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How to be Creative

Ahmed Yusuf Omer
by Ahmed Yusuf (M.A )

We could ask ourselves why great civilizations choose to fence their chosen cities such as the wall of Jerusalem and the Jegol of Harar. The reason is usually said to be due to the need to protect their people and their way of life. The more stronger and fortified the fence, the better chance the civilization will survive of extermination unless otherwise it encounters a stronger conqueror with the imagination and capability to destroy the great fortresses.

Likewise, your mind has two powerful forces, the negative and the positive thoughts. Throughout our lives they both tend to dominate one another basically based on the feedback we give to ourselves and the feedback we receive from our environment or from significant others. Whenever one of the cognitions take control of our lives such as for instance the negative thoughts, it tends to build a wall just as the one you may have seen in Jegol,  Harar. Initially, it begins as any of the negative experiences we face and hence is left as  memory. The more difficult the experience, the stronger negative feelings, thoughts and physical sensations we may develop. A typical scenario would be a child in Addis Ababa going to a public school whose trouser is torn from the back where he desperately wants to hide it fearing the thought that someone would laugh at him. This habit grows into him to the extent it also deters him from participating in the class. And on and on, he becomes an adult who fails in his interviews, fails to maintain relationships, for he has built a wall, a fortress of negativity. He develops a negative outlook towards the world and more destructively towards himself, incapacitating himself from the good things in life.

From those self-defeating thoughts you harbor about yourself, from the negative news you hear on TV each day which happen to be all about wars and hate, to the gossips we make about our bosses and friends and the negative remarks we make about others. All these negative experiences leave a print on your character and thus strengthening the wall. Negativity always leads to anti-productivity and anti-creativity. Negative thought never leads to industriousness. No matter how much we try to bring positive changes in our lives, if we are surrounded by those negative frequencies, then we are less likely to make a stride, to leap forward. They are like fences we build around us, a remarkable architecture to lock ourselves in. Even the best of weapons could not demolish because it is hidden, invisible. Thus we find ourselves highly fenced in this treacherous castle of negativity.

However, there is a way to overcome this. Shawn Achor, who is a winner of a dozen distinguished teaching awards at Harvard University, is a psychologist who researches and teaches about positive psychology . Based on his research and 12 years of experience at Harvard, he informs us that if you can raise someone’s level of positivity in the present moment, then their brain experiences what we now call a happiness advantage. And the study also informs us that your brain performs significantly better when it is in the state of positivity leading to a rise in your intelligence and creativity. There you go! So now, go easy on yourself and destroy the walls of negativity by training your mind to choose positive thoughts not just about the world but most importantly about yourself.