FW1 - Mental Imagery
Look at the map
330 days before opening.
Right now, you have your vision and your success image implemented in your subconscious. You need an innovative idea and be sure that it will not be easy to find it! You must develop your creativity.
Business creativity is a core asset. No creativity, no new business! Fortunately, creativity can be improved through hard training.
Lesson: 1 hour
External readings and quiz: 19 hours
Do it yourself: 20 hours
Total: 40 hours
Our objectives are to teach you the main techniques for improving your creativity:
-we shall describe the different techniques.
-We shall underline those which are fitted for specific business goals.
Thanks for creativity and knowledge, you should get your business idea.
Creativity is the process of bringing something new into being. This definition must be completed by a quote of the famous French scientist Poincare: Inventions consist in not making useless combinations but in making those which are useful and what are only a small minority. It means that it's not enough to produce new ideas. You must produce operational ideas and not dreams.
In our case, the true creativity is the power to invent and design products and services that will ensure the success of your company. What is more, creativity consists in inventing what business you want and you are able to start!
Do not confuse your vision, your success image and your business idea!
Your vision is a global aim of your life: It enables you to know if you really want to create a business and in what domain this biz could take place: For example tourism is a domain.
According to this vision, the success image is just a psychic tool for implementing your vision in your subconscious.
Then, according to your vision of working in tourism, you can have the idea to sell private islands. That is a real business idea!
What is more, business is constantly a creative activity and it's the only field where creative people can succeed. It is well known that very creative people are often persistent stubborn, and uncompromising! These traits are negative for a career as executive in a big corporate. On the contrary, a person who has absolutely none creativity could have very good chance to get high ranks in any big corporate or administration!
Real life example
Most administrations, many big corporate's and a lot of high business schools should post yellow warning signals at every entrance, marked NO THINKING ZONE.
12-The creative process
Some people believe that creative individuals have inherited a lot of gifts and that they are talented or even genius. It's a wrong idea. Creativity is not a matter of innate potential. As many things in life, creativity is the result of hard work and most of all serious training.
The creative process follows four different steps:
-Preparation: To train your mind.
-Incubation: To set back from the problem.
-Illumination: The idea arises in the mind like a sudden flash.
-Validation: You have to check the validity of the idea.
We can sum up this process with the following drawing 1 :
There are some other process but we shall adopt this one. The next reading will give you a history of the various views of the creative process, starting with the ancient greeks!
We shall now examine for each steps, what are the best appropriate techniques
We shall distinguish long term preparation and short term.
21-Long term preparation
Just like for mental imagery and visioning we do not know the real cause of creativity but there are some basic preparations. We give you six advices:
-Health: A creative thought depends on a well nourished brain. Since the beginning of history, some drugs are supposed to enhance the brain power. In the old times, it was mainly tobacco. Today, someone recommend to use serotonin and so on. Beware about these drugs. They can produce secondary effects and diseases (such as tobacco !).
-Attention: Concentration and attention play a great role in long preparation: it means that you have to constantly think about your vision. You must think at it when you wake up. You must think at it in having lunch. You must think at it in playing tennis or golf. You must think at it before sleeping. To think constantly about the same thing is a good method for having innovative ideas about it.
-Readings: In this course, we give you a method to improve your creativity but it must apply on a content. Readings of basic knowledge's provide with this content. Therefore, you will have to read carefully the lessons about economy.
Read everything and as much as you can. Reading constantly improves creativity because when you are reading a book, you always form a mental image of what is happening. As we shall see, mental imagery plays once again a great role in the creativity process.
On the contrary, Television does not train creativity and impoverish it because it shows the images and consequently there is nothing left to the imagination.
Real life example:
There is everywhere, even in developed countries, a lack of creativity. Of course, it's due to an ineffective education but it's also certainly due to television.
You cannot expect a great creativity of people who spend a big part of their time in looking at soccer games! Of course it's good for any political Power: Remember the Roman formula " bread and circus"!
To say the truth, the problem is not only due to the insipid content of television programs. It mainly results of the fact that television does not stimulate the imagination and therefore impoverish the creativity tank in the entire population.
For your preparation, we suggest to make some creative readings in order to stimulate your mind. I don't ask you to become a worm book ! It's a very good exercise to stimulate your mind.
-Meet people: Talk with friends and relatives and look at all sources of good ideas. You can get sometimes a word or an idea that could help you in starting the creative process.
-Keep a log: Report immediately any idea you have in walking or in talking with everybody. Very often, a good observation of the streets during a walk will give you ideas.
-Practice some exercises: To develop your creativity, we recommend the following techniques:
Relax. Close your eyes and imagine a familiar object: your dictionary for example. Turn the dictionary around. Examine it from above and from below. Change its color. Move it away as though it were 10 meters away from you. Bring it back closer. Give it immense dimensions then reduce it down to infinite proportions. Change its shape, turn it into a violin. Make it disappear and reappear.
This repetitive mental exercise should prepare you for the following exercises.
22-Short term preparation
Short term preparation means that you are going to have a creative session within a very short period. Consequently, you have to make some precise preparations. We give you three advices:
-Choose a motivating environment:The first thing is to choose an environment connected to your vision. For this purpose you have just to imagine it:
You have an office that is perhaps old and shabby. Imagine in the smallest detail the office in which you would like to work (lounge, leather chair, vast and functional desk etc.)
Each time you enter your real office, see your mental office. You will think more effectively.
Then Imagine your advisors: There are certainly people you admire: film stars, politicians etc. Choose two or three and put them in your mental office: They are now your advisors! Then imagine that you are talking to them. Imagine, their arguments.
Each time you have to carry out a creative session, go into your mental office and discuss the problems with your advisors!
-Increase your intellectual capacities: Top class swimmers imagine that their hands are twice as big as they actually are and that their feet are webbed. This vision helps swimmers go really faster.
Just before sleeping, make a relaxation phase and then imagine that your brain is bursting out of your skull and is forming a halo.
See yourself like this and you will gain in confidence in your intellectual capacities. Thanks to this new confidence, your capacities will really increase!
-Control your breath: we have seen in relaxation and visioning the role of the breath. Right now, we propose a more radical but very effective method.
One hour before the creative session, relax and hold the breath for as long as you can. Repeat this exercise and you will feel both a great excitation in your mind and a greater clarity.
Incubation is a contingency phase: It means that you have not solved your problem during the creative session. Consequently instead to go on with the problem, it's better to set back from it. It's said that incubation can last minutes, weeks or years! we shall focus on incubation lasting hours and minutes!
31-Incubation lasting hours
An universal technique is simply to go to bed! Let 'suppose that you have a creative session and that you do not find any results. Stop and begin again to morrow. Very often the solution you were looking for is easily found after a good sleep.
32-Incubation lasting minutes
This incubation process takes place within the creative session. When you feel difficult to go further, just stop, go into a pause and make the following exercise:
-Call your image resource (A quiet river for example). Vision it and enjoy.
-Then, imagine again your mental office and your advisors
-You are now ready for beginning a second round of your creative session.
About preparation and incubation go to: www.enchantedmind.com . Visit the entire site. You will find some complementary explanations and a lot of interesting tests.
We are now entering in the creative work and we expect to get an illumination. I like this word "illumination" because most often an innovative idea appears like a flash into your mind. It causes a great excitement and a feeling of happiness and pleasure.
We shall now review the different methods which are expected to provide you with this illumination.
Brainstorming implies a group of person. In your case, as you are using creativity to get a new idea for starting your business, the group could include some friends and relatives.
The principle of any brainstorming session is that participants have to stimulate and inspire each other to create ideas. The purpose is to tap the subconscious mind of the members: One idea will suggest another idea trough the mechanism of association.
Participants should feel unrestricted but the ideas should be built on the ideas of others in order to facilitate the association and to use the subconscious rather than a conscious discourse. The more ideas, the better. None of the participants can criticize to any of the ideas that are proposed.
Creativity is expected to explode and to bring on the table a lot of exciting new ideas. In the final phase the ideas are selected, improved, combined and the group agree on a final working solution.
Real life example:
Brainstorming is the only mind method taught in schools and used on a large scale in continental Europe and overseas.
In the scholar environment influenced by marxism, a "collective" process is always supposed to be more effective than an individual one!
Along my career, I have participated to many brainstorming sessions. I have never seen only one creative idea coming out from all these meetings!
In fact, the association of words does not work because the participants keep the control of their subconscious and fear to be ridiculous or simply to show their true nature. Consequently, the collective subconscious which should be the real motor of the exercise remains mute. People just bring a shopping list of conscious and reasonable ideas.
As we have explained in the history module (See global leader on this site and click on history module), creativity is a solitary work. New ideas are often difficult to communicate and other people generally react by discouraging it: "it would not work, it's a waste of time" and so on. When a group of people is involved, the final product is mostly a consensus that uses old and proven ideas. A consensus is quite the exact contrary of a creative idea.
Most discoveries are the work of one person. Of course large project require teams. In fact these projects are broken down into many small tasks and the best way to get creativity is to entrust only one person for each task.
Down earth advice:
Thanks to Freud, Jung and so on, many psy underline the subconscious. We recognize this role and we have emphasized its power in the visioning process ( See above) but it's not a reason to expand infinitely its virtues.
I think that a clear reason plays a major role in the creative process.
Mind mapping has been invented by Tony Busan. In some way, it's like a brainstorming but with only one person: Yourself.
You take a paper and you write the subject of your research in the center. Then, you start to think in at random in an inhibited style and you write all the ideas that come around the main subject. Then, for each specific idea you do the same and you write around all the ideas connected with. You rely all the ideas with arrows of different colors and you get the following result:
This map shows a research for discovering a business idea in the tourism field.
At first glance, the map only replaces the linear note with a more colorful and pleasant scheme. In fact, the principle is more subtle: The map is expected to reflect the real mechanism of the brain. It means that when you add an idea, you expand in the brain the connections between the cells and open new spaces of creativity. As you can see, the map looks like a network of neurons with their dendrites!
Real life example:
I use mind mapping for preparing a dissertation or for solving a problem. I don't use too much it for finding a new idea.
Mind mapping relies, like brainstorming, on the mechanism of association of ideas. On the contrary, I think that the real creativity must break off these associations which exist in our mind.
Nevertheless, we recommend you to use this tool.
Go to : www.mind-map.com . You will learn in this site how to use mind mapping. Read it carefully.
For creative purpose, I use mainly that I call "mind revolution". You will understand the meaning of the word "revolution". It relies on three movements of the conscious thought:
-Going to the extremes: Facing a challenge, you have always to deal with six questions: Who, Why, What, Where, When and how. Dealing with these questions, try to see what would happen if things where going to the extremes. For example, what would happen if life time was infinite and on the contrary, what would happen if life time was only one day?
For example, Einstein developed the relativity by thinking what happened when matter traveled near the speed light. The laws of quantum theory rely on what would happen at the limits of small size particles. About business, you can ask what would happen if there is zero staff, or zero capital and so on.
-Establish relations between things that dont have any: Look for really absurd connections that no one would have thought of: Dont connect the image of your dictionary with a library. This is a normal relationship that shows no creativity. On the contrary connect this image with the hair of a person. The inventions of Archimedes, Leonardo de Vinci or Einstein were often based on connections that no one else would have thought of.
Deconstruct the thought: Most of our ideas or concepts are inserted in a group of ideas which are their companions and which prevent any creative thinking. Consequently, you must dislocate these current associations in order to find new ideas or concepts.
In the following drawing, I have two very usual connections. The blue squares show ideas connected to tourism and vacations. As long as I don't deconstruct the way of thinking, any idea of sun will bring an idea of sea or of sand and in fact I don't get any new idea.
Let suppose that I put a a second series of ideas without any links with the former. In this example, the second series of gray squares illustrates ideas about justice, offence, trial, jail, convict, death penalty!
Now comparing these two series, I relate sea and jail and I get an illumination: I will sell private island to rich people!
You can see that in this tourism example, I get an immediate result! The idea may be stupid or useless. Anyway it's a new idea and I have gotten it in five minutes. ( in fact this idea exists already!)
You can take notice that the process does not imply subconscious. On the contrary, it relies on a reasoning and on the will to dislocate current associations. In fact, I remove ideas from their normal statute and you understand why I call this process: "Mind revolution"! It's very easy to use with fast results.
All these exercises aim to produce new ideas. It does not mean that these ideas are worth or useful. So after the creative session, you must organize a validation session. In this case, it could be fruitful to call for a team because right now it's worth and useful to be criticized.
Down earth advice:
Be very careful with the ideas you get very late in the night. When you find it, you are excited and they look very smart. Most of the time, too much coffee and tiredness explain these feelings.
On the next morning, when you read your notes, you often realize that you have just reinvented the wheel!
Discuss your idea with friends and potential customers: If you get interest and support, it means that your idea is innovative and that you can start the process of studying the project.
If your idea is a real technical invention, be very careful about its validation. Do not talk about it all around. In this case, be a discrete person and get a patent to protect your invention.
Creativity is the power to invent and design products and services that will ensure the success of your company. In your case, creativity consists in inventing what business you want and you are able to start!
To think constantly about the same thing is a good method for having innovative ideas about it. In the creative process, focus on mind mapping and mind revolution.
In this course, we have given you a method to improve your creativity but it must apply on a content. Readings of basic knowledge's provides with this content. Therefore, you will have to read carefully the following lessons about Economy. Moreover, read as much as you can.
DO IT YOURSELF:
We do not expect that you are right now ready for finding your business idea. You have to train your creativity but you must also apply it on a content because ideas need both creativity and knowledge.
May be, you can have a first idea. Then, the learning of basic knowledge's should enable you to improve this first idea.
When you feel that you are ready and in a good mood, organize a creative session. It will need a half day. Use the tools that you have just learnt and try to get a first idea. It can just be a broad idea.
Count about 20 hours for four creative sessions. In fact, it's quite difficult to fix a duration. A good idea can mature a lot of time. On the contrary, It can be a sudden spark but it's impossible to say when it will happen.
Submit your first idea. It could avoid you to lose your time with a bad, impossible or already existing idea.
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