Create, Innovate, Imagine

We all wake up with the intention of being successful…

We all wake up with the intention of being successful.  Most of us aspire to do amazing things that will help us reach our full potential as a person.  We all have dreams and we all imagine.  What would it be like to start a non-profit organization and impact the lives of so many individuals you have never even met?  What would it be like to make a million dollars investing in the stock market?  What would it be like to create you own career and trail blaze a path to endless possibilities?

So many success stories happen around us every day.  We find ourselves saying,

“Why didn’t I think of that?  I had almost the exact same idea.”

So how do we start?  How do we take our internal drive and turn it into a success story? Let’s first understand that success is something different to everyone.  To one person success can mean becoming rich and owning exotic properties around the world.  To someone else success can mean working hard and making enough money to support their family.

Many of us will be graduating this spring and I’d like to share some lessons I’ve been fortunate to pick up along the way to help all of you become your own success story.

Creativity and innovation go hand in hand.  To innovate we need to have creative thoughts running through our head.  It’s up to you to get those creative juices flowing and see where they take you.  Being creative is actually very simple.  The trick is knowing how to put yourself in situations where your creativity can flourish.

My first tip is art.  A piece of artwork can be a door that leads to your creative side.  Find a piece of art that speaks to you and hang it above your desk.  It could be a famous masterpiece or something you found just browsing the Internet.  Print it out and hang it somewhere that you will see it every day.

My second tip is being around people who aren’t like you.  Do you ever realize that most of your friends and most of the people in your major are pretty similar?  Even if you don’t have all of the same interests, you are looking for the same job, talking to the same people everyday, and essentially living in the same world.  My advice is to take a class in another major.  Join a club or organization that you have never heard of.  Fundamentals of acting, origami club, intramural sports, and hell, even take Chinese.  The more you are around people who aren’t like you the more you will abandon your comfort zone.  When you detach from your comfort zone your frame of reference changes and creativity flows.

Take this scenario for example. When you are an accounting major and you take fundamentals of acting there is a good chance that you will feel uncomfortable for a few days.  If you keep an open mind and participate I promise that at the end of the class you will feel accomplished.  You will feel like you unlocked a whole new side of yourself that has been dormant for 20 years.  If you make good contacts and keep relationships it could even lead to an accounting job for a major theatre on Broadway one day.  So just by taking a class and joining a club you have created numerous possibilities for yourself while also increasing your creativity.

My third tip is keeping the mind and body healthy.  Your mind and body work synonymously and a lot of your success will come from having a healthy mind.  Keep yourself fit and always look to eat nutritiously.  When you are in shape your mind opens up and you tend to be more in tune with the world around you.  When you stay healthy your mind is clearer and your creativity has more room to work.  I guarantee that if you take small steps to become healthier you will find yourself looking and feeling more confident everyday.

My last simple tip is talking.  Talk to anyone and everyone whenever you have the chance.  Strike up a conversation on the street about the weather because you never know where it could lead.  The person you talk to could be your future employer or even the best man at your wedding.

When you disagree with something you should speak your mind.  Don’t always submit to what society says is cordial.  If we never question anything then we have no right to complain about it.

Ask as many questions as possible, in classes, to your car insurance agent, to your friends, even to your boss.  Always understand the situation you are in and look to learn as much as possible.  The only way to do that is to talk to people and ask questions.

If I have learned one thing through the maturation years of college it is this:

Don’t try and be the very best at one particular thing.  Be really good at a lot of different things.  When you diversify yourself and become well-rounded opportunities will always be available and achievable.

When you hear people say that you can be whatever you want to be, there is a lot of truth to that.  Now is the time to start your own business and to take that ground level internship at a Los Angeles firm.  Now is the time to be broke and wonder how you are going to make it.  Now is the time to take risks and build character.

So wake up tomorrow with the intention to change your life.  Go out every day and try to make a positive impact on not just your life but also someone else’s life.  In turn you will make a positive impact on the world.  Don’t always take the safe route and say yes to as many opportunities as you can.

Create, innovate, and imagine