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Westside Toastmasters is located in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, California

But-

You have to do the exercises. You can't just read them and nod your head knowingly. You have to jump in with both feet and really give each exercise your best shot. Ideas will come, but only if you direct all your energy toward creating the right conditions.

You can't build muscle by just reading about exercising. You have to get your butt into the gym and really sweat. Think of these exercises as weight lifting for your creative muscles. We all have these muscles-but a lot of us have allowed them to get slack and loose.

Each of these exercises assumes that you have a problem, project, or assignment for which you need to generate new ideas. These exercises are goal-oriented in the sense that they can help you free your mind and gain a new perspective, even though, at first glance, the exercise may not deal directly with the issue at hand. With each of these exercises, think about the process, not the result.

Remember: Go through each of the steps. Don't leap ahead. Don't push to find 'the right answer.'

These exercises ask you to change your patterns of behavior-to allow yourself to relax, to play, to loosen up, to be silly. Changing your established way of thinking is the only way to allow those flashes of inspiration to come-we're flying kites in a storm and hoping to attract lightning.

As you're working with markers, scissors, glue, and crayons, you may wonder, 'Why am I doing this?' I'll explain as we go along, but trust me, there's a method to this madness. If you commit fully, you will get results.

Pay attention to where the energy lies in the work you create. That is where the nugget of the idea that will solve your problem lies. Look for the energy, and even if the full idea isn't obvious to you, keep wondering about it, dreaming about it, writing about it, working it. An idea with energy can be fully developed . . . it's the programs without that spark of energy that are DOA.

Above all, I demand your passion.

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On the following page, create a list of everything that you feel is holding you back from your creative self. This can include the enemies of innovation from the second chapter, something about the way your brain works, and any physical, environmental, or preferential constraints. Take all the time you need, and don't continue on to the rest of the chapter until you've finished this exercise.

Once you have written down everything that you feel is holding you back, study the list carefully. How many of these items are manufactured excuses? How many can you eliminate by thinking in a different way?

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