Broaden your horizons and challenge yourself is my chosen theme for this week’s creativity series. Want to talk about this for a moment? I hope so because I’m very eager to talk to you, get your feedback, and read your list of 10 things which I’ll get to in a moment. Okay, let’s get started.
I’m sure you’ll agree that most successful people today who make a positive contribution are creative thinkers who face challenge head on and allow themselves to explore, learn, and grow. Just look at Oprah Winfrey, Martha Stewart, Steven Hawking, Russell Simmons, even Heidi Klum (who has quite an interesting bio), and you will see a theme. They do not give up on their dreams, they are not their own worst enemy, they broaden their horizons and challenges do not stop them.
Another noticeable point is that they were not an overnight success. Baby steps. Often we think we’re not doing something right if we’re not instantly successful. We often lose track of a simple truth: one shot wonders rarely last. Shooting stars tend to burn out the quickest. I’m a huge fan of slow and steady wins the race in many instances. Consistency, challenging yourself, growing strong roots, learning, there’s so much more to a full life and success that takes actual time to build. Broadening your horizons and challenging yourself are two ways to become a more creative thinker and a happier more well rounded person because the more exposure you have to new thoughts and ideas, the more thoughts and ideas you’ll have. The more you open yourself to new experiences. The more in tune you become to your needs, dreams, and expectations of yourself and others become clearer. The more you push yourself you will gain confidence and a clearer voice.
Often people attribute success to being at the right place at the right time. While I believe this does happen, I believe that it does not happen by chance as much as some may think. I believe it happens for one sure reason: the person was there to begin with. They put themselves out there. Basically what I’m saying is that by stepping onto that stage to sing (while simultaneously being discovered by the talent agent in the audience) they were ON the actual stage, they got up there, they made the move. Everything they had already done led up to that moment and by placing themselves there on that stage they were discovered. Onlookers may then call them an “overnight success” but not really. They had been in training for many years whether they realized it or not. Every success, every failure, every challenge, it all brought them to that moment.
One lady I truly respect in the design world is Marcia Zia, one-half of the creative husband and wife duo behind Zia-Priven Design in North Hollywood, California. You may recall when she sat in on our “What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do” series. If not, please read her inspirational and motivating words here. Marcia found her true calling as a sought-after lighting designer by following her own advice, “Taking classes in different fields was one of the greatest things that I ever did to find my direction,” she says. “When you discover your talents and where your creativity lies, inspiration will flow freely and the apprehension you once felt will dissolve into confidence and determination — Remember that your dreams are worth the time and the effort!”
How can you broaden your horizons? What do I mean by challenging yourself?
Here’s a good start. In the comments section below, because you are amongst friends here and I will certainly do the same, list 10 things that you want to learn more about. ANYTHING. There is NO wrong answer. These things do not have to be ones that you plan to do to earn a living, just list what you have a genuine interest in that perhaps you’ve put on the back burner for way too long.
After listing your ten things, ask yourself which one you are willing to commit to learning now. As in tomorrow. Note that in your comment here before everyone reading because it makes it real once on paper and out of your head.
Now it’s time to get started. Do some research and find a book, call a few of your contacts if someone you know has knowledge you want to tap into, enroll in a class, take an online workshop, sit in on a lecture, listen to a podcast (or several), do something that will enable you to learn about the one thing on your list of ten. Keyword being DO. If you like, take on the second and third and so on, but don’t get over zealous because that’s a nice way to fall flat and discourage yourself. Just take on what you can realizing that ONE is enough for now. Just get started, get moving, go forward, challenge yourself, broaden your horizons. Immerse yourself in inspiring new ideas and do not be afraid to challenge old ways of thinking. To borrow from Nike, Just Do It because you can do it.
So who wants to write their list and pick one from it that they will promise to look into further? C’mon, someone has to step up on the stage…
(image from holly becker for decor8)