Zamai Banje

Author | Creative Writer | Content Creator | Environmental Biologist

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The Ultimate Do It Yourself (D-I-Y) Ebook Toolkit: All the Resources you need to create that eBook

Right now, this is definitely the most informative article you will ever read on writing and publishing an e-book all by yourself.

From my years of experience and expertise, I have used and experimented with different tools and resources to get my e-books done.

And these are the ones that have worked for me, And many others too.

P.S: Each resource can be found on either computers (PC) or smartphones (mobile).

Here we go.


1. GOOGLE DOCS/MICROSOFT WORD (PC and mobile): This is mostly used for typing the drafts of your e-book. Both of them are easy to use with a minimalist interface (This reduces distractions).

But for project collaboration, Google Docs is preferable. From time to time, I switch between both tools for effective and efficient e-book writing.

2. EVERNOTE (PC and mobile) / WRITER P (mobile): Each tool (Both apps are free to download) is to prevent ideas or potential content from escaping from your head.

Whether you are stuck in a bus, at work or in an event, you can open the app on your phone to jot down points. This can now be expanded into paragraphs or even chapters in your e-book.

Insider tip: Most people use EverNote, but when I started using the Writer P, it became an instant go-to for me. The app is simple. You can compile ideas in different folders. Save your favourite articles. And it is free for download too.

3. CANVA (PC and mobile): As a content strategist, I am an advocate of the Adobe Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator). Until I found out about Canva. This online platform already has e-book cover templates you can edit to your taste. It is faster, efficient and user-friendly. Especially for beginners.

Insider tip: You can also use Canva to create flyers and social media banners to promote and market your e-book.

4. POWERPOINT (PC): This tool is also a lesser known hack in the e-book industry. I use PowerPoint to create powerful short e-books (as lead magnets) for businesses.

After creating your e-book pages as slides, you can save them as PDF and use it as an e-book. Very cost-effective.

5. ADOBE PHOTOSHOP: This is a more detailed way of creating e-book covers, book trailers and mockups. If you are already familiar with Photoshop, this will boost the excellence you deliver while writing and ‘glamorizing’ your e-book.

Insider tip: You can download free e-book mockups from Freepik. They have tons of design resources for e-books. Both free and premium.

6. ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR: Like Photoshop, this is also detailed. But the awesome thing about Adobe Illustrator is that your e-book covers will be in vector format.

This means you can resize and stretch the picture to any width and length. And the quality still remains the same.

Insider tip: I have seen mediocre e-book covers all over the internet. I don’t blame them. Most of them don’t know the principles of design.

For a better understanding, you should read ‘The Non-Designers Handbook by Robin Williams.’ It breaks how to design stunning and amazing graphics into baby steps.

7. VOICE RECORDER (mobile): Ha, this is one of my favourite tools. Even if you are not close to your phone or don’t feel like writing. You can share your thoughts in audio and then transcribe later. Very powerful tool.

8. NOTE-BOOK/ JOURNAL: I always tell people, ‘never underestimate the power of paper.’ Before the digital age, we recorded ideas on books and jotters.

Our writing instincts also came from drawing and writing on paper. You should use this to your advantage.

Insider tip: You can use your journal for mind-mapping your e-book. Deadlines. Ideas. Chapters. Illustrations. You can map them out in your favourite journal.

9. YOUR BOOK IDEA: The last and definitely not the least is your book idea. Without it, the tools mentioned above will be useless. It is the central framework on which these tools and resources.

And make sure your e-book idea is a winner.

So that’s all. I just gave you a comprehensive list of resources to get your e-book done. This is the ultimate e-book toolkit.

From your content strategist,
Zamai

Any questions? Drop your thoughts in the comments below.

Keep creating magic

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What my Twenties is Teaching Me about Patience, Rejection and Talent.

What my 20s is Teaching Me About Patience

When you are in your 20s, the energy is often there. You try a lot of things, and work with people but the impact looks minimal, compared to the time and energy spent on the hustles and projects.

And in this present age of cybercrimes and increasing display of wealth, it is easy to sway from the right path.

Let me explain this with a few real life scenarios:

1. You just started your business. You sell cakes. Or probably shirts. Your cakes are sweet and amazing. Your shirts are top-quality and fitted. But the customer patronage is low. The sales are coming as you expect.

Then you ask yourself, Why do I have Few customers?

The keyword is PATIENCE.

2. You wrote your first book. You spend a lot of energy and time on it. You are excited. You are hyped up. You finally launch the book. You get a lot of congratulations, but the sales are few. It’s nothing compared to the resources spent.

Then you ask yourself, why is my book not a bestseller?

My dear, the keyword is PATIENCE.

3. You organise an event. You design flyers and publicise on social media. The venue is set. You even bought light refreshments for your guests. You tell your friends, family and even enemies.

Most of them promise to come. You are already imagining a fully packed event. Then the D-day comes. Only ten people attended. And three of them only came because they heard there will be light refreshment.

Then you ask yourself, am I missing something here?

The keyword is PATIENCE.

In these situations, you have two options. You can either wait for your friends to make money and then buy your products. Or you can search for clients who are willing to pay for your services.

Both choices will still take time. It will still require PATIENCE.

Does this mean, you should stop trying? Of course not.

In my 20s, I am realising patience is one of the most underrated virtues. When climbing the ladder of success, it takes patience to stop making rash or stupid decisions. It takes patience to analyse a situation and make the right decision.

My 20s are integral in building my future and it’s teaching me to trust patience. To trust patience for today’s activities. And to trust patience for tomorrow’s expectations.

It’s only a patient man that can work today when he knows his end goal will come tomorrow. It’s only a patient lady who shows up every day for the future’s rewards.

You can always SPEED UP the process through direct mentorship, deliberate practice and careful observation of the greats. But you should NEVER SKIP the process altogether.

TRUST the PROCESS. ENJOY every MOMENT you spend TODAY in improving yourself and your craft.

So as time unfolds, remember this:

“Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.”

The light cannot stay hidden for long. Things will always work out. Always SHOW UP. Your time will surely come.

BE PATIENT.

What my 20s is Teaching Me About Rejection

Dear Creative,

Sometimes Creativity involves the process of rejection. Some days, you have to reject your right to be right all the time. You have to reject instant perfection if you wish to constantly improve.

For you to create works continuously admired by true fans, you have to reject the fact that everyone will truly appreciate your work.

For you to create true success, you have to reject failure as an end, but see it as a means to a victorious end.

So, keep praying for clarity and fulfillment of purpose. Keep applying for opportunities. Look and learn from mentors to guide you on the right steps.

Read Also: For you To Create: You must reject.

And when you win, celebrate. Rejoice in the small wins. Revel in the big wins. Tell yourself you deserve it. Tell yourself God’s grace brought it to your doorsteps.

Then humble yourself once more and continue the process.

In Johnny Drille’s words,

“Keep your heart my friend, don’t lose yourself. In the morning time, the sun go shine.”

What My 20s is Teaching Me About Talent

There’s always the argument whether talent is the only requirement for success. Or if you need other attributes apart from talent to be successful.

Your doubts will be cleared with the famous parable of the Talents. But I will give you a perspective you have never noticed before.

Just read on till the end. The parable started like this:

A man traveling to a far country, called his servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave FIVE TALENTS, to another TWO, and to another ONE, to each ACCORDING TO HIS OWN ABILITY.

In those days, talents were units of weight and money. Both now, a talent is a natural ability or skill.

But both serve the same purpose: GENERATION OF IMPACT and INFLUENCE.

Now let’s continue the story with this context in mind.

The one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and DUG in the GROUND, and HID his Lord’s money.

At one time of our lives, our talent can be buried in the ground. Buried by ideologies, fears, past experiences and loss of interest in developing our talent. It takes a conscious effort to remove the talent from the ground and try to trade with it.

At this moment, this talent is no longer the problem.

As the story unfolded, we discover that RESPONSIBILITIES were rated and rewarded over ABILITIES. It was their capacity to grow and “trade” that earned them their accolades.

But what about the man with the one talent? What is the lesson you can learn from him.

Now this is his statement that will blow your mind.

“…. And I was AFRAID, and went and hid YOUR TALENT. Look, there you have what is yours.”

So these were his reasons. And it can affect us in our daily activities:

1. He was AFRAID. Today, this fear comes in different forms. Fear of rejection, fear of ridicule, fear of failure, and fear of being seen. These fears often push us to bury our own talents in the ground too.

2. He never acknowledged it was his talent. Sometimes, we never accept full responsibilities of our life. We don’t claim the risks and rewards of our decisions and choices. This could be another reason why our talents are still buried.

We also have to guard our talents from dream thieves, vision killers and anybody with a negative approach to our life. These are people who have disregarded their own talent (unless they change) and they want the same for you too.

Now, This is how the parable of the Talents ended:

“For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance, but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away…”

Today, there is a version of this,

THE RICH KEEP GETTING RICHER and the POOR GET POORER.

It is why 1% rule over the majority. It is the reason the top .01 talented are constantly embarrassed with success.

In my 20s, this is what I am learning to apply to my own Talents; It’s from John C. Maxwell’s Talent is never enough:

Use Belief to lift your talent,
Use Passion to energize your talent,
Use Initiative to activate your talent,
Use Focus to direct your talent,
Use Preparation to position your talent,
Use Practice to sharpen your talent,
Use Perseverance to sustain your talent,
Use Courage to test your talent,
Use Teachability to expand your talent,
Use Character to protect your talent,
Use Relationships to influence your talent,
Use Responsibility to strengthen your talent,
Use Teamwork to multiply your talent.

My 20s is teaching me to keep improving my talent, gaining relevant experience, and meeting people of high networth and network.

So that’s it.

Don’t BURY your TALENT in the ground. Make sure your light shine before men and the desired impact and influence will surely come.

To your continued Creativity,
Zamai Banje.

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What my Twenties is Teaching Me About Social Media, Time and Growth

What my 20s is Teaching Me About Social Media, Time and Growth

April is my birth month and I decided to compile a series of what Life has to taught me so far.

As a Creative, it’s difficult to manage our time, grow productively and balance our social media profile in an effective and efficient way.

By the end of this post, you will learn better ways on how to manage your social media life, make good use of your time and decipher the true meaning of growth.

What my 20s is Teaching Me About Social Media

When you’re in your 20s, you realise there will be always two kinds of people on your social media community:

There are people who came solely for the likes, comments and shares. The clicks on a Facebook post. The funny replies on Twitter. The beautiful Snapchat filters. The double tap of love on an Instagram post.

They see Social media as a game. They just came to “like” and “be liked.”

On the other side, there are the ‘serious people’. The ones who see Social media as a business or monetisation opportunities. They only came to boost their brands and advertise their business. To them, more likes should translate to more money. And more followers must convert to more customers.

Irrespective of which side you belong to, there is a common thread.

In my 20s, I have realised Social media is mostly “trailers” and “highlights”. Most times, you don’t get to see the boring parts and stressful behind-the-scene moments of other people’s lifestyles. You don’t get to see their missed goals and awkward tackles on life.

But that’s fine.

In my 20s, I am realising social media is a tool of amplification. News spreads faster. School girls can go viral. It is the word of mouth on steroids.

Social Media

So what my 20s is teaching me about social media is simple:

Leverage SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS and USE it to your ADVANTAGE.

Surely, Social media has given everybody a voice to speak and a level playing field. But you must still have a skill worthy of mention. You must have values that can be shared with the world.

If it’s making people laugh, or sharing your dose of wisdom with others. If it’s sharing your expertise on a particular field or describing your journey as you learn something new.

When done with Consistency and Passion, people will surely come to watch you. They will definitely ‘like’ you and eventually give you money when the right time comes.

Whether as a GAME or BUSINESS, use SOCIAL MEDIA to your advantage, but don’t it REPLACE REAL LIFE.

And continue to cultivate positive and healthy relationships. Whether online or offline.

What My 20s Is Teaching Me About Time

When you are in your 20s, you have time in abundance. It’s the same twenty four hours for everyone, but you have more energy to stay awake. And there are so many interests, passions and causes that compete for your ‘seemingly infinite’ time.

Whether it’s launching a business, or growing your business. Whether it’s finding a job, or maintaining your current job.

Starting an NGO. Or being part of an NGO. Watching a personal development video. Or re-watching Game of Thrones. The options are limitless.

Then all of a sudden, your time now looks short.

There are some days I wake up by 5am, go to work, read voraciously, write over a thousand words, do an online course, sleep by 1am and still feel energetic the next day.

Yet on other days, I go out, gist with friends, and binge-watch an entire season of Netflix’s Umbrella Academy.

Does this mean I’m wasting my time?

Well, I don’t know yet. I’m still in my 20s after all. The Universe always have funny ways of connecting these dots and making them work for our good.

However, nobody had said on his death bed, “I wish I had one more day to make more money.” Neither has anybody said, “Damn. I wish I knew if Arya Stark really dies in the second episode of the final season.”

Let me drop a quick advice on what my 20s has taught me so far about time.

In your 20s, when making a decision about using time, remember this adage:

“Remember to serve the Creator in the days of your youth.”

When you remember, your priorities become aligned once more. Clarity, Certainty and Confidence will reflect with your purpose. And the daily tasks continue to flow with your goals and projects.

So that’s it.

My 20s are part of my youth and it’s teaching me how to manage time wisely. To use it for the right values and causes.

It always pays to make choices that will serve you well. Both now and in the future. Both in the present and later.

USE your TIME WISELY. Or at least most of it.

What my 20s is Teaching Me About Growth

In your younger years, You might be familiar with this definition of growth – “Growth is the irreversible increase in age and size.”

But as you grow older, this concept changes.

In my 20s, Growth is now the increase in character, competence and convictions. The attitude you exhibit. The passion and dedication you infuse in your work and craft. And the values and principles that govern your daily decisions.

That is all that matters to you, those around you, and your creator.

As I celebrate a new age, my 20s is teaching me that growth is not just counting the number of birthdays I have witnessed so far on earth.

But it’s also in the quality of my relationships – people above, below and on my level. Growth reflects in the influence I have over people and in the values I try to teach and learn on a daily basis.

The growth is also in the path God is creating for me.

“For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord. And He ponders all his paths.”

The destination may change. The career prospects may not be what you planned it to be.

But one thing is still sure.

God’s Grace. Dedication. Diligence. Perseverance. Creativity.

The principles that worked for successful people will still work for us too.

So Dear Creative, what has your 20s about Social Media, Time and Growth?

If you enjoyed this article or learned something from it, Then SHARE to your friends too.

Photo credits: Adrian Mcdonald photography and Pixabay

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Thoughts on Creativity and Travel: My visit to Heroes Square, Owerri, Imo state.

Looking for a way to improve your Creativity?

Then Travel. Explore. And visit places you’ve never been before.

My short experience will definitely convince you on how traveling can boost your creativity.

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.

The above statement was made by Mark Twain and after my visit to Heroes Square in Owerri, Imo state Nigeria, I totally agree with him.

So here’s my story:

A WALK WITH THE HEROES.

Recently, I visited the Heroes Square in Owerri and despite the controversy and backlash it received on its launch, it’s a sight to behold.

The Heroes Square (also called Heroes Park) consist of statues erected by the Okorocha administration to commemorate the good works they have done for their countries and the African continent as a whole.

At first glance, the statues seem daunting, but the sculptor really created masterpieces that will be admired for years to come:

My favourite is that of Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. His statue is resplendent, complete in his military uniform. Even his famous beard is finely sculpted.

The statue of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe assumes the posture of an aristocratic plea. Probably asking for the Nigerian dream he tried to build and why it has been abandoned.

Sir Tafawa Balewa is depicted in a scholarly look, with a book in his left hand. There’s also our past President Olusegun Obasanjo, raising his fist to the air.

Visiting Heroes park gave me a mental break from my current activities and created distance from the workload for the week. I felt refreshed while viewing the statues and admiring the creative work imbued by the sculptor.

My walk with the heroes continues with Jacob Zuma whose statue attracted a lot of controversy still stands in the Heroes Square, Owerri. He is dressed in suit with a forlorn look on his face.

I also loved the salutation pose adopted by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first female to be elected President in Africa.

Other statues included; Nana Akufo-Addo and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, ( I love Kwame’s walking stick), Chief Sam Mbakwe and Dr. Akanu Ibiam.

Like the statues representing different African countries, my mind also opened to new ideas, forming connections with previous problems bothering my work and writing.

Indeed, creativity can come from new and exciting experiences. It is not just changing locations and gaining new knowledge, but it was also the planning, laughter and weird poses with friends that made it an amazing experience.

So, Dear Creative, where can you travel to expand your mind and improve your creativity?
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If you plan on visiting Owerri, make sure you visit the place.

N.B: All photos in this post were taken by Zamai Banje (that’s me of course).

Please feel free to share. But with my permission and name attached.

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Ways to Increase your creativity during your leisure.

Have you wondered if you can have fun and be creative at the same time?

Is it possible to work and play simultaneously?

Yes, it’s possible. You can still improve your creativity during your leisure.

That is what this article is for.

Because some days, creativity is simply letting those ideas loose. One way or another. Sometimes, it’s channelling your genius into a productive process. Or a way of expressing yourself and your way of thinking.

In this post, you will see some activities. Please remember, we have different learning styles; this also applies to creative patterns.

From Tanner Christensen’s book, The Creativity Challenge, creativity can be triggered either in a convergent (combining ideas), divergent (finding relationships between ideas) or emergent (when the idea suddenly drops in your head) way.

The possibilities are endless.

Find the one that suits you. The activity that channels and boosts your optimism. Just find the creative hobby that defines you the most.

Here are a few activities you can do in your free time to boost your creativity:

N.B: This article discusses these activities from a point of creativity and the love of learning and curiousity.

#1: Writing.

This is my personal favourite. Maybe it’s because I’m an introvert, but it certainly works a lot. For everyone who has tried it.

You can write non-fiction or fiction. It does not matter. The most important thing is the process.

Love the process. The ink spilling on paper. The words forming in your head. The ideas and thoughts you try to scribble and organise from your head.

For example, you already know the art of writing in a journal. It clears the head. This act allows to pen your thoughts, ideas, reflect on today and prepare for a better tomorrow.

Or is it writing poetry? Writing short spontaneous poems forces you to think and find creative solutions with a confined set of rules.

Ever tried writing a story or from another person’s perspective? This promotes divergent thinking and tends to increase your powers of observation on a daily basis.

This is what writing will do to you. At least it has done this for me. And so much more.

2. PHOTOGRAPHY

A picture is worth a thousand words. Indeed, photography can be an alternative creative task to writing.

Often attuned for the extroverts – the travellers and explorers, the thing I love about photography is the different elements involved before the final image comes out.

The timing. The weather condition. The angle. The subject. The setting. The retouches. Everything depends on you.

All it takes is a keen eye, an imaginative mind and a curious heart.

Smartphones have also smoothen the transition of photography; they have made capturing daily moments effortless and every moment is special.

Do you know photography enhances convergent thinking? The way we combine these factors to produce something wonderful. Or something funny and quirky.

Other outlets involve:

#3: Painting/Drawing

This creative hobby is good for those who think in pictures and have a strong sense of imagination. Aesthetic thinking is definitely increased when doing this activity.

#4: Dancing

I’m not a good dancer, ( I dance though. In my bathroom), but I know dancing brings joy and energy which in turn boosts creative thinking.

#5: Singing/Playing instruments

I almost forgot singing. As a lover of music, hearing tunes and melodies is always magical. And creating magic – even a little bit can strengthen your innovative process.

PLEASE NOTE: The creative activities are endless. As mentioned earlier, perform the activity that gives you joy. Because true Creativity is personal. It’s working on your art and craft with all you’ve got.

So that’s it.

Whether it’s writing a thousand words or taking a photo. Just do you. Do what defines you. Because the goal is to create.

And if possible, create magic and miracles. Then apply the same passion and creative pattern to your work and art.

So dear Creative, what will you do henceforth to develop your creative patterns?

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What every creative can learn from the Greatest Showman movie.

Well, if you have not watched or heard about the Greatest Showman movie, you are probably on another planet.

Loved by both young and old, the movie (produced by Twentieth century Fox) became an instant hit because of its blend of choreography, emotions displayed by the actors, wonderful storyline and entertaining musicals.

Asides that, it was my favourite movie of 2018.

However, I watched it again from a creative perspective and discovered mind-blowing lessons you and I can apply while adopting creativity in our respective niche.

So here are seven lessons every creative can learn from watching the movie:

(P.S: Even if you haven’t watched the movie, I would advise you read this post and rush afterwards to watch the movie.)

1. Have a breathtaking introduction

I heard recently you have only ten seconds to engage an audience in your creative work or you lose their interest forever. The Greatest Showman movie was not afraid to play a powerful opening scene (which was similar to the ending).

Always be free. Feel free to hit your best shot at the beginning. Make your audience crave for your work the instant it is launched. Leave them curious right from the start.

Once you do this, you have got them hooked till the end. That’s what happens whenever I watch this amazing movie.

2. You only go far as your imagination

The protagonist, P.T. Barnum (played by Hugh “Wolverine” Jackman) had a poor upbringing, yet he married a lady from a wealthy family and became “the greatest showman.” This was because of his strong sense of imagination. P.T. Barnum never stopped imagining and it consistently paid off throughout the movie.

Another character, Jenny Lind (played by Rebecca Ferguson) also dropped a powerful quote:

“A man’s station is determined by his imagination.”

As a creative, you must keep imagining. Keep seeking new ways of creating your work. Keep finding fresh angles to accomplish your craft.

If you practice this, you will be an unstoppable force.

3. It is possible to sell dreams

This was definitely the most emotional lesson I picked from the movie. P.T. Barnum sold his dreams of presenting the ‘exotic and magical’ to hundreds of his countrymen and he got paid for it.

Hence, no matter how weird your dreams are, there will always be a way. Your dreams can surely be monetized and sold to the world.

4. Marketing (Advertising) sure helps

Without promotion, something terrible happens…nothing!” – P.T Barnum.

Well, Marketing (especially offline) has not been on the strong side for me. But as time goes on, I have discovered it is needed for your ideology to reach the world.

Advertising is needed for your creative genie to gain more traction and flourish.

P.T. Barnum was not only the greatest in his showmanship business; he also showed it in his dealings with people. His conversation with Philip Carlyle (played by Zac Efron) was a brilliant illustration.

So learn to sway people into your thinking. Always show the immense benefits of dealing with you.

5. Your ‘BIG IDEA’ has already appeared to YOU

Barnum’s idea of a circus for the extraordinary came in his early days when a hunchback fed him an apple. This was his own ‘BIG IDEA’.

If you are over twenty, your big idea has already manifested in one form or another. It could be in form of a paperwork, abstract thoughts, news headline, comments from family, friends or well-wishers, seeing a painting in an antique shop, or waiting for a train to arrive.

Search deeper. Meditate and have flashbacks on your most creative days in past experiences. You will surely get a glimpse of the big idea.

My own ideology of chasing creativity was reflecting on my childhood days when I retold folktale stories (I will surely share some of these stories later on)

6. Things will go wrong when you start pleasing everybody

“I don’t know the key to success, but I know the key to failure is pleasing everybody.”

The above statement (attributed to Winston Churchill) is profound and was shown in the movie.

P.T. Barnum almost lost everything because of his desire to please the Herald reporter, Charity’s parents and the society’s elites. Philip wanted to please his own parents and almost lost the love of his life (played by Zendaya).

The advice here can be taken verbatim from the movie:

“You don’t need everyone to love you. Just a few good people.”

7. Have a purpose that exceeds the money

This is definitely the greatest lesson from the Greatest Showman.
When the money is coming, always have a sense of purpose. Have a set of core values to guide your decisions and relationships. Focus on what is important.

What saved Phil and Barnum was the core values they imbibed in others. For Phil, it was his friendship, love and adoration for fulfilling work that saved his share of his business.

And as for Phineas Theodore (P.T) Barnum, it was his creativity, sense of imagination and family love that finally made him a happy man.

So dear creative, which lesson from the movie will you apply to your craft?

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Want to be Creative? Then adopt these 3 easy steps used by Children

I’m sure you remember when you were very young, worry-free and constant ideas ran through your little mind.

Or maybe you currently have a kid bro (or sis) who is happy drawing with crayons, building blocks and tapping away on your smartphone.

And then you wonder:
WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO ME? WHY DON’T I FEEL AS CREATIVE AS BEFORE?

Don’t worry.

After reading this post, your creativity will be boosted in double folds.

You will work on your business without fear, but with joy and happiness. You will learn the traits children express in their prime, which gives them unlimited passion and energy.

And you will apply it to your life and activities too.

This post contains three ultimate tips to boosting your creativity, just by observing the beautiful minds of children.

Have you ever seen the statement below?

Every child is born an artist; the problem is staying an artist when we grow up.”

The above quote is attributed to famous painter, Pablo Picasso (most likely where the photo editing app, ‘Picasa’ got their name from).

We might be adults now, but here are the three ultimate tips we can adapt to our creative lifestyle:

BE PLAYFUL AND IDEAS (EVEN PEOPLE) WILL DANCE AT YOUR FEET

Ironically, I underestimated this tip because I was not playful during my childhood days. However, Todd Henry, author of The Accidental Creative: How to be Brilliant at a moment’s notice, stresses the importance of play in the life of a creative.

Only through play, you can apply those crazy and quirky techniques you probably won’t do in a workplace or in a job of a client. Try them out.

Play and explore with unbridled freedom.

Have a sense of adventure. Be full of life and energy. Don’t grouch and greet everybody with a sneer (unless that’s your outward style).

But, always be happy and happy inwards. Let your heart always scream with joy when you create. Let your brain tingle with excitement when the time for work starts.

Playful energy also happens to be contagious. People are always attracted with lively creatives. It is probably the wildfire of long-lasting and beneficial relationships. Because positivity is infectious and spreads very fast.

BE CURIOUS AND THE DOTS WILL SURELY CONNECT

Children love to explore with a sense of wonder and animated curiosity. They constantly open themselves to new experiences.

Be curious. Have a sense of wonder. Always look at your task from a fresh perspective. No matter how monotonous the task could be. Or even if you have been doing the said activity for years.

Success often comes by consistently improving yourself and your craft. But Mastery comes from finding the dots from other fields and connecting them to your own work. This can only come through curiosity.

BE VULNERABLE AND THE UNIVERSE WILL OPEN TO YOU

With their immaturity and openness, children are the most vulnerable in the life stages of humans. Yet, this weakness is also their greatest strength.

In a world where almost everybody puts on a “all-is-good” mask, smiling faces and refuse to share their problems, be the opposite. Share your hopes, fears, and beliefs in the work you produce.

Ask questions. Don’t hide your ignorance. Open up to a few people you can trust with your secrets. Take advice from mentors and people you admire.

Appreciate feedbacks even the crazy pessimistic ones. Sift out the sense your haters and nay-sayers may be trying to say. As the adage goes, there is an element of truth in any rumor.

Whether you want to be a god in your self-talk and attitude. Or be human in your mistakes and when limitations come. Just be yourself. Just do you.

So, be vulnerable. Trust in your work. Trust in yourself. Trust in your friends to like you and share your work. Trust in your clients to come back and for more referrals. Trust in giving more value, even for free, sometimes. Just keep trusting.

Sometimes, trust will get you stabbed in the back: it might earn you ridicule and jest in your career or craft. But trust me, in the long run, vulnerability will get you into higher places. It will take you to higher levels where good always overpowers the evil.

And when that time comes, you will realize the Universe has always been opening doors for you. And it will continue to create opportunities for you, your work and your ideas.

So that’s it.

With these three traits copied from the younger versions of ourselves, our creativity can be boosted in a thousand folds.

Reading this hack might make you wonder less about the words spoken two thousand years ago:

“Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Maybe He was speaking about creativity too.

So dear creative, which trait will you adapt in your life today?

Photo credits: Unsplash.com

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For you to Create, you must reject.

Rejection. Creativity.

These two words are unrelated and ought not to be in the same line. But I have a story that will change your perspective on their relationship.

As a youth, I often viewed rejection as the gradual decimation of my self-worth. If my article got rejected, it meant my words were not worthy enough to put for the outside world. If I did not win a writing contest, it meant everyone’s writing style was better than mine.

If a client edited my work, it meant my energy, resources and time were wasted efforts. If my manuscript was rejected, it meant I was just a wannabe writer added to their rubbish pile. And if my job application was declined, it meant I was never supposed to be in this career path.

For a long time, I held on to this destructive ideology and kept this harmful trait to myself. During this period, I admired my favorite writers. I devoured their books, blog posts and general viewpoints on life. I copied their writing styles and claimed it as my own.

But because of my fixed mindset, the creative genie in me finally waned off and got locked in the lamp of criticism and self-esteem.

Yet, one day, after seeking self-awareness and a bid to know more about creativity; the truth dawned on me. Creativity also involves a process of rejection.

Hence, I stopped the art of copy and paste; instead, I added my personal touch in form of experiences, knowledge and outlook. This led to the application of the copy-innovate-and-paste technique.

I realized creativity is more than saying yes to producing works of art, science and business; it is saying No to self-limiting beliefs.

Creativity is not just accepting the fact you have to think outside the box. It also means rejecting the tendency to remain in the box.

SO HOW DOES THIS AFFECT THE WAY YOU CREATE?

For you to create something spectacular in your workplace, you have to reject mediocrity.

For you to create through curiosity and love for learning, you have to reject your right to be right all the time.

For you to create through constant improvement, you have to reject instant perfection.

For you to create works continuously admired by true fans, you have to reject the fact that everyone will truly appreciate your work.

For you to create true success, you have to reject failure as an end, but see it as a means to a victorious end.

For you to create something that makes people go ‘Aha’ and ‘Wow’, you have to reject the notion that it will only take one Eureka moment to do that.

Until I realized Creativity is not just saying Yes to developing the creative genie in you. It is also saying No to the mediocre thieves in your head.

So dear creative, what will you reject today to unleash your creativity?

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What is Creativity to You?

Whenever you hear the word Creativity, what comes to your mind?

Do you believe creativity is a unique trait found only in geniuses e.g. Albert Einstein, Mozart, Charles Darwin, Chinua Achebe or Leonardo Da Vinci? Or do you believe it is a value out of the reach of ordinary individuals like you and I?

You need to define creativity at one point of your life or the other.

In Elizabeth Gibert’s words, “Creativity is the hallmark of our species.” Creativity is a gift from the creator to you, and it should be shared to your audience.

Creativity is the zero to one formula. Creating something from nothing. It is the tendency to create works of art, science and business from thoughts generated from our mind, heart and soul.

To Leonardo da Vinci, creativity was exploring various fields from painting, sculpture, architecture, botany, anatomy to cartography and connecting the dots to create brilliant works of art.

To J.K Rowling, creativity was writing day and night to create a magical fictional universe currently loved by millions. Just because she observed her environment while waiting for a train.

To Paulo Coelho, creativity is paving a path of the Warrior of light, pursuing your dreams with a strong conviction that the Universe will conspire in your favour and make good things come to you. This eventually led him to write one of the most translated books of all time.

To Jay Shetty, creativity is using his past experiences as a monk and using videos as channels of wisdom on relationships, personal development and life in general. In his own terms, the focus is make ‘wisdom go viral.’

To John Obidi, creativity is building and maintaining a thriving community of problem solvers and creative thinkers spread across Africa. Just by providing value and sharing his drive for personal development.

To some individuals, creativity could be travelling to see new lands, cultures and connecting with strangers to gain a wider perspective on life.

And yet to others, creativity is a solitary task. It is simply securing a quiet spot and specific time where they can connect with their inner genie to create life-changing and soul-satisfying works.

Creativity is learning the rules and bending them to your advantage. When push comes to shove, creativity is breaking the rules.

So learn to define creativity in your own terms. Make sure your view on creativity comes from your interests, passions and experiences. And you can make creativity a deliberate and intentional act.

Because it is one of the few ways to distinguish yourself from others. It is the only way to build a strong personal brand and stand out in the crowd.

To me, creativity is being curious, open minded and enthusiastic about learning. It is learning to trust in my work and leaving a part of myself in anything I write. It is also breaking the illusion that creativity is meant for geeks and nerds alone.

To me, creativity can be a daily part of my life. And it can be yours too.

So, dear what is creativity to you?

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