Archive | Creativity

Captains Curious: Curiosity Is the Foundation for Creativity and Success


Warning: in_array() expects parameter 2 to be array, string given in /home2/stblake1/public_html/wp-content/plugins/facebook-button-plugin/facebook-button-plugin.php on line 244

Warning: in_array() expects parameter 2 to be array, string given in /home2/stblake1/public_html/wp-content/plugins/facebook-button-plugin/facebook-button-plugin.php on line 246

Welcome to Captains Curious, a weekly series of guest posts on the subject of Curiosity. The newest contributing member is Connie Harryman! To learn about the other Captains Curious, please click here.

Curiosity is the essence of creativity

“Curiosity killed the cat.”  I still laugh when I remember my Mom saying this to me.  For me, curiosity has led me on my grand journey of becoming an acknowledged expert in creativity.  For you see, curiosity is the essence of creativity.  Without curiosity creativity and success would not exist.

Examples

I will give you several examples.  When I was quite young, I lived in a tiny rural community in Texas.  I had no role models and no experience beyond what occurred within a few short miles.  However, my curiosity ate at me.  What else is out there in that other world?

I had no resources to explore that other world.  However, because of my curiosity I developed an insatiable lust for reading.  I especially loved historical novels set in far off exotic places.  I was not allowed to read because it signified laziness.   Due to my abiding curiosity I simply found hiding places where I could read.

It was this same drive of curiosity that led me to leave my community to go to college.   What do they teach in those colleges?  I had no idea but I knew they were filled with books and I knew books satisfied my curiosity.

After I graduated I was curious.  What is it like to work in a shiny multistory building with all the walls covered with windows?  My friends and even those who loved me told me that I was not meant for technology and I would not be any good at it so I should stay away from it.  However, I was curious.  Would I be any good at it?  I would not know unless I tried.  I spent the next several years working for the market leader in emerging technologies and I excelled.  My curiosity was satisfied.

It didn’t stop there

I became aware of the field of creative thinking quite by accident.  I was told, “You are the most creative person I know.”  What does this mean?  Surely this could not be true.  After all I cannot sing, dance, or even memorize poetry.  What is creativity?   My curiosity is rising again.  Where do you go to find out about creativity and what does creativity have to do with the practical things in life?

My curiosity is pulling at me.   It must be satisfied.   I decided to go to Austin to attend a conference sponsored by the American Creativity Association.   The next year I was on the organizing team for the Singapore conference.

Do you remember my curiosity led me to read about exotic far off places when I was young?  If you are curious about creativity in a far off place, then Singapore satisfied my curiosity completely.  I travelled there and met my future business partner, Lars Ringe, founder of RobotLab.  My curiosity led me to this creativity and innovation expert from Denmark.

Curiosity drives my passions

Let us now return to my passions.  These include creativity and technology.  I am curious.  How can I take advantage of the power of social networking and social media to share knowledge about creativity and innovation?  I am so curious I decided to take classes in social networking.  Six months later, I was invited to be a professional guest blogger for the Front End of Innovation Europe held in Amsterdam.  This is an event sponsored by the International Institute of Research.  My curiosity led to me a rather terrifying and daunting situation but again I succeeded.

My curiosity led me to join many social networking groups.  Many are focused on creativity and innovation but some are focused on science and technology or women in technology.   My curiosity compels me to connect with fascinating people on Twitter and LinkedIn.

I continue to satisfy my curiosity about how to build creative teams and how to increase their performance.  I wrote a white paper entitled Mastering Creative Problem Solving Within Teams and it was presented to the International Association of Science Parks by Lars Ringe, founder of RobotLab in Copenhagen, Denmark.  I was to be the presenter but, alas, I had to attend my daughter’s wedding in Dublin, Ireland.

Rejoice in your curiosity and fulfill your dreams!

My curiosity has been my major driver leading me to many adventures in the world of creativity and innovation.  For a joyful and passionate life, you must rejoice in your curiosity and satisfy it to find out what type of creative adventures you can embark upon to fulfill your dreams!

* * * * *

Connie Harryman is CEO of Applied Concepts Creativity.  She refers to herself as a Creativity Developer.  She is also the President of the American Creativity Association – Austin Global.  Her blog is http://developyourcreativethinking.com/ You are invited to connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

* * * * *


To sign up for updates Click Here.

Would you like to submit a guest post on the subject of Curiosity? Send an email to susan {at} susanTblake {dot} com with the subject line: Captains Curious.

Image: graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Goldfinches’ Guide to Creativity


Warning: in_array() expects parameter 2 to be array, string given in /home2/stblake1/public_html/wp-content/plugins/facebook-button-plugin/facebook-button-plugin.php on line 244

Warning: in_array() expects parameter 2 to be array, string given in /home2/stblake1/public_html/wp-content/plugins/facebook-button-plugin/facebook-button-plugin.php on line 246

A few years ago, my sister (Hi, Casey!) gave me a very cool birthday present: A bag of cotton wool in a cotton net bag, designed to hang next to the bird feeder. Why? So goldfinches (my favorite bird) could use the cotton wool in their nest building.

It worked great, too! The goldfinches loved it, and I had a blast watching them pull out tufts nearly as large as themselves and fly away with it.

The following year I went to my neighborhood bird-feeding supply store, but I couldn’t find anything similar. Hmm. I went to the local Big Box pet supply store and trolled the Wild Bird Supplies aisle. Nothing.

“Hmm,” I thought, “now what do I do?” I picked up the cat food and cat litter that were also on the list (yes, they enjoy watching the birds, too), and on the way past the Domesticated Rodent aisle, I had an idea.

“What if I could re-purpose something made for different animals?”

I went to the Domesticated Rodent (hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, etc.) bedding section, and Aha! Tucked in between the bags of cedar shavings was… cotton wool! I picked up a bag of mixed cotton wool and grasses, feeling quite smug.

Until I realized it didn’t come with a mesh bag for hanging it next to the bird feeder, since it wasn’t intended for the birds. Hmm.

Suddenly my mind flashed on the suet feeder I had recently retired for the summer. It was made of coated wire mesh with openings the perfect size for little bird beaks. Aha! What if I re-purposed something that was intended for something else?

I went home and pulled out the suet feeder (which had been washed thoroughly before going into storage), filled it loosely with grass and cotton wool, and hung it next to the feeder. Success! The goldfinches loved it!

Well, they half-loved it. They used the cotton wool but not the grass. Oh well, that’s ok.

The following Spring, however, when I put out the grass/cotton mixture again, I had a pleasant surprise: The grasses were very popular with the titmice that came to the feeder, and a family of phoebes moved in and took advantage of it, too!

So my willingness to try something new, to re-purpose something, not only solved my problem for the goldfinches, it also solved another problem I didn’t even know I had: How to provide nesting materials for other birds as well.

*    *    *    *    *

How often in business, and in life, are you faced with a challenge that requires some creative problem-solving? Pretty often, I’ll wager. But I’ll bet you don’t think of that as being creative.

It is.

If you are willing to apply your curiosity to something and ask a positive “What if…” the answer is probably going to be a creative solution.

Creativity isn’t necessarily about painting or composing music. And it certainly isn’t about coloring inside the lines.

Yes, you are creative, too. Or you can be. Ask, “What would happen if (fill in the blank)?” Try something new.

Sometimes “the right tool for the right job” isn’t available. But you can create new possibilities.

The goldfinches – and the titmice and the phoebes – are glad I did.

Please leave a comment below!

Sign up to receive more fun, thought-provoking posts and occasional announcements in your inbox! Click Here.

Photo by: Qiang Wu, Dreamstime.com

Stuff That Knocks on My Brain and Demands to Be Let In (or Out)


Warning: in_array() expects parameter 2 to be array, string given in /home2/stblake1/public_html/wp-content/plugins/facebook-button-plugin/facebook-button-plugin.php on line 244

Warning: in_array() expects parameter 2 to be array, string given in /home2/stblake1/public_html/wp-content/plugins/facebook-button-plugin/facebook-button-plugin.php on line 246

Off On a Tangent

This morning I was writing in my journal, something I’ve been doing most every morning for a while, clearing my head and gathering my thoughts for the coming day. But my mind kept drifting off on a tangent about a project that is waiting patiently on the sidelines, and I kept losing my Here And Now train of thought.

I finally gave up and spent some time paying attention to that tangent, noticing what was coming up, listening to it and writing it down. And I ended up with an unexpected essay that I can submit to one of the literary journals I discovered over the weekend, bringing me closer to my goal of submitting two pieces to outside publications by June 6.

Tangents and Discipline

What if I had chosen discipline this morning over following that thought? Or perhaps it would be more appropriate to ask, What if I had chosen a different discipline this morning? Because paying attention to the distractions and tangents my mind throws up is a discipline, too.

Noticing is a discipline, a process of learning by instruction and practice (from The Free Dictionary).

Ever since I was a child, when I have seen a road winding off around a bend I have wanted to follow it, thinking “I wonder what’s down there?” That is part of my curiosity. Noticing the tangents my mind goes off on and following them is like noticing a road I haven’t gone down and giving myself permission to see what’s around the bend.

Tangents vs. Hooks

One of the things I noticed about myself years ago is that when I get hooked on a tangent, like being mad at somebody, it is a very effective distraction from what is really going on. As long as I am focused on them, I don’t have to pay attention to what’s going on with me.

After getting over being embarrassed at myself, I started paying attention to those times when I go gleefully off on a tangent so that I can ignore what I’m really feeling, and started noticing what it is I’m trying to avoid. It’s not easy, and it can be very humbling, but it sure saves a lot of time and energy.

Those two kinds of tangents and distractions are very different. The first is like a visitor knocking at the door, wanting to share the cookies she just baked and have a lovely chat, but who gives up after a while if I don’t answer. The second is like a gossipy neighbor who bangs on the door, bringing over something fattening to eat while telling me juicy tidbits and keeping me from what I should be doing. One is an invitation, the other an intrusion.

I can accept either one – or not; I get to choose. But I have to use the peephole in the door to notice which type of visitor it is. And if I’m very good, I notice my motivation for letting either one in – or not.

Tangents, Ideas and Creativity

I could have stuffed this morning’s tangent back in its box and forced myself to concentrate. Later I probably would have bemoaned my lack of new ideas.

I wonder: Perhaps people who believe they are not creative get just as many ideas as “creative people” do, but they are just better at ignoring them.

Do you pay attention to the tangents your mind takes off on? Can you tell the difference between an idea and a hook? Do you choose one type over the other? If so, why? Or do you ignore them all?

Photo Credit: Ian Britton www.FreeFoto.com

Captains Curious: Curiosity Is the Ultimate Room Freshener


Warning: in_array() expects parameter 2 to be array, string given in /home2/stblake1/public_html/wp-content/plugins/facebook-button-plugin/facebook-button-plugin.php on line 244

Warning: in_array() expects parameter 2 to be array, string given in /home2/stblake1/public_html/wp-content/plugins/facebook-button-plugin/facebook-button-plugin.php on line 246

Welcome to Captains Curious, a weekly series of guest posts on the subject of Curiosity. The newest member of the Captains Curious is Karen Caterson! To learn about the other Captains Curious, please click here.

Curiosity is a window-opener

Open the Windows!

Have you ever walked into a room that’s been closed up for a significant length of time? One that has a musty, stuffy smell?

If you have, you probably opened the windows wide – immediately.

Why? Because an open window brings in freshness – fresh air, if we’re talking about a room – and fresh thinking, if we’re talking about the “window” of curiosity.

For example…

Even before I knew she would be hosting a Curiosity Series I learned that Susan is a Curiosity Advocate. I happened to mention to her (in a “Whatcha been doing?” note) that I was nervous about an upcoming call with my son.

Manchild (one of the nicknames I have for my son) had written me a short email mentioning a purchase he and a friend were considering – a yacht!

They’d found a yacht online. Yacht. Online. What the WHAT?

My son spent the past year interning at a Quaker youth hostel in DC – he’s not independently wealthy (or anywhere close to) – and he can’t swim. You might imagine that I had a lot of questions for him (and you’d be right)!

Should I mention that he said, “It needs lots of work” – and he’s a musician, not a handyman? Yep, lots of questions!

I asked to hear more about it and Manchild suggested a Skype call rather than email – so we set up a mutually agreeable time.

When I wrote Susan I was experiencing motherly concerns (out the wazoo), and worrying about how to achieve some kind of parenting balance between listening and advising (and also – mostly – worrying about how much “advising” I’d be likely to do while in a Holy #&%*! state of mind).

That’s where Susan (and her Curiosity Championing) came in. In response to my saying that I was a bit anxious, Susan wrote: “…I have no advice. But in my experience, just asking appropriate questions can be very helpful.”

Susan’s not-advice was like having someone open a window for me: It brought in fresh thinking and helped me create space for curiosity.

Create space for curiosity…

Questions! I had tons of them! (Did I mention that before?) I set my fears and my own agenda aside (the first step there was noticing that I had fears and an agenda) for the Skype visit with my son, and…

…firmly grounded – with curiosity as my foundationwe had a great talk! I was able to get excited with him, honor his plans and ideas and convey my concerns – which, frankly, weren’t all that concernish once I allowed myself to listen to his plans.

That left us time to concentrate on the really important stuff – like why in the world Manchild and friend were even considering renaming a yacht?!? (There’s a world of superstitious stories around renaming a boat.) It turns out they had that covered, too – they’d researched and found a “proper” ritual for the renaming.

…and curiosity brings in fresh thinking, discussion and Wonder

Curiosity is a window-opener: It brings in fresh thinking, discussion and wonder – much better than the stuffy, musty stuff of fears and preconceived agendas!

* * * * *

Karen Caterson – aka Square-Peg Karen – is a recovering psychotherapist & Mindful Nonconformity Advocate and offers encouragement, humor and resources to fellow Square-Pegs (i.e. Mindful Nonconformists) at Square-Peg Reflections (http://squarepegpeople.typepad.com/). Follow her on Twitter @SquarePegKaren.

* * * * *

Would you like to submit a guest post on the subject of Curiosity? Send an email to susan {at} susanTblake {dot} com with the subject line: Captains Curious.

What Do Jewelry, Jigsaw Puzzles and Recruiting Have in Common?


Warning: in_array() expects parameter 2 to be array, string given in /home2/stblake1/public_html/wp-content/plugins/facebook-button-plugin/facebook-button-plugin.php on line 244

Warning: in_array() expects parameter 2 to be array, string given in /home2/stblake1/public_html/wp-content/plugins/facebook-button-plugin/facebook-button-plugin.php on line 246

I had a surprising epiphany the other night after spending a good part of the weekend making jewelry: Making jewelry is like doing a jigsaw puzzle.

I love a good puzzle. In fact, I am a Jigsaw Puzzle Addict from way back. If there is an open puzzle on the table I’m working on it.

We discovered this when I was in high school. My family went on vacation for a week to a beach cabin with no television, and my mother brought along a jigsaw puzzle to prevent utter mayhem in case it rained. (In western Washington State rain is a pretty safe bet.) If I was inside the cabin I was working on that puzzle. And I finished it.

So we bought another one when we got home. Same thing. Then my mother bought another one and this time she took away the lid to the box – so I had no picture to go by.

Didn’t matter. I did it anyway. Faster.

I find them very soothing. My brain goes into a different mode where there are no words, only visuals (and I am a very visual person). And with puzzles, I get to focus on both the details and The Whole.

There is something enormously satisfying about taking a jumble of pieces and making the myriad connections needed until a consolidated whole emerges.

When I was in college, I started using jigsaw puzzles as therapy at the end of a term. Once I was done with all of my papers and exams (and my brain was fried) I would lock myself up with a puzzle. By the time I finished the puzzle (usually in a weekend) I was fine again.

When my (late) husband discovered this, he adopted it as his favorite gift. Perfume? Jewelry? Occasionally. But my favorite thing was to come home on a Friday night and find a new puzzle and a bottle of champagne on the dining room table.

He had no interest in (or patience with) doing them himself, and he didn’t drink, either. This was something he bought just for me.

He even knew me so well that he could tell if I was having a difficult time at work. He would just look at me and say, “I think you need a puzzle.” And he was usually right.

I haven’t done a jigsaw puzzle in a long time, though, because I haven’t given myself permission to sit still and not focus on work in quite a while – except the occasional day spent reading or gardening.

But I’ve recently taken up beading. I blame my mother and sister, who took me along when they went to a humungous bead store for an afternoon when I last visited them in Seattle. I went in not intending to buy anything, but I ended up purchasing the beads for a necklace as a souvenir of that visit. (And, I should say, I bought way more than the two of them put together.)

Then a friend gave me a kit with a huge variety of beads, wires and tools, and my sister came to visit and helped me figure out what I had and organize it. Then we visited another bead shop, and one of my favorite jewelry stores had a sale on hand-blown glass beads… you can see where this is going.

So I have been spending time sitting with the beads, looking at them, combining them, recombining them, and recombining them again. Do these two go together? Do these three go together? Is there a pattern emerging? Are you earrings? Or a necklace? Or a bracelet?

I realized this is very similar to the process I go through when sorting puzzle pieces. Do these two go together? Do these three go together? Are you a roofline? Or a tree branch?

Then the thought occurred to me that maybe being an external recruiter, which I did for six years (and thoroughly enjoyed), was like doing jigsaw puzzles, too. Sifting through candidates and their skills and personalities and goals, sifting through clients and their job requirements and company cultures and goals, and matching them up. Do these two go together? Do these three go together?

They’re all about making connections, and the whole becomes more than the sum of its parts.

My point is this: Sometimes we take things so for granted that we fail to see the connections that exist between them and the patterns they create.

What are some of the patterns or connections that repeat themselves in your life, whether in hobbies, or relationships, or in your work – or that cross over between them?

Creativity, Problem Solving and Apple Pie with Cheddar Cheese


Warning: in_array() expects parameter 2 to be array, string given in /home2/stblake1/public_html/wp-content/plugins/facebook-button-plugin/facebook-button-plugin.php on line 244

Warning: in_array() expects parameter 2 to be array, string given in /home2/stblake1/public_html/wp-content/plugins/facebook-button-plugin/facebook-button-plugin.php on line 246

I don’t like salads with apples in them.

I just don’t. It’s a quirk, I admit it. I love apples, though, and the handy-dandy apple slicer that you place over your apple and push down to core and slice your apple in one easy motion changed my eating habits forever. (That and my salad spinner.)

So why would I even think about, much less LOVE, a grilled steak and cheese sandwich with sliced apples in it?

Well, I was making lunch the other day and looking for inspiration in the refrigerator. I found the remains of a piece of steak, some cheddar cheese, and some good bread. Sounded like a good sandwich to me. I wanted to put something green in it to give it a little zip, though, and I didn’t have any greens. (OK, I did, but they weren’t green any more and they were in the garbage.) But I did have some apples (Granny Smiths, to be exact).

What made me think about slicing an apple ever so thinly and putting some slices in my sandwich? I don’t know, aside from the fact that I hadn’t eaten an apple in a while and I didn’t want to have a plain bread-and-meat-and-cheese sandwich. I wanted something just a little healthier. I thought about the apples in the fridge, and at first I thought, “Eeeew.” But then I thought about apple pie with cheddar cheese on it, and I thought about a nice grilled sandwich, and I decided to give it a try.

That was a darn good sandwich! Everything was nicely warmed through and the cheese was nice and gooey and the apples weren’t hard and cold and edgy; they were warm but still crisp and apple-y. In fact, it was so good that I made it again the next day and it was good the second time, too.

It’s not about my food habits and quirky tastes. It’s about creativity.

You might be wondering why I’m telling you this. It’s not about my food habits and quirky tastes. It’s about creativity. And about being willing to try something new.

I learned something important about creativity and problem solving from this: Although sometimes the best solution is something completely new and disruptive, sometimes the best solution is something that works in another context but hasn’t yet been tried in this context.

When was the last time you were stuck for ideas, and the only idea you had was so far-fetched that you didn’t think anyone would try it? Or it was so far-fetched that you wouldn’t even try it?

The next time you – or your client – is stuck between a rock and a hard place, think up a crazy idea and ask yourself, “Is there a connection to something else here that makes this reasonable?” (Like apple pie with cheddar cheese.) Or, ask yourself, “What can I do to the old solution to change it just a couple of notches so that it works here?”

I’d love to hear from you about a time you came up with a solution to a problem by thinking of a connection that made sense in another context.

What Is Like a Muscle?


Warning: in_array() expects parameter 2 to be array, string given in /home2/stblake1/public_html/wp-content/plugins/facebook-button-plugin/facebook-button-plugin.php on line 244

Warning: in_array() expects parameter 2 to be array, string given in /home2/stblake1/public_html/wp-content/plugins/facebook-button-plugin/facebook-button-plugin.php on line 246

I noticed a pattern recently in things I hadn’t previously thought of as related: Courage, Creativity, and Belief. I’d like to get your thoughts on it, and see where else we can take it.

A while back I heard the quote, “Courage is like a muscle,” and I was quite taken with it. The idea is that exercising a muscle is difficult at first, but the more you use it, the more you can use it. It’s easy to be timid, to play it safe, and harder to take risks, to be visible. But the more you take those risks, the more realize you can do it, and the fears you had were either unfounded, no longer relevant, or just not that important. You become able to act despite fear, and you become able to do more, go further, and push the envelope.

So I noticed when, early last year, Reut Schwartz-Hebron posed a question about habits vs. abilities in her (now closed) KindExcellence blog and a related LinkedIn discussion. She opened with:

“We are capable of innovation but we don’t always bother to innovate. We can be empathic and kind, but we are often not.”

Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we will put it into practice when the time is right, even if in retrospect we think it was the “right” or more effective thing to do.”

She went on to ask for examples of effective habits, and examples of situations in which a leader had an ability but did not apply it – and asked whether anything else was missing other than having an effective habit in place.

I commented that “a key habit is courage. Yes, it is a habit, not just a quality. Someone once said that courage is like a muscle and must be exercised regularly. This is true for anything that becomes a habit. 

In that vein, I think that often managers fail to lead due to a weakness in their courage muscle. Whether in being willing to give credit where credit is due, or to take a stand, no matter how small, courage is the habit that supports so many other actions.”

This prompted Reut to write related blog post on “Courage As A Stepping Stone for Innovation” and asked people to expand on whether they thought courage was a habit and what other such habits might be required for people to be effective innovators or change facilitators.

I was actually surprised how many people disagreed! Many did agree, but many felt that courage was not required for creativity – you just did it (creativity) or you didn’t – or that courage was not a habit – either you had it or you didn’t and it is only called out in extraordinary situations – like the soldier who carries his or her comrades to safety while under fire, or the mother who lifts a car off of her child.

But I’ll go out on a limb and stand by the idea that it is a habit that can be developed by exercising that muscle. Sometimes people who have never been courageous before do stand up and make a courageous act, large or small – just like some who has never been interested in fitness may go to a yoga class and then decide to continue in that vein.

Recently a series of tweets from Linda Naiman caught my eye. Linda writes and consults on the subject of creativity. Some of her comments included:

“Learning to be creative is akin to learning a sport. It requires practice to develop the right muscles.”

and

“Business leaders are adopting the principles and practices of art and design to build creative muscles in their organizations.”

Linda has also written posts highlighting the connection between risk-taking, leadership and creativity, as well as exploring the notion that creativity and innovation in organizations are often viewed as dangerous:

“Creativity is fostered in organizational cultures that value independent thinking, risk-taking, and leadership.”

and

“Root fears present re creativity and innovation are fears of change risk and failure.”

Then Johnny B. Truant made me sit up this week (which is not unusual) when he re-published a blog post about the importance of belief. In particular, he stated that the obstacles that we let stop us only stop us because we believe in them – or believe in our inability to overcome them. He says,

“And if you stop projecting false problems in your path – or panicking about something that might happen – then you’ll soon discover that you’ll build a sense of surety within yourself that you can learn to trust, and that will keep you on that true path.” (This is what I was talking about in my post, Suspend Disbelief.)

But here’s what really made me sit up:

Belief is like a muscle. You have to build it over time, and it all starts with telling yourself that something you fear or that appears to be in your way isn’t really there. If it is, fine. Take the hit and adjust. But I’ll bet that a bunch of times you’ll walk right through it – no harm, no foul.”

Suddenly I saw a pattern emerging:

Courage is a muscle.

Courage is required for Creativity.

Creativity is a muscle.

Creativity requires positive beliefs in our ability, or at least a suspension of disbeliefs in our inability.

Belief is a muscle.

Belief takes a certain amount of courage.

Hmmmm.

I am one of those who believes that everyone is creative, but they may need help to be courageous about it, to believe in themselves, and to develop those habits.

What else is like a muscle? Let’s see if we can find more patterns, or expand on this one.

Opportunities for Inspiration Are All Around Us


Warning: in_array() expects parameter 2 to be array, string given in /home2/stblake1/public_html/wp-content/plugins/facebook-button-plugin/facebook-button-plugin.php on line 244

Warning: in_array() expects parameter 2 to be array, string given in /home2/stblake1/public_html/wp-content/plugins/facebook-button-plugin/facebook-button-plugin.php on line 246

Opportunities for inspiration are all around us if we are willing to try something new.

A new show started on HGTV earlier this year, “The Antonio Treatment.” The design star is a musician and former set designer, and he looks more like a biker than an interior designer. I love this show, because it is iconoclastic.

In one of the series’ first episodes, he brings in a friend who is a cartoonist, Steven Silber, to meet with the client, who is also a cartoonist. The client makes a comment about not having the courage to distort people’s faces (an important tool of the caricature artist). Silber’s response was great. He said, “Sometimes something that may break your usual mindset is to use your opposite hand than what you’re usually using, and then you’ll do something completely different from what you’re used to doing.”

What a great reminder to just change things up a little bit to get very different results.

What a great reminder that even “creative people” need to spark their inspiration.

What a great reminder that even people who say, “Oh, I’m not creative,” can find inspiration in just doing something differently.

What can you do – or have you done – just a little differently in order to get your creative juices flowing?

The Art Part


Warning: in_array() expects parameter 2 to be array, string given in /home2/stblake1/public_html/wp-content/plugins/facebook-button-plugin/facebook-button-plugin.php on line 244

Warning: in_array() expects parameter 2 to be array, string given in /home2/stblake1/public_html/wp-content/plugins/facebook-button-plugin/facebook-button-plugin.php on line 246

Back in the mid-1990’s I discovered “Inside the Actors Studio” on the Bravo network. And I became addicted. Not addicted to watching Movie Stars reveal Juicy Tidbits about their lives (although they certainly did). I became addicted to watching people talk with passion about their craft. Whatever it was.

They talked about the scientific steps that they followed that allowed them to get their arms around a character, or get into a certain mood. But they also talked about the magic, the Art, that happens, the strokes of insight that can be acted upon when they have done The Work and exercised their mental and emotional muscles enough to be ready.

This fascinated me, and part of the reason was that I got it. I understood the relationship between Art and Science in my own work.

I was working at the time as a recruiter, a job that definitely required both Art and Science in order for the recruiter to be successful. We were taught that there were specific steps in the recruiting and placement process that, if followed, would make us successful. But I also learned that there was an Art part that also played a crucial role.

For example, if I followed the process for asking certain questions in an interview, I would find out the information I needed to be able to know if someone had the experience for a certain role. But by paying attention to how they answered, and by digging a little deeper, I could get a pretty good sense for whether they would do well in a certain environment or rise to the challenge of a particular opportunity. If I made enough calls I would find a company that needed a person, but how could I convince a hiring manager that she should at least interview this candidate even though he wasn’t a perfect fit because I knew how strong he was in these other areas? I could find a person that had the skills that matched a job requisition, but how could I convince her to meet with me if she was happy with her current job? That’s the Art Part.

I was reminded of this recently when I read an interview with Seth Godin about his new book, “Linchpin” (which I am reading). The interviewer brought up that in his book, Seth states that we are all Artists. “Wait a minute,” you’re thinking, “I’m not Creative.” I hear people say that a lot. And you know what? I don’t believe you.

Think about what you do, whether it’s your career, or something else – tennis, golf, gardening, chess, parenting. What’s the Science part? And what’s the Art Part?

Are you taking it for granted?

Is the Art Part missing?

Is that ok with you?

Please leave a comment by clicking on this post’s title.

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes