Wallace Wattles in his classic book on abundance, The Science of Getting Rich, says that, when it comes to creating a life of abundance, ‘You are to get rid of all thought of competition. You are to create, not compete.” Learning to develop and operate from our creative mind, he says, is key to creating abundance in every aspect of our lives. The idea that one must compete in order to be successful is something that seems ingrained in our Western culture. And yet the truth is the idea that success comes through competition actually comes from a scarcity mindset that believes there are limited resources, and that in order for me to be successful, I must win out over someone else. However, when we understand that we live in an infinitely abundant Universe, we realize that no one needs to lose in order for someone else to win. Rather, our success comes from our ability to create. In fact, lasting and permanent success comes only through creativity, not competition. When we tap into the creative power of the Universe, our ability to think beyond our current experience skyrockets. Our aptitude for thinking outside the box of increases, and the possibility for exponential change and massive success is unparalleled.

Developing our creative mind requires practice. This is a mental muscle that needs exercise just as sure as our bicep, if it is to get stronger. Here are eight ways I’ve found to help develop and support my creative mind muscle.

1.    Stay connected to your creative source. We live in an infinitely intelligent and creative Universe. It makes sense that the more intimately connected we are to that source, the greater flow of creativity we will experience in our lives. Wallace Wattles says that the fastest and surest way to live in connection to this creative source is through deep and profound gratitude. Gratitude reminds us that everything we are and have is a gift and that there is a power greater than ourselves operating in our Universe. It is this power, this infinite intelligence that is the source of all creative thought.

2.    Make a date with creativity. Make a date with yourself each week to think creatively. Focus on whatever it is you are seeking to expand in your life. I have created Outrageous Thinking Thursdays for myself. Every Thursday morning, I spend time brainstorming about my business. There is only one rule – Think Outrageously. Nothing is off limits. In fact, the wilder the better. No editing allowed. I allow myself to brainstorm incredible possibilities. The more impossible it seems, the better. I am training my mind to think beyond its current paradigm of what’s possible. When we allow ourselves to play outside the walls of our current beliefs, our mind gets more comfortable playing there, and the walls of our paradigm begin to shift.  Creating conscious space for thinking creatively is key to developing your creative mind muscle.

3.    Keep an idea journal. Ideas are the currency of the Universe. Every business that has ever been created, every piece of furniture in our home, every car we have ever driven, and every piece of clothing we own, first started with an idea. This is how the Universe works. When you get in your car in the morning, if you don’t have an idea of where you want to go, you will just sit in the driveway revving the engine. Everything starts with an idea and I have found that one way to be a good steward of those ideas is to keep an idea journal. Prior to this, ideas about my business would be mixed in with the grocery list or buried in my journal. Now I keep a specific journal where I capture any ideas that come to me about my business. This is where I do my brainstorming. This is sacred space to me. By consciously tracking any and all ideas that come to me, I’m sending a signal to my creative mind that not only can I handle what you are sending me, but I am ready and prepared for more.

4.    Celebrate the successes of others. When we celebrate the success of others, we recognize, that what is possible for them, is possible for us as well. If you are a massage therapist, and another therapist’s business is flourishing, rather than feeling like, that’s one less client for me, recognize that it represents what’s possible for you in your business. A friend of mine recently came up with a great idea for an online business. I mean, it is a brilliant idea and I know it will be a huge success. I found myself feeling like, “Darn, I wish I had thought of that.” And I even said it out loud to her once. Then I caught myself and realized that I had slipped into a competitive mindset. I reminded myself that the Universe if full of brilliant ideas and that I have the same access she has. Reminded of this, I was then able to ask how I could support her in launching her business. Celebrating the success of others recognizes that the high tide raises all boats, it creates expansion and joy and encourages the creative mind to bring it on.

5.    Surround yourself with possibility thinkers. When you want to become more physically fit, its going to serve you better to hang out with the people who get up and go for a run in the morning than to hang out with those who would rather die than get on a treadmill. You may even hire yourself a trainer to help you go beyond your self perceived limits. The same is true when you are building your creative mind muscle. Hang out with people who think outside the box, people who are courageous and don’t let the HOW stand in the way of the WHAT. Hang out with people who aren’t afraid of fear. Maybe even hire a coach to help you push past your limits. Part of my vision for myself is this – To surround myself with people of passion, purpose and possibility. People who know who they are, who’s they are, what they have to offer and are doing it. They are courageous and successful. Together we inspire each other to be bigger, go deeper and shine brighter than we ever have before. These are the kind of people who will show you what is possible and inspire you to raise the bar of your own possibility.

6. Find the Calm. Calm is the state of creativity. An anxious mind simply does not have enough spaciousness to think creatively. It is out of a calm state that ideas are born. Each of us has our own way to get to a calm state – some may use meditation, others a walk on the beach. Tomas Edison used to rock in his rocking chair and go into what he called, the land of the solution. There he got quiet, went into almost a daydreaming state and listened for solutions and ideas to come to him. Edison understood that there is an answer to every question and a solution to every problem and all of humanity has benefited by his willingness to find the calm and make creative ideas welcome. By finding that calm place, we too make space for creative ideas to flow.

7.    Up your energy. It’s a challenge to be creative if you have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning. Exercise and nutrition are the keys when it comes to energy. Here are some tips guaranteed to increase your energy level and get your creative juices flowing. 1) Eat less. Our bodies expend a lot of energy in the digestive process.  Eating less frees up energy. 2) Properly combine foods. Eat veggies with protein or veggies with carbs but don’t eat carbs and protein together (e.g. tuna sandwich, eggs and hash browns). It’s hard to digest protein and carbohydrates together and therefore it consumes energy. 3) Eat more raw foods. I have found no greater way to infuse my body with ridiculous amounts of energy, than with living raw foods.  When food isn’t cooked, it retains all the enzymes, vitamins and minerals.  When the enzymes are delivered with your food, your body does not need to expend energy pouring digestive enzymes into your gut and that frees up energy to be creative.  Try a raw diet for just a week and watch your energy skyrocket. 4) Drink more water than you think you need.  When your cells are hydrated they are happy and your whole body functions better. 5) Exercise daily. Studies have shown that, of everything we can do, daily exercise seems to be the most effective for increasing and maintaining our energy level. A healthy mind resides in a healthy body and the more energy available to the body, the more energy there is available to the mind to think creatively.

8.    Take a step in the direction of the impossible. Inevitably, when we begin thinking outrageously, our surface mind will want to argue with us – “How can you do that?”, “You don’t have the education for that!” “You don’t have the reputation to pull that off.” You don’t have the degrees, or experience, or access, or whatever, to do that. The antidote to that kind of limiting thinking, and the way to reinforce our creative mind for coming up with such brilliant ideas in the first place, is to ask a different question. Ask yourself, “What would I do if I didn’t believe it was impossible?” If I didn’t believe it was impossible to write that cookbook, what would I do? If I didn’t believe it was impossible to take a leave of absence and travel around the world, what would I do? If I didn’t believe it was impossible to live in France, what would I do? If I didn’t believe it was impossible to make a living with my photography, what would I do? I might start collecting recipes; I might start looking at maps and mapping out a possible route; I might take a French class; I might create business cards and start shooting images everyday. You get the idea. Step outside of the limiting thinking and step into possibility thinking by asking yourself, “What would I do if I didn’t believe it was impossible?” … and then go do it.

I invite you to try on these ideas and then watch what happens in your life.  You might just experience a flow of creative ideas that are beyond what you thought possible.  And when you do, I invite you to take just one step in the direction of the impossible, and watch the magic begin.