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Don’t you wish that you had a magic wand or a wizarding stick to help you grab answers quickly? Well you do!
Your brain is designed to solve problems and find solutions. It’s constantly processing information and coming up with strategies for how to proceed. Here’s how it works. When you encounter a situation that appears to be a challenge, your brain shifts into problem solving mode.
It sorts through the records that have been housed in your hippocampus, the part of your brain that acts as a sort of memory bank storing all of your experiences - everything you’ve seen, watched, or done that relates to your current situation. Working at warp speed, it retrieves a bunch of memories that may be something like a bunch of slides or short movies and sends them to another part of your brain, the prefrontal cortex. Here everything is sorted and combined. Your brain is constantly asking itself,
“What about this one or this one?
Should I combine these two together?”
Because your prefrontal cortex can only handle a few images or ideas at a time, it deletes the ones that aren’t useful. From the sequence of images it keeps, you collect information from your past experiences that helps you deal with the current situation. Then your focus shifts towards the future and you begin to daydream, playing out the scenario from different perspectives.
“What if I did it this way?
Should I do it that way?”
Finally there’s that “aha” moment when you get the solution!
“I’m doing this”!
From there you move into action, doing whatever you now believe will resolve the situation. If all goes according to plan, the end result is your problem gets solved, or at the very least, you gain insight into your next step.
Problem solving is our brain’s automated response, it’s a sequence of pattern completion. The problem is that your first response when confronted with a problem is a routine reaction and that lizard-like part of your brain, plugs in the same old established neural pathways. You tap into familiar ideas, connections, and solutions to generate a response.
However, when you consciously invoke your Creative Genius using the equation I’ve developed, the process changes. By pressing on new neural ‘levers’ you interrupt your routine response and begin to explore more pathways that lead you to discover new ideas and potential solutions.
In 1992, I created a visual goal setting process called, The Snapshot of the Big Picture, and began working with organizations and individuals to help them achieve their goals. The essence of the process, as many of you know, is that an individual or team would write words and draw pictures that depict where they were now (the current state), where they want to be a year from now (the desired new reality), and identify the three boldest things they can do to get there (action steps).
Early studies with the pharmaceutical company Hoffman LaRoche showed that before using visual images to depict the future, only 36% of the people in their pharmaceutical division understood the company’s vision and strategy. After using a picture to depict their vision, goals and strategy, 94% of them understood the strategy, and 84% of them said they understood how their work contributed to both the vision and the strategy everyday. This kind of success rate when using visual imagery was repeated with other companies and the results were amazing and inspiring for the participants. But when the same process was used with individuals, the results were markedly different. Some individuals didn’t have the same immediate ability to achieve success for some reason.
The people who were using The Snapshot of the Big Picture process had often learned about it by watching my TEDx Rainier Draw Your Future talk. They would copy or download the Big Picture template, create images depicting their current and desired states, and then identify the three bold steps to get there.
The talk had reached a large audience, both through the regular TEDx YouTube channel (about 600k people) and when it was posted on a renegade channel (about 6 million). Many of the viewers posted comments about their experience.
About 75% of the comments indicated that even when the viewers followed my direction for drawing their own maps, they did not have the same results, (or at least not immediately). This fascinated me, and at the same time was a bit troubling as I wanted it to work for anyone, especially small business owners. So I became obsessed with why.
Why, when we are innately wired for change, do we get stuck?
I knew I had struggled with the process myself even though I had diligently followed all the steps. In 1995, I was working as a consultant but I wanted to attract more work as a motivational keynote speaker. While I had had some success, it felt like I was climbing a very big mountain as I tried to get business from companies that booked speakers like me. I wondered,
“Was there a way I could accelerate my own success?
Was there a systematic process I could apply to achieve my goals, some kind of short cut?”
In my work as a consultant I’d seen many clients accelerate their success using visual imagery to set and achieve goals. But how was the visual imagery responsible for what was happening? In our work together, they imagined their current state, their desired state and three bold steps while I drew pictures that mapped the process. Then using the map as a guide, they used all of their knowledge, experience and intuition to decide which of the things in their future they wanted to act on. With dedicated passion, they put their heads down and got to work on their goals.
As they achieved some successes, they continued to repeat the process. At each point, if they paid attention, they found new ways to break through their challenges to access their own Creative Genius for even greater results until they ticked off their goals one by one.
While it was clear that creating visual imagery and a map to guide their efforts was important, I began to examine what happened next.
What were they actually doing to achieve their goals?
What is happening when we set that in motion?
Was there an equation inherent in the process that led to greater success?
These were the components of the equation that repeatedly emerged:
Imagination x intuition + desire x drive = Outcome to the infinite power.
All of the components of this equation seemed to be needed to not only set a goal, but also get that goal. I coined this The Creative Genius Equation, a simple, elegant, iterative process anyone could use to achieve results, often beyond their wildest dreams! This equation, when consciously used, connects your drive to do and be better with your innate hardwired ability to problem solve. Each step in the process is a lever that you can learn to press to generate breakthroughs to the challenges you may be facing in your health, career or relationships and shift you from goal setting to goal getting.
This week your mission should you choose to accept it, is to think back on the thing you have always longed for, that you committed yourself to change last week and to explore it what your life will look like, to envision it just a little bit
Why is it important to do?
How will it bring value to you and to those around you, those in your tribe?
How will you feel after this change has been made?
Is there a secret dream you have been longing for?
Draw a selfie of yourself after you have made the change, and if you have a secret dream, create a picture or write a few sentences in your Creative Genius You Journal.
Maybe you always wanted to act, maybe you wanted to learn to code.
Maybe you long to be a pet trainer or grow your own food.
Maybe you are ready to feel healthy 100% of the time…
Write it down and draw a few pictures. This is you, your thing after your change is complete.
You can do this with the help of your Creative Genius, and I’ll help you too. See you next week!
Until next time, Up Your Creative Genius.