One Leaves You Stagnant, The Other Moves You Forward

Many of the richest people in the world are entrepreneurs.

That’s because entrepreneurship is one of the fastest roads to increasing your income. A lot of these high-income earners also tend to be highly creative.

This means it’s to your advantage to cultivate your creativity.

Today, I’m going to tell you about a way to get past your biggest mental challenges … and boost your creativity at the same time.

It’s a win-win, and we’ll do it thanks to “psychological distance.”

There are two ways to gain this mental distance from a problem. You can either look at it from someone else’s point of view, or you can mentally boot the problem to another time and place.

Let’s put it into practice.

Say you need a paying client right now. You’re short on funds, and you have no leads.

That’s a stressful situation. And when you’re stressed, it’s tough to write effective copy. It’s even tougher to brainstorm clever ways to connect with prospects.

Instead, you pretend your problem is someone else’s. Or you tell yourself it’s something you’ll be tackling six months from now.

By removing the immediate and personal angst of the problem, your resourcefulness and originality get freed up. It’s as if stress drowns out their potential. Take away the stress, and they return to do your bidding.

Once you have distance from the problem of getting a client, for example, you might relax enough to remember a new lead you got at the dentist’s office when you chatted with someone interested in your writing services. Or maybe you’ll have a burst of inspiration on how to put together a postcard/email/sales letter campaign to let people know about your services.

Psychological distance strikes me as one of the easier ways to ramp up your creativity. No brainstorming, no mind teasers … just straight-up mental repositioning.

But there’s another advantage as well.

If you’ve ever dragged your feet on a goal, then you’ll understand the value of this process.

I’m talking about those things you need to do to launch your writer’s life … yet maybe you’re having trouble with because they strike you as enormously important steps.

Like what? Well, choosing a niche … writing your professional website … submitting a spec assignment … going after your first big client.

These are all things that can be a little daunting your first time around the block. You feel like a lot is riding on your outcome, and you don’t want to fail. So you may procrastinate and put off working on these important steps. And that makes things worse.

Let’s go back to that concept of successful entrepreneurs being highly creative. One thing is clear, and that’s the fact that they aren’t idle when daunted.

So take your daunting situation and employ some mental repositioning. Get some psychological distance from whatever problems are holding you back. I think you’ll find that they are a lot easier to handle.

(If you want more tips on how to use psychological distance as your personal secret writing weapon, read my article “This Trick of the Mind Means Better Writing with Less Anxiety.”)

Does this sound like it might work for you? What projects will you tackle with it? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Published: January 31, 2012

3 Responses to “One Leaves You Stagnant, The Other Moves You Forward”

  1. Great tip! Creativity and intuition are like stubborn children. Try to order them around and they just pout, cross their arms, and say "no!" But as soon as you're not "serious," they come out to play.

    Iain McCrackenJanuary 31, 2012 at 3:15 pm

  2. Thank you so much for this article, Mindy! As much as love to write and am working towards it being a career, I am feeling lost and overwhelmed most of the time. I am great when it comes to encouraging others and was desparately in need of it myself. Because of your wonderful insights I now know how to encourage myself. Many thanks.

    DeanneJanuary 31, 2012 at 5:59 pm


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