think differently then you have to create the right culture and environment to allow them to do just that.

However it is important to remember that creativity on its own is not enough to guarantee success. The focus should always remain on how to use innovative thinking to make the company financially successful. Stick to these rules and there is every chance you will have a success story on your hands.

http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130315125605-32175171-5-ways-to-encourage-creative-thinking?_mSplash=1&sessionid=RAltIzCZdnw7pQXXjkit

Ideas are a Dime a Dozen. People Who Implement Them are Priceless

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by Amy Rees Anderson

“Ideas are a dime a dozen. People who implement them are priceless.” What a great quote by Mary Kay Ash, and so true! The world is full of incredible ideas that never go anywhere because great ideas are useless without someone full of passion to implement them.

I realize that implementing an idea can be intimidating, but taking that first step forward is the most important thing you can do to get your idea off the ground. Analyzing an idea is an important pre-step, but one of the biggest stumbling blocks people face is the temptation to over-analyze in an attempt to solve for every potential problem they might face, even if it only has a .03 percent likelihood of ever happening. Recognize that in the beginning stage of your idea there is no possible way to truly predict exactly what the future will hold because it is impossible to have every future fact you need to know. In the process of moving toward implementing your idea, variables around you will begin to change, and as they do, new facts will always be coming to light, which will help you to pivot your ideas in the right direction.

Go into it knowing that your idea is going to morph and change drastically before it reaches its true fulfillment. All great ideas do, and that is what you want.

Years ago I went to meet with several large customers to see how our products were performing for them. Each shared their satisfaction with our services, but went on to share other problems they were facing, hoping that I might have a solution for them. As I met with each client and listened to their struggles, my mind began to formulate additions to our system design that were far broader in scope than my original ideas had ever been.

The next thing I knew, voila, my original idea had morphed and become bigger and better than ever before. Had I not taken steps forward to implement my original idea, I would never have gotten to that moment when the original idea morphed into something genius!

As you get going, never be afraid to share your ideas with others to get feedback. As an angel investor when I ask people what feedback they have gotten from their peers on their ideas, I often get the response, “I haven’t shared it with them yet because I am too afraid someone might steal my idea.” My answer to that statement is always the same, “As an entrepreneur I always felt that if someone else out there had the initiative to take my idea and get it implemented first, then more power to them!” The reality is that most people may get excited about your idea, but very few of them would actually be willing to do all the work it would take to implement it.

Great ideas are born by the minute. At some point you have to decide to stop talking about your ideas and take the first step with enough confidence to carry you through to the next step. With each step forward new doors will open and your idea will expand. Keep your eyes and ears open and never be afraid to share your idea with others to get feedback. Ideas grow best when they are exposed to a lot of other people’s ideas and input on a regular basis.

Never forget to stay passionate about your ideas. It’s that passion that will carry you through the difficult times that inevitably come along the path of implementation. Your passion will be contagious and it will draw others to you that can help you on your journey to becoming one of those priceless few who don’t just talk about it, they do it!

~Amy (follow my daily blogs at http://www.amyreesanderson/blog )

http://www.forbes.com/sites/amyanderson/2013/03/14/ideas-are-a-dime-a-dozen-people-who-implement-them-are-priceless/

Forty-Four Timeless Business Sayings You Should Know

by Brett Nelson

Whether you’re looking to impress your boss, enchant a few clients, inspire your team, or just put the job in healthy perspective, a few thoughtful quotations can come in handy.
This collection is inspired by Forbes’ second-annual Jargon Madness tournament, featuring 32 of corporate America’s most annoying buzzwords, clichés and euphemisms. Click here to vote in today’s daily matchup.

Our advice: Ditch the jargon and try these timeless turns of phrase instead.
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Annoying jargon to avoid: Thought leadership (n.) Grossly indulgent slang for plain ol’ “expertise.”

Relevant quotations on wisdom:

I know several thousand things that won’t work. – Thomas Edison

Men are wise in proportion not to their experience, but to their capacity for experience. – George Bernard Shaw

Annoying cliché: Rock star (n.) Abused term of endearment for talented employees who may or may not use lots of cocaine.

On praise:

Flattery is alright—if you don’t inhale. – Adlai Stevenson

I can live for two months on a good compliment. – Mark Twain

Read much more here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/brettnelson/2013/02/11/forty-four-timeless-business-sayings-you-should-know/

4 Ways to Encourage the Oddballs

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This post isn’t for everyone, and it’s not for every organization. I’m admitting that from the get-go.

Some folks–good folks, mind you–will read this and think it’s for the birds, and that’s fine. It really is. Some organizations don’t, can’t, and won’t embrace the idea that follows; and they probably don’t have any desire to. Again, that’s fine. Accepting or not accepting the idea doesn’t make anyone or any organization any more or any less intelligent, enlightened, or fantastic. It just means it’s not them.

But enough rambling. Here’s the advice: Encourage the oddballs.

Most organizations have at least a few folks who aren’t like every single other person in corporate America, but many organizations and leaders don’t know what to do with them. Some organizations will throw their proverbial hands up in the air in consternation, frustrated at their inability to control and precisely predict the oddball. Eventually, both they and the oddball will get so uncomfortable with each other that one or the other will call it quits.

But there’s another option. You see, often it’s those oddballs that think about things a little differently. They think of new and different ways of doing things. Sure, it may be unorthodox, and yes, maybe even a little weird; but it’s these people who are so valuable to organizations.

They might think of a product or service that no one in their right mind would have thought of. (Cliche example alert: Think Apple. They do this over and over and over again.) Or maybe they conceptualize a better way for departments to be structured and relate to each other. Their management style might be outside the norm, but somehow it’s strangely effective.

We have to remind ourselves–especially as leaders–that these humans we have the privilege of working with are amazing, unique, crazy, awesome, hard-to-figure-out things. And organizations are made up of clumps of ‘em. Anyone who thinks there’s a template for that is crazy.

So what about those oddballs? Here are some tips.

1. Create space for them. I’m not saying to rearrange your entire organization around an individual, but it’s OK to allow for individuals’ differences, idiosyncrasies, and unique ways of doing what they do.

2. Be OK with their oddness. You know what? Normal is overrated. (More on this below.) Odd is different. Odd can be interesting. Odd makes you think. And odd reminds us that we’re all human and different. What a terrible existence it would be if we were all identical corporate cogs.

Read more here: http://themojocompany.com/2013/01/4-ways-to-encourage-the-oddballs/