Think ‘R’

How to Hone Creative Thinking Skills

Creativity is inherently mysterious. We can give it a definition, or we can agree on specific benchmarks of creativity, but we can never accurately ascertain its very essence. We can practice it or, at the very least, aim for it, but we can never easily standardize creative thinking and its requisite triggers.

aaaaAlthough we are able to eventually recognize a creative or masterful work—the brainchild of an individual who has suddenly received a stroke of brilliance—we will never be able to pinpoint the exact course of such creative force or inspiration. In some ways, this apparent carelessness on our part with regards to where creativity truly lies and how it pursues its own progress is quite beneficial to humanity—at least we are able to enjoy and appreciate its ephemeral quality, as opposed to getting lulled by its permanence.

Now the question is, is it possible to consciously trigger creative thinking? While others are more inclined to believe that creative thinking comes in a whimsical fashion to individuals who are more blessed than others, it is best to still keep a certain degree of optimism that creativity can be learned and nurtured. Especially if one belongs to a competitive organization running a high-stake business, consistent creative thinking is an essential competence that cannot be relegated into a mere chance or coincidence.

One way to trigger creative thinking is to feel dissatisfied or restless toward the current standards. Just because something regarded as ‘familiar’ has existed for the longest time does not mean it should be ignored. The more constructive way to deal with an unsatisfactory routine, situation, practice, or idea, is to gain full awareness of it. It is only when one is already equipped with a keen perception of current realities when he or she is able to fashion novel means to see these realities, en route to creating a new set of belief systems aimed at augmenting what is present and what may very well be obsolete.

They key to creative thinking is to consciously allow oneself to assess points of interests from different perspectives. This would be one way that participants develop creative thinking skills For example, within the context of a professional environment, organizational roles, rules, and functions can be reevaluated using multiple vantage points, and through exhaustion of perceptions from employees hailing from all possible backgrounds. Through this process, stakeholders—leaders and managers specifically, can then delineate which systems deserve to be maintained and which ones ought to be re-tailored or, at the very least, reinforced.

Furthermore, adequate processing of ideas is crucial to the process of creative thinking. It is not enough to collect new insights and perspectives. The more challenging task is determining which of these actually has the most potential, hence should be developed. This step entails using reliable references such as available data, with utmost objectivity.

In the end, creativity begins with a deliberate effort to think creatively. Once an individual develops a habit of thinking driven by a potent sense of purpose and with hopes for greatness, creative thinking can then become an exercise of acquired competence. We have seen mankind’s greatest innovators begin from scratch and eventually reap the rewards of their persistent creativity. It is about time we jump into the fray.

Author Information:
Nicholas Hill, a modern thought leader, and international Trainer of strategic leadership skills and management development, the Managing Director and Principal Trainer for The Hill Consultancy Ltd.

5 Common Blogging Mistakes to Avoid

ThinkR-blogging

If you want to get the best results possible from blogging, the following list will help you avoid being tripped up by five common blogging mistakes:

Not Using Data

If you really want to get analytical about your blogging, you can use an A/B testing tool to see what elements of a post perform best. But even if you’re not at the point of wanting that much detail, you can still benefit from taking time to look at the data collected by a program like Google Analytics.

While there’s no specific way you have to use that data, one of the most common uses is to see which of your existing posts have the highest level of engagement. Once you know that information, you can use it to guide decisions about future posts you publish.

Only Writing for Your Own Blog

Since you probably want your content to reach as many targeted readers as possible, you don’t want to limit yourself to your existing audience. Instead, you can expand your efforts with strategies such as guest blogging. By occasionally publishing a post on a relevant blog, you can attract new readers who hadn’t previously read any of your content.

Relying on Stock Photos

Engagement and usability studies have confirmed that pictures can enhance the overall appeal that posts have for readers. However, that’s only the case if the pictures used are extremely relevant and generate some type of interest. If you’re only using really generic stock photos, you can actually hurt your blogging efforts.

Since pictures do take a little longer to load, if you’re not using great ones, people loading through slower connections — lsuch as a smartphone — may ultimately abandon your blog before the post has a chance to load.

Avoiding Any Type of Social Promotion

People use social media to discuss everything from alcohol rehab centers in Florida to sports games. Since it’s where people spend a large percentage of their online time, it’s definitely worth experimenting with Google Plus, Facebook and Twitter to see if they’re a good fit for promoting the content that you publish.

Ignoring Comments and Emails

Whether you’re a one-man operation or blog on behalf of a big company, one of the main goals of business blogging is to attract new customers. Since a reader who takes the time to leave a comment or send you an email is obviously interested in what you’re writing, be sure to capitalize on those opportunities.

While it can take some time to hit the right stride with your blog, as long as you stick with it and remember to put the above tips into action, you’ll begin seeing the results you want in less time than you likely expect.

photo credit: Mexicanwave via photopin cc

Taste of Nation in Charlotte, NC

2013 Taste of Nation Charlotte, NC Scheduled for April 17

Charlotte NC Taste of NationLocal area residents who want the amazing opportunity of being able to sample food and beverage fare from some of the top Charlotte chefs, restaurants, culinary schools and wine and beer distributors are making sure they secure tickets to the 2013 Taste of the Nation Charlotte happening Saturday, April 17. The food and wine celebration is part of the national Share our Strength special event program whose mission is to ensure that no child in America goes hungry.

What makes this special experience so delicious is that participants not only enjoy an evening of socializing over the best food, wine, beer and mixed cocktails, but the price of their ticket also helps to end the ongoing problem of childhood hunger happening throughout America.

An entertaining Mixologist Bar is just one of the special features of the 2013 Taste of the Nation Charlotte event, which will also include live musical entertainment, both a silent and live auction of quality goods and services, and a chance to meet some of the most talented and successful professionals working in the hospitality industry in the Charlotte, NC area today.

The event is being held at Wells Fargo Center Atrium located at 301 South Tryon Street in Charlotte, with plenty of convenient parking available.

Charlotte Taste of NationTaste of the Nation participants can enjoy a special early bird preview beginning at 6 p.m. for a VIP ticket price of $100 per person or can purchase a General Event ticket for $85 per person with admission at 7 p.m. This fun and unique dining and wining experience is scheduled to last until 10 p.m. No one who considers himself an avid foodie or wants the chance to sample some of the finest cuisine Charlotte foodservice professionals have to offer will miss this annual event. Secure your ticket purchase today at http://ce.strength.org/charlotte.

 

This is a sponsored post by Henderson Properties, and Belmont Flooring Center, a professional, local flooring installation company proudly serving businesses and residents throughout the greater Charlotte & Belmont area.

Why Is Fantasy Football So Popular?

thinkR_fantasyfootball1You only need to look within the title of this trending pastime to figure out the popularity factor. It’s the fantasy in fantasy football that’s hooking everyone from old-school sports fans to young women who’ve never watched a single game.

Of course, it definitely helps with the addiction process if you’re already into the sport. It’s kind of like Dungeons and Dragons for people who aren’t into dungeons or dragons.

However, fantasy football isn’t that different from any other fantasy game. Whether you’re a workers compensation attorney or Kindergarten teacher, it’s a means of escape. It puts control, fun and excitement back into your life, virtually. This is why these kinds of games can be just as addictive as a tangible drug. Who doesn’t want to be at the helm the country’s biggest sport?

The Social Aspect

What a lot of people don’t get is that fantasy games are very social events. Whether you started a league yourself or joined an existing one, it’s a means of getting together and interacting with like-minded folks. It might not be the traditional route of happy hours or cocktail parties, but who says that’s the only way to socialize? Some people want to get together and talk sports while drafting or trading players.

It’s also an avenue to actually meet people who are into the same things you are. I started a book club with a niche book roster for the same reason. You might know one or two people into fantasy football, but you also know there are a slew of others out there. You’ll instantly have much more in common with these folks than the random sampling of people you’ll find at yet another holiday get together.

The Gambling Dose

Most people play for a little money, which keeps things interesting. There isn’t the same kind of junkie addiction that some serious gamblers get when it comes to fantasy football. When stakes are kept low, it’s simply a way to make the season a little more exciting. Of course, technology helps.

Setting up a league online, and often for free, has never been easier. It’s simple to make changes, keep tabs and not worry about everyone having the same updated information. The downside is that many meetings are now saturated with people glued to their smartphones and tablets. However, that isn’t much different than any other aspect of life.

You Choose the Commitment

You really can invest as much, or as little, time as you’d like in fantasy football. If you just want to give it a test drive, set your draft to auto and let the program do the work for you. For many, part of the fun is having full control, a delicious possibility.

The good news? Unlike some other hobbies, fantasy football lets you be in charge of how much time is required of you.

Home Remedies for a Sick Dog

When ferocious Fido’s off his feed but isn’t quite sick enough for a trip to the vet, try these effective home remedies.

Knowing the Signs

Learning the difference between a healthy pup and one who needs an emergency trip to the vet benefits you and your pet alike. Knowing the signs of a sick dog saves your pet’s health and you time and aggravation. You should also be aware the preventive measures you can take to avoid an emergency visit.

Check your dog’s coat for flea dirt, dandruff and dry skin. His ears should not have an odor, and his eyes should be clear instead of clouded. Gums should be pink or black, depending on the breed, with no bleeding or pale, bluish areas.

Watch your pet’s paws and skin for abrasions and lumps, especially when grooming. Long nails can cause lameness, so trim them regularly. During grooming, pay close attention if your dog yelps or seems uncomfortable when you touch a particular area. Lumps require immediate professional attention.

Fleas

Fleas are common among dogs, but while they’re certainly gross, they’re easily treated.

Check for flea dirt in your pet’s fur. Should you find it, or if you see live fleas, immediately apply a flea treatment. Avoid flea collars; instead, give your dog flea baths followed by a thorough combing, or an application of Advantix or Frontline, to eliminate the problem.

Digestive Troubles

Most dog owners know that their four-legged friends sometimes eat and chew on things they shouldn’t. While this habit is annoying for the damage it can cause in your home, it can also be extremely dangerous for your dog. Dogs that chew on furniture risk ingesting harmful materials. Vomiting, diarrhea and incontinence are all signs that something is amiss, and the problem should never be ignored.

Pay attention to your pup’s digestive habits. If you notice frequent loose stools or urinary incontinence, contact your vet. Your remedy may be as simple as adjusting your food or taking an antibiotic. If your pet ingested a toxic substance then medical treatment may be necessary.

Vomiting may mean nothing or it may mean everything. Frequent vomiting with a change in eating habits also requires immediate medical attention.

Worms

Dogs get worms from ingesting feces, infected water, rodents and bug bites. According to Animal Planet, “the best remedy is prevention.” First and foremost, that means cleaning up after your pet promptly and not letting him ingest feces or water from the outdoors, no matter how tasty it may appear.

Flea, tick and heartworm prevention medicine provides protection as well. Place electronic mouse traps in rodent-prone areas to keep parasites at bay. Keep his living area clean by wiping it down with boiling water, steam or a 10 percent ammonia solution.

Should your dog develop severe diarrhea or vomiting, lethargy or wormy stool, contact your vet immediately.

Better Health Through Prevention

Just like human beings, dogs require adequate exercise, high quality foods and a safe outdoor environment. Keeping your dog healthy with preventive care keeps him happier and your wallet fuller.

Byline: Michael is a full-time blogger who has passions in all corners of the online world. In his down time he enjoys being outdoors, traveling, and blogging on everything from technology, to business, to marketing, and beyond.

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