Tag: Creativity

Make a difference

make a difference today

As we grow up, within our family environment, the school environment and friends circle, we are exposed to good values, good thoughts and imbibe the power of discernment. However, as we widen our circle of friends, acquaintances, professional colleagues and interact more with the general environment around us, our original set of values and beliefs get slowly eroded. We then learn to rationalize our behavior and attitude to adjust to the influences that are too overbearing to ignore and too tempting to avoid. That is when we end up being different from what we were brought up to be.

Yet it is never too late to change and embrace our core values even if that comes at an apparently heavy cost. You can actually make a difference to your life and those whose lives you influence and here is how you can begin today. HELP yourself.

Have self belief – Trust your abilities and believe in your core values. That is when you will begin to resist temptations, seek out the path of self righteousness and have the courage of conviction to withstand the pressures be it outright threats, the lure of amassing wealth or the fear of being isolated. Help yourself get up and get out of the quagmire you are currently in.

Explore possibilities – If you are compelled by circumstances to pursue a path for which you have a strong antipathy, it is for you to think differently and explore alternatives to get out of the vicious circle in which you find yourself trapped. E.g. as a student the pressure to copy or let others copy from you is often too difficult to ignore. However a strong resolve to accept the outcome without resorting to unfair means would spur you to study harder and relish the results. Similarly be steadfast in your resolve not succumb to pressures to let others copy and you could try by beginning to solve the question paper in random order. Since most people solve papers in sequential order you would be unable to succumb to the pressure of others to let them cheat from your paper.

Let go of the past – We brood over our mistakes, wistfully think about possibilities that have long ago eluded us and often seethe over those avoidable blunders which we committed. While we must not forget the lesson that we learnt from the past, the way to make up is by beginning immediately and doubling our efforts. Successful inventors and scientific breakthroughs are testimony to this reality. You too can remodel your life and make a significant difference in your thoughts and deeds by getting rid of the deadweight of the past.

Prepare to be different. – If you have to be different you must stand out.

  • You must first begin to radiate from within – self belief will help you do that.
  • Then you must do things differently – exploring possibilities will help you find exciting alternatives.
  • Next is to be seen as different – letting go of the past and adapting to the current reality will portray you in different light.

You suddenly discover that you are a different person; brimming with confidence, bubbling with ideas, optimistic about the future and standing head and shoulders above the others.

You have now made a difference to yourself and a bigger difference to those around you.

Try this:

  1. Attempt a change in your external makeup – maybe hairstyle; perhaps style of dressing; work on your body language; work on your vocabulary/ accent/ tone;
  2. Attempt a change in your mental makeup – read something different; focus on a new learning; confront your fears and try something that you never dared to; change your attitude to people whom you resented or disliked;
  3. Attempt a change in your life style – change your eating habits; your daily routine; if you are an outdoor person try to spent more time indoors and vice versa; commit yourself to a social cause

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog


Imagination is intelligence having fun

A common lament often heard is that ‘ I am not creative’. The reality though is that each one of us is blessed with a wide and wild imagination. This imagination definitely sparks of creative ideas and hence each of us is exceedingly creative. Unfortunately, to our way of thinking, all our creative ideas seem stupid, silly or irrational in our personal assessment. On the other hand we admire the creativity of others particularly when the idea works. Remember the ZooZoo advertisements!  Imagine for a moment that you got that idea. You can be sure you would not even share it for fear of looking like a fool. Yet there was someone who believed in that imaginative idea and the results are there for all to see. The advertisement arena is populated with fabulous examples of imagination resulting from intelligence having fun.

Here are 3 ways to spark your imagination

Soak in – The objective is to widen the scope of our intelligence. Use each and every faculty / senses we are blessed with. Read extensively; intensively; purposefully. Don’t shy away from new experiences, failures, possibilities. Accept praise, criticism and rejection.

Spew out – We can soak in only if we empty ourselves. The focus is on generating images, ideas, possibilities. Stretch the mind, the body and the soul. Take risks, defy convention, create your own path.

Sell it – This is the toughest phase because you sell the imaginative ideas to yourself first. Unless you believe in it no one else will. Visualize possibilities by adapting it, changing it, refocusing on the alternatives. Convince yourself by focusing on the end result, the success that is guaranteed and the power of yourself belief. Share it with friends, critics and customers. Create a demand, a customer and a sale.

Try this:

  1. Think of a unique gift for your teacher the value of which must not exceed Rs.100
  2. Attempt at least one of the following and share it with a friend/ parent/ or email it to me at actspot@gmail.com
  • Write an original  limerick
  • Drawing a cartoon or finding 3 different cartoons (each by a different cartoonist) that you love
  • Create an (expansion) acronym for the word SPEED or DARE
  • Create a PPT titled ‘ This is me’ – have not more than 5 slides and maximum of 5 photos

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog


Stimulating the intellect

Although our intellect always longs for clarity and certainty, our nature often finds uncertainty fascinating.  Karl Von Clausewitz

Partly because of our education system, partly due to our upbringing but mainly because we like the comfort of order, system and conformity we associate our intellect with excellence displayed in academics and the knowledge gleaned out of texts and reflected in exam results. However it is the practical applicability of all this learning in day to day completely unstructured life, that allows one to creatively explore one’s intellect. Unfortunately, most times we grapple with such uncertainties rather reluctantly and with apprehension, never fully savoring the exhilarating joy of stretching ones imagination and making new discoveries in the process.

How many school children have enjoyed the beauty of literature, the flow of poetry and the quirks of language? How many have been fascinated by the hum of a bee, the chirping of the birds or the gurgle of the waters on the pebbles in the stream? Subjects that invoke fear in tender minds unequivocal are math’s and science and it would be a rare student who gravitated with fascination to the appreciation of these subjects. The flaw chiefly responsible for the arduous route to education is the mistaken emphasis of teachers, parents and peers that intellect is all about solving the problems instead of allowing one to explore make mistakes, attempt again and enjoy the process without the fear of retribution.

I recollect reading a fascinating theory that stated ‘schooling teaches non-sense’. Just like you, I was intrigued by this absolutely sacrilegious observation and bold assertion and on reading further was jolted by the arguments that supported this hypothesis. The writer, puts for the the argument that long before schooling as a discipline emerged, the human race used intellect to progress and prosper. What propelled this intellect was the use of the 5 senses that we are blessed with, sight, smell, touch, smell and hearing. Unfortunately in modern day education the importance of senses has been marginalized and nothing about it is taught, thereby making schooling non-sense figuratively and to a very large extent realistically too. Here is a quick reality check – what is the standard numbering pattern in a dice or which King in a pack of cards has only one eye? The challenge for educators and all those influencing education is make the process more fascinating, the progress more enthralling and the senses more stimulated if one were to truly engage the intellect.

The mantra of learning should be inquiry, discovery, experimentation, application and creative liberation.

Remember: The only means of strengthening one’s intellect is to make up one’s mind about nothing, to let the mind be a thoroughfare for all thoughts. John Keats

Try this:

  1. Check out the website http://www.arvindguptatoys.com/  to find inputs on creatively teaching science and making the process engaging, experiential and cost effective.
  2. Can you list out various ideas get children to fear mathematics less and possible make them a wee bit more interested in it?

Here are couple of suggestions to get you going…

  • To get students interested in the concept of angles try this PPT The_numbers
  • Ask students to multiply 37037 by any single digit and then by 3. What do they observe?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog


Activating intelligence

Action is the real measure of intelligence. Napoleon Hill

Without exception, each and every normal individual is blessed with some skill sets and intelligence. Yet when we look around we find that there is a very small minority that has actually utilized their knowledge, their intelligence and their abilities to grow and make a mark in the world. A quick reality check would reveal that many of our own classmates who were toppers, extroverts, go getters and deemed sure shot successes when they grew up, fell far short of our expectations and languished in mediocrity.  Unbelievably, there could also be a remarkable few who beat all odds, surprised most of us and provoked the envy of many by their remarkable achievements and success stories. The success of the latter and disappointments of the former can be attributed to be the outcome of actively using the intelligence in a practical way rather than merely demonstrating it in a class room setting.

As they say ‘ A ship is safe in harbor but that is not what it is made for’. Similarly all the education and intelligence must be utilized in the cauldron of daily living be it at home, the work place, the social setup or the occasional mundane chores that engulf us. This would imply that one uses not only the academic skills but also become worldly wise, street smart, creative, bold and experimental. The learning is actually put to the test when an individual goes well beyond the text book, the laboratory experiments, the perceptions of doomsday predictors and emboldens himself/ herself to challenge the conventions, the stero types and take the ‘ road less travelled by’.

Here are 3 ways to put one’s intelligence into action.

Be creative: The problem that people face when they come out from a rigid and structured education system is their tendency to be logical, to seek solutions in the confines of available knowledge and their fear of being seen as inadequate if they cannot find solutions where they search for. It is not that they cannot imagine or visualize but fear of failure, ridicule and pressures of deadline corrode they self belief and dampen their spirits.

Take calculated risks. The ability to take risks separates the winners from the losers. Yet we would see a number of risk takers who also fail along the way. There are two conditions to be fulfilled in order to mitigate risks. The first is to be aware of the consequences of failure and the second is to discern when to quit and when to relentlessly pursue. Calculated risk takers invariably have loads of self belief, a variety of hedging strategies and fall back options and the guts to take a hit on the chin without flinching.

Experiment.  They say other than death and taxes, change is the only other constant. It is therefore inevitable that we gear up to meet the change as it unfolds. Anticipating change is challenging but introspection, visualization and experimentation will enable one to proactively innovate to keep ahead of the competition. Failures which are inevitable when experimenting should be seen as learning experiences and radical ideas must be allowed to blossom if experimentation has to become a mantra for activating success.

Remember: It is better to have a fair intellect that is well used than a powerful one that is idle. Bryant H. McGill

Try this:

Attempt to make a list of additional features you believe the following gadgets must incorporate

  • A fridge
  • A mobile phone
  • An ATM machine
  • A lap top
  • A bicycle

Find 5 unique uses for the following

  • A tooth brush
  • A pair of shoes
  • A cricket bat
  • The first object that you pull out of your pocket right now

 This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

Dream big

A person can grow only as much as his horizon allows.  John Powell

If we see some of our major achievements in our lives, we would feel elated at some and a trifle disappointed at others. The ones which we are thrilled about are invariably those in which we have achieved some tremendous success and possibly scaled some dizzy heights. What disappoints us often are achieving relatively lesser success where in our view we set our standards a lot lower and could have excelled far beyond our own accomplishments.

The realization that we did not think beyond our comfort zone and our fear of failure are two critical reasons why we are unable to stretch our imagination and widen our horizons. Moving beyond our comfort zone poses problems because we are not used to thinking big nor are we having the conviction to attempt something different. At best we move the bar a wee bit more and then since we are not convinced ourselves our efforts to attempt it are also feeble and half hearted. Obviously when the crunch time comes we may not achieve the goals set and we reinforce our belief that we should not try too much.  Most times it is fear of failure that is the mill stone that bogs us down. When our focus is to avoid failure rather than achieve a spectacular win, we are completely risk averse. The fear paralyzes us and the word failure conjures images of shame and loss of face. In reality failures should spur us on to prove that we are up to the challenge. Very few of us take this as the trigger to set our eyes on bigger goals and worthwhile challenges.

Lack of a worthwhile motivation can also prove to be a dampener when it comes to seeing beyond the visible horizons. Unless we can see a reason, a reward, honor, glory or the sense of ecstasy at the end of the journey, we would not even attempt anything that we perceive as risky, daunting and cumbersome. Motivation is what acts as the carrot that teasingly dangles ahead and we are keen to grab it even if the challenge is way beyond our capabilities. The vast majority cannot think beyond simply because of sheer laziness and / or they have always operated within a regimented paradigm.  When people prefer to do bare minimum work and operate within their own set routine and parameter, there is very little scope to be adventurous and imaginative. They would dream of spectacular triumphs and ground breaking achievements but would shy away from even visualizing it when awake. They are just satisfied with the routine, the time tested and the limited role they have chosen for themselves.

Remember: Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.  George Bernard Shaw

Try this:

  1. Examine your wardrobe and observe the commonality in the majority of the attire you have; patterns, colors, styles, designs etc. Now consciously attempt to procure 3 items of clothing that are visible to everyone which is completely incongruent with your current style. Wear these clothes and notice the feelings you get, and also pay attention to the comments and observations of others.
  2. In this festive season, think of 1 imaginative gift each for the following people (price not to exceed Rs.500 or USD 10 approx)
  • A retired teacher you loved very much
  • Your favorite aunt/ uncle
  • Your nephew / niece
  • A gift for an inmate of an old age home
  • A gift for your pet (dog/ cat)
  • A surprise gift that can be won by any one from your friends circle based on a lucky draw

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

Common sense and genius

Common sense is instinct.  Enough of it is genius. George Bernard Shaw

It is commonly understood that common sense is the most uncommon thing. This is because a large part of common sense is developed by observing and learning from the environment around and is therefore almost instinctive. However most of us see problems as very complicated and try to come up with very innovative solutions and in the process overlook the obvious.

The real difficulty with common sense is the extensive use of analysis and logic to arrive at solutions. On the other hand if one were to instinctively decide on a course of action, in all probability the results would be closest to the results desired. The following story illustrates this effect emphatically. There is the apocryphal story of the American scientists who spend years of research and tons of money in developing a pen that allowed the ink to flow freely when in zero gravity on the moon so that the astronauts could use it in space . The Russians on the other hand it is said used a pencil.

Adults have great difficulty in learning new skills like swimming, adapting to technology etc. mainly because of the acquired fear of failure. On the other hand children are observed to easily come up with solutions to problems that are often overlooked by adults. Rather than let our instinct guide us to act in a particular manner, we try to approach the problem like playing a game of chess. What we do not realize is that chess is a game of skill where one pits his/ her wits against and another human being. Everyday challenges on the other hand, are not a test of skill as much as a test of character.

The real wonder is when some people display extraordinary common sense most of the time. They would come up with simplest of solutions that will effectively tackle the challenges. When a corkscrew is not available to pull out a cork, finding and equivalent implement would be quite challenging. On the other hand one can easily use a screwdriver and hammer to push the cork into the bottle and then pour out the contents.  Many times, necessity pushes the human mind to instinctively come up with solutions to tackle emergencies. Most innovations and inventions were not originally thought about but were worked on to tackle a problem. The concept of the credit card for example came about when the pioneer of the same was stranded with no cash when entertaining guests at a hotel, although he was a millionaire. Notice that the final product was complicated must have taken a lot of time, money and promotion to get the concept accepted but the concept on which it is based was instinctive and immediate. It is such people who not only have the common sense but who can leverage it who ultimately become geniuses and leave their mark in history.

Remember: “Common sense is the knack of seeing things as they are, and doing things as they ought to be done.”  C. E. Stowe

Try this:

  1. If you had three watches one 10 mins slow the other 15 mins fast and a dead watch which one would you prefer and why?
  2. Come up with a list of uses of a dead mobile handset.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

Be creative…visualize the future

Who is the wise man?  He who sees what’s going to be born. Solomon

Those people who are blessed with the ability to anticipate changes and ride the wave invariably end up being successful. Perhaps there are many of us who on hindsight state that they too could see the changes coming; alas that is not enough. It takes not just good understanding but courage of conviction to act upon the understanding if one needs to succeed. The stock markets are resplendent with examples of gigantic successes and colossal failures too almost all of it the result of future predictions. The ability to visualize is a combination of sound knowledge, good analysis and an ability to telescope this to the future and create the picture of the future in the mind.

Man’s progress from caveman to modern man has been made possible because of the human ability to visualize. Many a time visualization has been forced up on us; like when we have to find out or invent solutions to cope with our problems. As it is rightly said Necessity is the mother of all inventions. The ubiquitous wheel is believed to have been mans first invention. From such primitive inventions to the present day communication revolution be it the internet or the mobile phones man has transcended both time and distance in unimaginable ways. If we ponder over this journey of mans visualization we come to the irrefutable reality that if we can dream it we can achieve it.

The vast majority of the population if quizzed as to their creativity and visualization quotient will ruefully confess that they are very poor in it. If you are one of them who feels that you are not fortunate to be gifted with the ability to see beyond and anticipate, take heart from the reality that it is just because you have not honed those skills. While not all of us can be superlative in honing this skill, we can definitely attempt to cultivate the skill so that we are far better off than what we are today.  The first step is to change our mindset and make it more positive and receptive to deal with confusion. Look at all the problems as challenges for you to over overcome. In reality every problem is an opportunity for in the solution to the problem lies the value that someone can harness.  The next step is to develop the ability to be calm, cool and composed no matter what the emergency or crisis is. One can think rationally only when one is not excited, worried or desperate. When under stress the mind is always darting about feverishly trying to find an escape route. Escapism is the not the answer to our problems; it is effective resolution of the problem that one must search for if we want to have a pragmatic and result oriented solution. The third step is to freely explore, vividly imagine and shamelessly attempt. This is the toughest part since our schooling has made us overtly logical thinkers and so our mind is weighted down by the need to have correct answers, simplified straight forward thought process and we find it hard to break out of our shackles of disciplined thought. It also stands to reason therefore that we would never attempt anything that is vague, unstructured or illogical. Breaking out of that mould needs a radical change in our approach and that is the beginning of creative thinking.

Remember: “Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.” Mary Lou Cook

Try this:

  1. List out the 5 most creative solutions / outputs that you have ever generated in your life. For each one ask if the solution was a result of having to solve a problem or it was the urge to create something or it was checking out a hypothesis or it was inner urge that you wanted to express.
  2. If you had to choose from one watch from the following 3 watches which one would you choose and why.  (See the logical answer in the next post)
  • A watch that is 5 minutes slow
  • A dead watch
  • A watch that is 10 minutes fast.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

Change your thinking and…

You can promote your healing by your thinking. James E. Sweeney

The one problem that plagues us often is our own lack of self belief. Our reaction to most new tasks for example is one of self doubt, suspicion and caution. While it may be a prudent way of approaching a new task, our imaginary fears might dissuade us from taking any chances and consequentially we may end up missing a wonderful opportunity. Most times we lack self belief simply because we are afraid to fail. Other times we undervalue ourselves and therefore do not scale up our ambitions and aspire for something much bigger. Ask yourself if you take the initiative to organize a picnic or a party? Do you offer to host the games or take charge of the catering or any allied activity? When requested to take charge of something how often have you declined it saying you do not how to go about it?

Creative thinking holds the key to all progress made by human beings.  It is imperative that we appreciate the wonders brought about by out of the box thinkers and not be boxed in by our own paranoia. Our ability to think differently will definitely give us a plethora of radical and new ideas what limits us is our constant logical thinking that immediately rules out the idea as impractical and useless. To be creative all one needs to do is let our imagination run riot. Feel free to explore the wildest possibilities, make improbable associations , stretch the limits of your imagination and never let any form of self limiting statement enter your thought process. Are you game enough to take a pen and list out 10 or more uses of a pen other than using it to write?

Logical thinking has a vital role to play in ensuring understanding and problem solving. While on one hand it structures our thought process, it also reinforces and confirms our hypothesis at every stage thereby ensuring that we proceed ahead by validating the results at every stage. The entire gamut of the three R’s of reading, writing and arithmetic are founded on logical thinking. Yet many of us tend to see deeper meaning into things and tend to distort facts based on our personal prejudices, inferences and limitations. As a simple exercise read the reviews of different film critics about a movie and then go see the movie and write a review yourself. Reverse the process by seeing the movie first and then reading the critics review.

It is also important to recognize the fact that our attitude has a major bearing on our style of thinking. If we are positive and see the bright side of every event, it brings out hope and contentment within us. On the other hand people with a negative view will always search for the dark, sinister and malicious interpretation for any event. While our past experiences and gut feeling have a major influence in shaping our attitude, many a clue is hidden in the scripting done to us in childhood by parents, teachers and other authorities who have had a major influence on us. To be positive one needs to have tremendous self belief. To see problems as opportunities requires us to be strong mentally and emotionally and astute enough to channelize our energies into finding positive and acceptable meaning even in unfortunate and unpleasant events. How many of us can be like Thomas Alva Edison who on seeing his house go up in smoke when a fire burnt it down along with years of his experimental works, cheerful remarked that he could now restart with a clean slate all over again?

Remember: “You can have anything you want if you will give up the belief that you can’t have it.” Dr. Robert Anthony

Try this:

  1. Work out an action plan to increase your savings by 25% this year without seriously impacting your current life style.
  2. Attempt to write a poem or a limerick or write a film review or a letter to the editor of the local newspaper on a topic of local importance.  The challenge is to get it published .

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com


We all live under the same sky, but we don’t all have the same horizon. •Konrad Adenauer

There is a popular misconception that only artists, poets and writers are really creative and have extraordinary powers of visualization. In reality, every human being is blessed with these powers and this is one power that no one can take away from you. Look at the varied dreams that you have, which in many ways reflect the expanse of the mind in going beyond time, space and reality. Visualization is seeing beyond the obvious, thinking with the eye on the future, giving flight to imagination and stimulating passion to scale newer heights that can be translated into action.

While all of us have the ability to visualize, the extent, depth and scope of visualization would vary from individual to individual. Visualization helps one to see the big picture, the grandiose scheme of things and the success of ones mission. Perhaps that accounts for the fact that Visualization is one of the essential qualities for any leader. The exploits of Alexander the Great or East India Company or the Google Team have all one thing in common a large vision set by the leader.

Some may argue that day dreaming too  is a form of visualization which is but an exercise in futility. Day dreaming is for the fools, Visualization is for the enlightened. Daydreaming is merely a lazy way to live in a make believe world, visualization is the proactive way to chalk out the road map to building edifices that give expression to our yearnings, our talents and our efforts. While some look up and see just the tree tops or high rise buildings, others see the stars; those with vision see the patterns in the stars and follow them. Do you remember the three kings in the bible who went in search of the new born king by following the odd star.

Remember : See things as you would have them be instead of as they are. Robert Collier

Try these:

  • Do you have a personal list of all the things you would have loved to do in life if you ha the time and money? If not, write down that list NOW. Don’t worry if the list is having 25 items, more items means better visualization. Don’t limit your list for any reason; if it is something you wanted to, do just jot it down.
  • Do you visualize computers being able to help you smell, feel touch, read your mind? If you say yes, even if you are a non scientific person, write down what or how would you go about achieving this? Use layman’s language for your description.
  • If you have written down your list.. only then click on the link and see Mr.John Goddard’s list of 127 things he planned to do. http://www.johngoddard.info/life_list.htm Is your list as long? Do you have any item as challenging as some of those on his list? Do you think you need to visualize bigger, better, braver!

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our weekly inspirational and motivational blog www.poweract.blogspot.com