How to innovate daily?

Using the science of motivation to foster creativity.

 

“All of you are free to help the children the way you want to through the medium of workshops, counselling, teaching etc,” announced the head of the N.G.O where me and my fellow classmates of my psychology class were present to help the students of a school ran by the N.G.O. The statement announced our freedom to help the students the way we wanted to, pushing us to innovate and think creatively. As a result , with workshops in the domain of sex education to personal level counselling, we helped the students in more ways than we could have imagined.

Human beings are creative beings. We sit down with a tissue paper and a pen, we scribble doodles, we sit together with friends and create poems with rhyming lines with each friend coming up with a new line ( no matter how nonsense) , we are born creative. Whatever we create and innovate as a result of our creativity is our own natural extension. Hence there is no doubt that a lot of people feel suffocated and that there is no growth occurring in their life where creativity is hindered, e.g — most of 9 to 5 jobs.

In the age of ever growing competition, innovating daily is more of a necessity rather than a choice and creativity is an important part of that.
But in a world where we consume more than we create, where often times our work forces us to be in an environment where creativity is hindered, the big question is how to motivate people (employees, students etc) to create and think in a convergent fashion.

The answer lies in the science of motivation especially in autonomy, intrinsic motivation, progress analysis and persistence

Autonomy is an important factor for motivating people, when people feel that they are free , independent and responsible for their actions, they are more motivated towards the task provided ( here task = think creatively). Google has been known to assign one hour break to its employees where they are free to innovate, to come up with new products in an environment of boundless freedom in creative terms. The result, a lot of popular Google products like AdSense came out of this free hour.

Furthermore an environment of unrestricted creativity allow people to do what they ‘want to’ do, innovate in the way they ‘want to’ do it. When people are doing something out of love for the task, for the inherent satisfaction that activity provides, they are intrinsically motivated. It has been found that people work better when they are intrinsically motivated rather than extrinsically motivated (based on punishments and rewards). In fact if you force people to innovate and think creatively through rewards, you may end up causing more harm than good as extrinsic motivation often kills intrinsic motivation.

While providing freedom and autonomy maybe very important in promoting creativity, an important trick is to analyse one’s progress throughout these creative efforts. Analyzing our progress motivates us to progress furthermore. Example — keeping yourself updated about the progress of your book ( word count, chapters) is highly likely to push you to write further rather than leaving your project in between.

Last but not the least , the most under looked element of creative thinking is persistence and continuous efforts to think creatively and innovate. While we are naturally made to be creative, it’s helpful to keep in mind that it requires ceaseless efforts and disciplined approach to use your creative abilities effectively the same way a skillful dancer requires disciplined and continuous practice to master his/her skills.

Before you continue with your creative pursuits , feel free to share and make my day

A Thought For The Internet Age

You are leaving for your work, ready for the day, brimming with excitement or most likely not, your smartphone fully charged and your mind conditioned almost in a Pavlovian way to scan through the endless stream of emails, tweets, posts, news, stories where you read a lot yet learn nothing. You look at the Calender resting on top of your fridge that displays a new quote for every single day in the year that you forget to notice more often than not. But today is not like the others because it’s not everyday that you find a quote so relevant to your daily life that you cease your movement despite being in a rush and reflect upon the your planned activities and rethink them. Go ahead read it, maybe it will have the same effect on you.

                             

A 2 minute crash course in writing effective ebooks

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The world wide web, since its inception 25 years ago, has been successful in fulfilling its primary aim, that is to empower everyone with the required information. Today information is available in abundance but the quantity acts more of a con rather than a pro. The hardest thing nowadays is to extract meaningful information that is really useful from the endless stream of data.

That’s where ebooks come in, and I am talking about the information providing ebooks that can often be the best way to gain organic growth towards your brand, startup or yourself. An ebook can help you establish trust and authority among your prospective customers, readers.

It is said that people go for a ebook not because of its ‘originality’ but because of the convenience it provides in terms of gaining knowledge about a particular topic.

Here are the four problems that an useful ebook solve vs the abundant data already available online :

It extracts the essential information

Pick any topic and you will find more than enough information available online for free, a plethora of articles. More often than not these articles have little useful information ( information that can be explained in a few lines) and are extended purposefully for the sake of looking like an article. A good ebook contains only the useful information that provides value to the reader.

Good information is scattered. An ebook curates it.

Let’s say you search for tips regarding xyz, although you are bound to find good information but chances are high that all the good content, tips and advises will be available in a single place. A major reason people go for ebooks is that they have the comfort of having all the important information in a single place rather than having the same information scattered of multiple places.

It solves the problem of repeated content

Type in any hot buzzword and you are most likely to get articles such as — “5 ways to……”, “10 things you did not know about….”, “The best advice to……”, “How top people do…….”, “The most effective way to…”, “Doing this can make you more…”.

You open up all those articles to find that most of them are the same, centered around the similar piece of information, the same dish served in a different platter. Hence ebooks solve the problem of repeated content and saves the reader his/her most valuable asset — time.

Ebooks have the ‘Flow’

This probably is the best feature about reading stuff in a book format, books have a flow, the chapters are connected with each other and provide a flow that makes it easier to digest the content. Effective books beautifully transition from discussing about the problem to finally suggesting solutions to the problem.

A better blogging platform?

I recently questioned people on quora “Medium vs Quora, which is a better blogging platform?”. These are relatively new blogging platforms and if you have time, feel free to check them out, they are really good. Unfortunately I was unable to receive a suitable answer and had to research myself. Here are the results :

First of all, both the mediums are way different (and way less developed) than regular blogging platforms like WordPress, Blogger and so on.

To review both the platforms, I posted my most liked post from my blog on both the sites. Here is my experience:

Medium – First of all, Medium is great looking — the UI, readability, everything. There is nice content rolling in already. But still I don’t get it — what’s all the fuss about? I mean Medium is a well-made product but nothing revolutionary or such coming from the guy who brought us Blogger.

The editor is easy to use but lacks a lot of features. I know another startup named Marquee that lets you create beautiful content too just like Medium. When you post something, you have to put it in a collection or you can create one.

I posted my article in a collection hoping to get more visibility. Right now, you may get to see posts in a collection that are not relevant to it but is a great feature.

Plus there are no like, dislike or share buttons. You can recommend something (which is simply sharing the article on Twitter). Plus I noticed that you can select a particular text and add notes to it. That seemed pretty great.

Medium is great for collaborative purposes. It’s going be great for people who create content together but as far as others (the majority) are others are concerned, they would not mind sticking to their current blogging platform. Another thing that I noticed that unlike others blogging platforms, you don’t get ayou.Bloggingplatform.Com sub-domain.

Let’s talk about stats. After posting my article, I got 4 views within 2 days.
I know it’s not a lot. But there is a particular section in stats called Reading Ratio which displayed 100% meaning people who clicked on the headline actually read the full post (that gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling).

Overall Medium is going to appeal to a certain section of users for now but that section is going to love it. In fact, I like it too but it still needs a lots of improvements.

Quora as a blogging platform — well there’s nothing much to say except that it’s unbelievable in terms of views. I know when the Quora team officially introduced the blogging platform they talked about how much traffic users already get on an average. My post received 50+ views within two days, no posting to other sites, nothing. In fact just after refreshing the page after posting my article I received 4 views and after another second, 7 views.

The editor is kind of usual, not so pleasing to the eyes but has all the features one needs to have. Though the final result is nice and highly readable. You can share, comment and so on.

The only thing that makes Quora a better blogging platform is that your post can be discovered by people (most of them actually willing to read your stuff). And just like on everything else, you can see who exactly viewed your post, which is more than amazing.

As of now I guess I will use both the platforms, after all it just takes a moment or so for posting your stuff but my inclinations are largely towards Quora because of the community of readers here.

Here is my blog (not my primary one) on Quora – That Creativity Blog.

You can read the article that I have posted on the both the sites there.

Cheaper Devices, Greater Accessibility, Wider Reach

“You are reading an excerpt from the free e-book Self Publishing in 2013. You can download it here.

Thanks to the recent advancements in technology, devices that cost a lot will become cheaper, who knows, even free.

Yes free, but why would someone give away devices like Smartphones and e-readers for free?

Well, it’s all about the ecosystem. Let’s say you bought a Kindle reader, a one time investment, and just a few dollars of profits for Amazon. But think of all the books you buy from the Kindle e-store and will continue to buy, Amazon takes its charges for all the books you purchase and that’s where the real money is.

That’s how it works in the Android ecosystem, the Ios system. Every time you purchase an app, these companies make a profit. So there is nothing to be surprised about if someone in the future says to you “Hey! Have heard about that free Smartphone.” It’s possible , because they want you to become a part of their ecosystem.

Now for you, as a self publisher it means a greater number of potential readers. After all, a recent study says that most of the tablet users spend the largest portion of their time reading.

A little advice : Different devices mean different sized screens, make sure your book is formatted perfectly for the perfect reading experience on all the devices.

So the world didn’t end, but I found a great movie about it.

Well, the world didn’t end. Good thing. My Facebook feed was populated with the joke about how people will be celebrating fool’s day on 21 December from now onwards.

But hey, writers wrote amazing books about this apocalypse and many great movies were made about it, that helped us in believing that “Hey! Maybe the world could actually end on 21st December.”

But one great movie I found yesterday was this short film called “Forever Not So Long”. It’s an award winning film, in the romance , comedy genre. I believe you guys will enjoy the movie. Here it is:

Forever’s Not So Long from garrettmurray on Vimeo.

NaNoWriMo is over, what’s next?

So NaNoWriMo came to an end, and hopefully you ended up with a great manuscript too.

What’s next now?

Editing, cover design , formatting, publishing, promotions. Well all the best with that, but do you know that 80% percent of self published books sell less than 100 copies, what’s your plan regarding that?

Promoting is hard, selling is hard, but Bookpages can help you out. Want to see how? Check it out here.

Making your twitter profile more beautiful

Your twitter profile just became a little bit more awesome courtesy the cover photo addition to your profile. I have seen these quite a long time ago, but only recently I received a notification from twitter that asked me to enable this feature.

I suggest you to go on, and try it today, you can do so from the settings of your twitter profile. Add a cover picture that reflects you. Mine is a picture of mountains, calm, partly in dark shades of night, it’s something I feel good about when I look at it.

Try it today and don’t forget to tell me about the cover pic you have added along with a description about why you have added it in the comments section. Go Ahead, make your precious twitter account more beautiful today.

 

 

 

 

 

A Little Promotion

Self Publishing is easy. Selling and marketing your book is the hard part. Bookpages helps you sell your book better. Bookpages are single page websites specially designed for your book. Check out what they can do for you and your book.

 

Self publishing is easy, Selling and marketing your book is hard. Bookpages is here to help.

Self Publishing is easy. Selling and marketing your book is the hard part. Bookpages helps you sell your book better. Bookpages are single page websites specially designed for your book.

Why you need bookpages?

As a self publisher-
-You have to constantly remind people your book is out there.
-Then you try to tell them what it is about.

-Followed by “Hey! My book has been reviewed at xyz, check it out”

-You have to tirelessly tell people that your book is available on different platforms.

-Instead of writing you have to tell people that they can “follow you on twitter, facebook and so on.

What if you could focus more on writing and provide all this information without any hassle in a single place. Bookpages helps you do that, that too, gorgeously.

FEATURES-

A Gorgeous website that includes About the book, Excerpts, Buy now, Author, Praise/Reviews Section.
One time fees of $99, no recurring fees. * (The only recurring fee is $15/year from the second year that are domain and hosting charges.)
Awesome support.
No coding skills required. Don’t waste your time editing either.Get your site online within 3-4 days.
Get a QR code for your site.
Optimized for mobile phones.
See for yourself The Sample Site.
HOW IT WORKS?
Your site in 3 easy steps.
1. You fill up a form with relevant details. It takes a few minutes to fill it.
2. We contact you with your billing info. You make the payment.
3. Soon, you get a gorgeous looking website for your book.
And…
(All this happens within 3-4 days after the payment.)
Go Ahead – Make your site now.

Everything Is Incredible

I feel honored today, not because of any personal achievement of mine but because of what I’m going to share with you all. Not once, not twice but multiple times in our lives we say “Hey! I can’t do that, I don’t have the resources”, “I guess I will wait for the right time, I’ll do it later” or maybe “What about the world , what would they say, won’t they think I’m crazy if I try to do this.”

Well if you have a dream, nothing can stop you from living it. If you have a dream, go ahead don’t wait for the right time, work today, work now to make it  a reality, even if you fail, you will have a great journey, a great experience to look back to. And don’t worry about the others, each idea is a failure until it brought into the real world, no new invention would have been there if everyone thought about the others and failures.

Now here is what made me say these things which you might have heard earlier too. It’s the story of Augustin.

Agustin ravaged by Polio has set out to over come his poverty and disease by building a helicopter.
Please help  in the  effort to tell this amazing story.