No doubt that the idea of a little extra cash is motivating! Then you start brainstorming. "How can I best reach that goal?" That's when the creative juices start flowing. You outline a schedule that allows you to maximize your time and begin your day by establishing the right tone. The first five minutes can break or make your day. Will you jump into work or procrastinate? You reason to yourself, "If I start my day on the right foot, it'll be easier to gather momentum." From the minute you step into the office, you expect more of yourself. From there you add more detail to your plan. Instead of dragging your feet, you hit the ground running. You brainstorm, draft a game plan, and take tangible steps toward your goals every day. Expectations nurture creativity, which helps expectations become a reality. They work together in a symbiotic relationship. How, then, can you become more creative? Establishing positive expectations for yourself is the first step. In a post entitled "5 Ways to Become a Creative Powerhouse" on his Pick Your Brain blog, Aaron Morton outlines additional practices that can help you tap your creativity. I used to think that smart people are fast thinkers. "He thinks on his feet. He's really smart." I tried it for many years. Every time I faced a problem, discussion, or when someone asked me a question, I thought, "QUICK, QUICK, QUICK!" Naturally, my first answers sucked. What I'm trying to say is that when someone asks you a question, it's okay to say, "I don't know." You can also say that to yourself.

I've often been too hard on myself because I didn't have an instant answer to my personal problems. That doesn't make you dumb. It makes you human. Why are we even afraid that people think we're stupid? It's the perfect example of slow thinking. Instead of following your instinct of, "I'll prove them!" you can take a step back and ask yourself, "Why do I even want to come across as smart?" If you really think about it, it doesn't matter what others think of you. I think it's always better to take your time to think. If others think that makes you stupid, they are the ones who are. Go for a wellness check and talk with your doctor honestly about pain or discomfort you might've been discounting. Make an appointment with a therapist. Look for a book or information on what's going on with your mind or body. Join a gym. Check in a with a spiritual counselor or mentor for guidance. Get more sleep. Make an appointment with a nutritionist, or simply eat better. The theme here is getting help for what is out of balance. Gratitude and awareness can go hand in hand. You can count your blessings and admit the burden of struggles all at the same time. Your fear can be hard at work here, saying you have no right to complain, that you have to look resilient, that others might think less of you or think you're asking for pity. I could go on and on.

And yet, with every choice, there are always pros and cons. Every situation has its upside and its downside. Remember talking about a blessing's "underbelly"? That underbelly comes into play with thoughts such as, I love my new job, and yet the commute is tough right now. Or, I'm excited I got the role in the play, but I'm not sure how I'm going to handle school. Expressing the downside doesn't negate the positive of the upside. Even if you're complaining a little, so what? We all can do a little complaining from time to time. Whatever bad happens, the externalizer takes no ownership of it. Whatever good happens, the externalizer takes no ownership of it. In her view, someone or something else is behind all the results in her life. It might be the government. Maybe it's her mother. But it's certainly not herself. I read a study once that assessed various occupations on a scale of "highly stressful" to "not stressful." Of all the jobs that the researchers looked at, by far the most stressful was bus driving. Why? Because there is nothing as stressful as having responsibility for events, yet not having any appreciable control over them. Think about it: Bus drivers are responsible for sticking to a schedule that is beyond their control. They can't control the traffic, they can't control their passengers, and they sure don't control the road construction that they've got to deal with on the way. Externalizers think of themselves as bus drivers on the route called life.

They are stressed-out, uptight, and anxiety-ridden people and they're convinced that almost nothing along that route is within their control. For example, if an externalizer did poorly on that same college test that the internalizer took, whose fault would it be? The teacher's, perhaps. Maybe bad friends who kept him up partying the night before. He might say the test was just too hard or it was "unfair." He never thinks for a moment that he failed because he was lazy, ill prepared, or unfocused. Similarly, if the externalizer does well on the test, it's because "that test was easy," or the teacher was generous with the grades. The externalizer's habitual response, his "perceptual set," means he cannot give himself much credit, if any, for a successful grade. The story of his life is the story of other people and outside forces. His self-talk will predictably be a very victim-oriented one. Whatever happens, bad or good, the responsibility is someone else's. In such an instance we see cause not only to celebrate simplicity and a life more attuned to nature, we begin to notice the joy of effort. As we gather sticks outdoors we bend and stretch and move our bodies. We breathe in the air and look up into the trees. We listen to the sounds of the earth and feel the elements touch us. When we pick our fruit and vegetables we connect with nature. We remind ourselves where our food truly comes from, and have a chance to feel heightened gratitude for the abundance our earth bestows. The act of eating becomes a magical privilege with which we prefer to take our time. When we are gifted produce from others or source it locally we have a chance to support community and feel part of something greater than ourselves. We build relationships to fortify and uplift us. When we prepare our own food, simply and with full presence, we express our creativity and love, and participate actively in deeply nourishing ourselves.

Our habit of overcomplicating our lives with rumination, extreme busyness and clutter and then relying on convenience to minimise our work and effort can create an unnecessary unhappiness within us. Conversely, loving the work we do and making effort from our hearts in all parts of our lives ignites our sparkles. We find ourselves catapulted into the ecstasy of the present moment in which all things are just as they should be, and in which life is magical. There are endless ways to nurture a sense of creativity, and different methods work for different people. Positivity will water the garden of your mind. Negativity, on the other hand, causes things to wither. When you are positive and believe anything can happen, you find many ways to make dreams happen. As a result, your spirit flourishes. When you nurture positive expectations, write them down, and move forward, then you begin to fulfill the potential that that you have for yourself. I firmly believe you are what you think you are. Likewise, you become who you think we are. When you are positive, you experience positive outcomes and have positive influences around you. This process is self-reinforcing and compounding, like the butterfly effect I mentioned earlier. Your outlook, and therefore your situation in life, affects your family and everyone around you. It even affects your health! Why do you think stress takes a toll on your physical well-being? It lowers the immune system and can even make you sick---all because you view your life's load as more than you can handle in your given environment. Why do we make things so complicated while we can easily solve these things by just taking an extra day to THINK? That's all you need. Just think things through.