Over the years I have researched psychological mood induction experiments specifically designed to produce a euphoric, elated state of mind. The procedure I discovered to be the most effective was the mood induction procedure created by Psychologist Theodore Velten. This procedure has been so successful it has now been used for over 40 years in psychological experiments. Visit:


Create Your Own Happiness with the Velten Procedure


A field of grass is given its character, essentially, by those experiences which happen over and over again–millions of times. The germination of the grass seed, the blowing wind, the flowering of the grass, the hatching of insects, being beaten down by thunderstorms, the paths made by animals and hikers, and so on. It is a whole system of interdependent events that determine the nature of the field of grass.

It is also roughly true that the nature of our beliefs and perceptions are interpreted from our experiences. The field of grass cannot change its character. Grass cannot interpret and shape its experiences to create a different nature. We are not a field of grass. We can choose to interpret our experiences anyway we wish. You know as well as I do that few of us are even aware of what this means.

THOUGHT EXPERIMENT: Look at the symbols below. Assign “names” to these symbols by selecting one of the following words: “Indians” “piggynose” “shy kitty” “woman” “sleeper” and “bathroom.

(*-*)               AAA
(00)               I 000000 I
^–^                I – – _ – – _ I

Now that you’ve assigned names, ask yourself: “Why is this so easy to do?” For example, if you labeled AAA as Indians how does an Indian village fit with its ponies, tents, campfires, etc., so comfortably fit into three letters? These symbols have no meaning. We give them meaning by how we choose to interpret them. You have the freedom to select any meaning for any experience instead of being a victim who must assign one and only meaning to each experience.

We automatically interpret all of our experiences without realizing it. Are they good experiences, bad ones, what do they mean and so on? We do this without much thought, if any, to what the interpretations mean. For instance, if someone bumps into you, you wonder why. The event of her bumping into you is neutral in itself. It has no meaning. It’s your interpretation of the bumping that gives it meaning, and this meaning shapes your perception of the experience.

You may interpret the “bump” as rude behavior. You may interpret her as being deliberately aggressive, or you may feel you are of such little consequence that you’re deliberately unnoticed and bumped around by others. Or you may choose to use the experience as an example of feminist aggression, or you may interpret the bump as her way of flirting with you. Your interpretation of the experience determines your perception.


Psychologist Theodore Velten created a mood induction procedure that psychologists have used for over 40 years to induce a positive mindset, especially in psychology experiments.

It’s a simple approach that involves reading, reflecting on and trying to feel the effects of some 58 positive affirmations as they wash over you. The statements start out being fairly neutral and become progressively more positive. The statements are specifically designed to produce a euphoric, elated state of mind.

INSTRUCTIONS: Read each of the following statements to yourself. As you look at each statement, focus your observation only on that one. You should not spend too much time on any one. Your success at coming to experience this mood will largely depend on your willingness to accept and respond to the idea in each statement and to allow each statement to act upon you. Attempt to respond to the feeling suggested by each statement. Then try to think of yourself as definitely being and moving into that state. If it is natural for you to do so, try to visualize a scene in which you have had such a feeling. It should take about 10 minutes.

Velten Mood Induction Statements:

  1. Today is neither better nor worse than any other day
    2. I do feel pretty good today, though
    3. I feel light-hearted
    4. This might turn out to have been one of my good days
    5. If your attitude is good, then things are good and my attitude is good
    6. I feel cheerful and lively
    7. I’ve certainly got energy and self-confidence to share
    8. On the whole, I have very little difficulty in thinking clearly
    9. My friends & family are pretty proud of me most of the time
    10. I’m in a good position to make a success of things
    11. For the rest of the day, I bet things will go really well
    12. I’m pleased that most people are so friendly to me
    13. My judgments about most things are sound
    14. The more I get into things the easier they become for me
    15. I’m full of energy and ambition – I feel like I could go a long time without sleep
    16. This is one of those days when I can get things done with practically no effort at all
    17. My judgment is keen and precise today. Just let someone try to put something over me
    18. When I want to, I can make friends extremely easily
    19. If I set my mind to it, I can make things turn out fine
    20. I feel enthusiastic and confident now
    21. There should be opportunity for a lot of good times coming along
    22. My favorite songs keep going through my mind
    23. Some of my friends are so lively and optimistic
    24. I feel talkative – I feel like talking to almost anybody
    25. I’m full of energy, and am really getting to like the things I’m doing
    26. I feel like bursting with laughter – I wish somebody would tell a joke and give me an excuse
    27. I feel an exhilarating animation in all I do
    28. My memory is in rare form today
    29. I’m able to do things accurately and efficiently
    30. I know good and well that I can achieve the goals I set
    31. Now that it occurs to me, most of the things that have depressed me wouldn’t have if I’d just had the right attitude
    32. I have a sense of power and vigor
    33. I feel so vivacious and efficient today – sitting on top of the world
    34. It would really take something to stop me now
    35. In the long run, it’s obvious that things have gotten better and better during my life
    36. I know in the future I won’t over-emphasize so-called “problems”
    37. I’m optimistic that I can get along very well with most of the people I meet
    38. I’m too absorbed in things to have time for worry
    39. I’m feeling amazingly good today
    40. I am particularly inventive and resourceful in this mood
    41. I feel superb! I think I can work to the best of my ability
    42. Things look good Things look great!
    43. I feel that many of my friendships will stick with me in the future
    44. I feel highly perceptive and refreshed
    45. I can find the good in almost everything
    46. In a buoyant mood like this one, I can work fast and do it right the first time
    47. I can concentrate hard on anything I do
    48. My thinking is clear and rapid
    49. Life is so much fun; it seems to offer so many sources of fulfillment
    50. Things will be better and better today
    51. I can make decisions rapidly and correctly; and I can defend them against criticisms easily
    52. I feel industrious as heck – I want something to do!
    53. Life is firmly in my control
    54. I wish somebody would play some good loud music!
    55. This is great — I really do feel good. I am elated about things!
    56. I’m really feeling sharp now
    57. This is just one of those days when I’m ready to go!
    58. Wow, I feel great!

The great things about the Velten is that it really works. It’s like watching a play – you know it is a fiction, the characters can even point out that it is a fiction, yet you are still emotionally involved in the story.
Michael Michalko is the author of the highly acclaimed Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative Thinking Techniques; Cracking Creativity: The Secrets of Creative Genius; ThinkPak: A Brainstorming Card Deck and Creative Thinkering: Putting Your Imagination to Work.





A Major Contribution to the Creative Literature by One of the Greats.

Sorry for the gushing title, but this book really hit the creativity spot. Michael Michalko is one of the big minds in the teaching of creative thinking and this book demonstrates why. Beginning from the principle that new ideas are the combination of existing things in new ways, Michalko describes the mindset and perspectives that are required to promote personal creativity – looking at things differently, combining random items with existing inputs, running thought experiments, for example. Michalko also provides an incredible list of positive affirmations with which to start the day to ensure a creative, positive and open attitude. It’s not your typical list of standard one-liners, but a list of affirmations that connect and build on each other. This is a segment of the lesson on playing the part of the creative person to become creative. The book also includes many powerful visuals and exercises that reinforce the lessons and points. Michalko does a masterful job of pointing out exactly how we are defective in our thinking and how we can get out of those mental ruts to revive the creative spirit we had in childhood. A must book for anyone seeking to become more creative.   – Vine Voice Amazon … via @amazon



Attribute analysis breaks our propensity to operate at the highest level of generalization. Often, if we consider the attributes of people, things, situations, etc., we come to different conclusions than if we operate within our stereotypes.

We usually describe an object by listing its function. The way we see something is not inherent in the object itself — it grows out of experience and observation. A screwdriver’s primary function is to tighten or loosen screws. To discover new applications and ideas, you need flexibility of thought. An easy way to encourage this kind of thinking is to list the attributes or components of the subject instead of concentrating on its function. For example, let’s suppose you want to improve the screwdriver.

(1) First, list the attributes of a screwdriver.
For Example:

Round steel shaft

Wooden or plastic handle

Wedge-shaped tip

Manually operated

Used for tightening or loosening screws

(2) Next, focus on each specific attribute and ask “How else can this be accomplished?” or “Why does this have to be this way?”
Ask yourself:

What can I substitute for this attribute?

What can be combined with it?

Can I adapt something to it?

Can I add or magnify it?

Can I modify it in some fashion?

Can I put it to some other use?

What can I eliminate?

Can the parts be rearranged?

What is the reverse of this?
(3) Following are a few recent patented screwdriver innovations. The innovations were created by creative thinkers focusing on separate attributes of the screwdriver such as the handle, power source, and the shaft.

Focusing on the handle, a Swedish company created a handle with space for both hands. It was so successful, they later developed a full range of tools with long handles.

In the Third World, an aspiring inventor added a battery to provide power. This power source proved to be more reliable than electricity.

An entrepreneur came up with a better arrangement. He created shafts that were made interchangeable to fit various size screws, which obviated the need to have several screwdrivers.screwdriver

A Japanese engineer invented a bendable electric screwdriver with a super-flexible shaft to reach out of the way places.

Considering the attributes of something rather than its function, provides you with a different perspective. Different perspectives create different questions which place your subject into different contexts. Years back, the Jacuzzi brothers designed a special whirlpool bath to give one of their cousin’s hydrotherapy treatment for arthritis. This was a new product for the Jacuzzi brothers who were in the farm pump business. They marketed the tub to other victims of arthritis but sold very few. Years later, Roy Jacuzzi put the concept into a different context (the luxury bath market) by asking, “Can I put this particular hydrotherapy treatment to some other use?” and bathrooms were never the same.

Listing the attributes of a subject and then focusing on one attribute at a time helps us to break our stereotypical notion of a subject as a continuous whole and to discover relationships that we likely would otherwise miss. This happened to a group of designers who, by chance, happened upon unusable medical incubators in the third world.

Hospitals and charities had donated expensive medical incubators to third world countries to help preterm babies survive and thrive in hospitals. Spare parts for the incubators were expensive and difficult to locate in rural settings, forcing medical staff to forego regular maintenance. Additionally, they discovered that intermittent power left the devices unusable during parts of the day and voltage spikes destroyed sensitive equipment. The majority of the donated equipment were unusable after a few years.

An organization Design That Matters discovered that an abundant local resource in developing countries are car parts and the technical understanding of local car mechanics. Their designers decided to see if they could manufacture an incubator using car parts. They listed the attributes of the medical incubator and then leveraging the existing supply chain of used auto parts, they used the creative technique SCAMPER. They SUBSTITUTED car parts for medical parts; they MODIFIED and PUT TO OTHER USES sealed-beam headlights to serve as the heating element, they ADAPTED a dashboard fan for convective heat circulation, COMBINED signal lights and door chimes to serve as alarms and REARRANGED a process for emergency backup power during power outages using a motorcycle battery and a car cigarette lighter.

The remarkable incubator made out of car parts was doubly efficient, because it tapped both the local supply of parts and the local knowledge of automobile repair. You didn’t have to be a trained medical technician to fix the NeoNurture; you just needed to know how to replace a broken headlight.

These newly-designed incubators will help provide millions of at-risk infants with shorter hospital stays and can enable infants who might otherwise have faced a lifetime of severe disability to experience full and active lives. 

Often great ideas like this one are works of bricolage. They are, almost inevitably, old parts strung together to form something radically new. We take something we stumbled across, and we jigger them together into some new shape. The NeoNuture is an incubator that has been cobbled together with spare auto parts that happened to be sitting in junkyards.









seven (1)


People do not believe they are creative. We have been taught that we are the product of our genes, our parents, our family history, our personal history, our I.Q., and our education. Consequently, we have been conditioned to have a fixed mindset about creativity and believe only a select few are born creative and the rest not. Because we believe we are not creative, we spend our lives observing only those things in our experiences that confirm this belief. We spend our lives knowing and living within the limitations we believe we have. We listen to our “inner” voice that keeps telling us not to pretend to be something we’re not. Believing we are not creative makes us comfortable to be cognitively lazy.


We believe many of the myths about creativity that have been promulgated over the years. We’re told creativity is rare, mysterious, and magical and comes from a universal unconsciousness, a sudden spark of “Aha!” or the divine. We believe only special people are genetically endowed to be creative and that normal educated people cannot be creative and should not embarrass themselves by trying. Additionally, we also believe creative types are depressed, crazy, freaky, unbalanced, disruptive, different, argumentative, abnormal, flaky, and trouble makers.  We should be thankful we are normal and think the way we were taught to think. 


The most important thing for many people is to never make a mistake or fail. The fixed mind-set regards failure as a personal insult, and when they fail they withdraw, lie and try to avoid future challenges or risks.

At one time in America people believed that all a person was entitled to was a natural birth. Everything else was up to the person, and a person’s pride and passion came from overcoming the adversities in life. Failure was seen as an opportunity rather than insult. Once Thomas Edison’s assistant asked him why he didn’t give up on the light bulb. After all, he failed 5,000 times. Edison’s responded by saying he didn’t know what his assistant meant by the word “failed,” because Edison believed he discovered 5000 things that don’t work. This was the era when creative thinking flourished in America. People like Edison, Tesla, and Westinghouse did not know they could not think unconventionally and so they did.

After World War II, psychologists promulgated “Inevitability theories” about how everyone’s life was shaped by genetic or environmental factors that were beyond their control. There began a promiscuity of the teaching of helplessness that has dimmed the human spirit and has created a “culture of helplessness.” It is this culture of helplessness that has cultivated the mindset that fears failure.

This fixed mindset of fear is grounded in the belief that talent is genetic—you’re born an artist, writer, or entrepreneur. Consequently, many of us never try anything we haven’t tried before. We attempt only those things where we have the past experience and knowledge and know we can succeed. This culture of helplessness cultivated by educators encourages us to look for reasons why we cannot succeed.  


Because we fear failure we not act. We avoid taking action. If we don’t act, we can’t fail. If we are forced to take action, we do not do anything until we have a perfect plan which will take into account any and everything that can happen. We make sure the plan details all the human and material resources you need. We will seek the guidance and direction of every expert and authority we are able to approach. If any authority figure or expert expresses even the slightest doubt, we will not take the risk of failure and abandon the plan.

All art is a reaction the first line drawn. If no line is drawn there will be no art. Similarly, if you don’t take action when you need new ideas in your personal and business lives and do nothing, nothing bad can happen and nothing is the result. In our culture of helplessness, nothing is better than even the slightest chance of failure, because failure means we are worthless.


We are taught to be critical, judgmental, negative and reproductive thinkers. In our “culture of helplessness,” we take pride in dissecting ideas and thoughts of others and demonstrating their flaws. The more negative we can be, the more intelligent we appear to others. In meetings, the person who is master of destroying ideas becomes the most dominant one. The first thought we have when confronted with a new idea is “Okay, now what’s wrong with it?”

When forced to come up with ideas, we come up with only a few. These are the ideas we always come up with because these are the same old safe ideas that are closest to our consciousness. Our judgmental mind will censor anything that is new, ambiguous or novel. We respond to new ideas the way our immune system responds to a deadly virus. Our inner voice will advise us to “Not look stupid,” “Give up. You don’t have the background or expertise,” “It’s not relevant,” “If it was any good, it would already have been done before” “This will never be approved,” “where’s the proof? “This is not logical,” “Don’t be silly,” “You’ll look stupid,” and so on. Anything that is not verifiable by our past experiences and beliefs is not possible.

Instead of looking for ways to make things work and get things done, we spend our time looking for reasons why things can’t work or get done.


square-and-circlesMost people see the pattern in the illustration above as a square composed of smaller squares or circles or as alternate rows of squares and circles

It cannot be easily seen as columns of alternate squares and circles. Once it’s pointed out that it can also be viewed as columns of alternate squares and circles, we, of course, see it. This is because we have become habituated to passively organize similar items together in our minds. Geniuses, on the other hand, subvert habituation by actively looking for alternative ways to look at things and alternative ways to think about them.

One of the many ways in which people attempt to make thinking easier is to solve the first impression of the problem that they encounter. This enables them to approach the problem with predetermined concepts and they end up seeing what they expect to see based on their past experiences. Once you accept the initial perspective, you close off all other lines of thought. Certain kinds of ideas will occur to you, but only those kind and no others. Settling with the first perspective keeps things simple and helps you avoid ambiguity.

With creative thinking, one generates as many alternative approaches as one can. You consider the least obvious as well as the most likely approaches. It is the willingness to explore all approaches that is important, even after one has found a promising one. Einstein was once asked what the difference was between him and the average person. He said that if you asked the average person to find a needle in the haystack, the person would stop when he or she found a needle. He, on the other hand, would tear through the entire haystack looking for all the possible needles.

We are taught to follow a certain thinking process and must never entertain alternative ways of looking at the problem or different ways of thinking about it. Keep doing what you are doing. The more times you think the same way, the better you become at producing orderly and predictable ideas. Always think the way you’ve always thought to always get what you’ve always got.


It is not our fault we are not creative. It’s the teachers who are responsible and our parents, the churches, our genetics, the government, lack of time, lack of resources, lack of an inspiring environment, lack of suitable technology, lack of encouragement, too much sugar, lack of financial rewards, the organization, the bosses, lack of entitlements, lack of any guarantee of success, and, after all, most of us are born left-brained not right-brained. You can’t expect people to be something they’re not. In our “culture of helplessness,” we have learned that we cannot change our attitude, behavior, beliefs or the way we think.

SUMMARY. The only difference between people who are creative and people who are not is a simple belief. Creative people believe they are creative. People who believe they are not creative, are not. Once you have a particular identity and set of beliefs about yourself, you become interested in seeking out the skills needed to express your identity and beliefs.

This is why people who believe they are creative become creative. They work hard at learning how to think creatively and produce great quantities of ideas. If you believe you are not creative, then there is no need to learn how to become creative and you don’t. The reality is that believing you are not creative excuses you from trying or attempting anything new. When someone tells you that they are not creative, you are talking to someone who has no interest and will make no effort to be a creative thinker.


Michael Michalko is the author of the highly acclaimed Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative Thinking Techniques; Cracking Creativity: The Secrets of Creative Genius; ThinkPak: A Brainstorming Card Deck and Creative Thinkering: Putting Your Imagination to Work.






Think of one word that can form a compound word with “sauce,” “pine,” and “crab.” Take a moment and think. See if you figure it out.

Now, try to form a compound word with “fence,” “card,” and “master.”

And last, form a compound word with “bump,” “step,” and “egg.”

If you’re like many people, you tried to solve each problem methodically, first finding a word that would go with, say, “sauce” and then trying it out with “pine” and “crab.” In most cases people become stuck. It’s only after over thinking the problem will people relax and allow their thoughts to flow freely and intermingle with each other that suddenly the answer pops up seemingly from nowhere. “Eureka!” [The answers to the above, incidentally, are at the end of the article.]

Cognitive scientists are trying to figure out how and why the answers pop up out of thin air, partly because some of the more notable achievements in, especially, science and math came to their discoverers through such “eureka” moments—Archimedes’ law of buoyancy and Newton’s theory of gravity, for instance. (“Eureka” is in fact what Archimedes yelled when he leapt out of his bathtub upon figuring out how to calculate the volume of an irregularly shaped object: measure how much water it displaces.)

Research suggests that success depends on an unconscious restructuring of information. The more work you put into thinking about a problem, the more thoughts and bits of information you put into random motion in your subconscious. When you quit thinking about the subject and decide to forget it, your subconscious mind doesn’t quit working. Your thoughts keep colliding, combining and making associations millions of times.

This is when scientists believe your subconscious mind goes into what they call “an internal retrieval process,” which searches your memory for appropriate and inappropriate ideas that can be used to reinterpret your knowledge (for instance, don’t think only of words that come before the given ones).




Think of one word that can form a compound word with “sauce,” “pine,” and “crab.”




Think of one word that can form a compound word with “sauce,” “pine,” and “crab.”



“Fence,” “card,” and “master.”



“Bump,” “step,” and “egg.”



Here is one last one to take with you. What is the one word that can form a compound word with: “back” “clip” and “wall?”


How to get the ideas you need to become what you are capable of becoming.






Why isn’t everyone creative? Why doesn’t education foster more ingenuity? Why is expertise often the enemy of innovation? Best-selling creativity expert Michael Michalko shows that in every field of endeavor, from business and science to government, the arts, and even day-to-day life — natural creativity is limited by the prejudices of logic and the structures of accepted categories and concepts. Through step-by-step exercises, illustrated strategies, and inspiring real-world examples he shows readers how to liberate their thinking and literally expand their imaginations by learning to synthesize dissimilar subjects, think paradoxically, and enlist the help of the subconscious mind. He also reveals the attitudes and approaches diverse geniuses share — and anyone can emulate. Fascinating and fun, Michalko’s strategies in CREATIVE THINKERING facilitate the kind of light-bulb moment thinking that changes lives — for the better.