May 13, 2013
Today’s Monday Morning Movie is actually an audio file…
In the October 2012 issue of SUCCESS Magazine, there was a four page article by yours truly. You’ve been able to read the article online since it was published. (It is the cover article; “Innovate of Die!”)
However, unless you subscribe to the magazine, you will not have heard my 22 minute interview with SUCCESS Magazine’s publisher, Darren Hardy. It was on the CD included with the magazine, but not available anywhere else.
Darren was kind enough to give me permission to post the audio file here.
You have two ways to enjoy this interview:
- Listen to the audio (streaming):
- Download the audio (mp3) (right click to save to your computer)
I will be posting the transcription of this interview sometime soon.
April 26, 2013
Today’s Friday Fun Fact…
In previous posts, I have shared a variety of activities that I engage in to still my mind and foster more creative thinking. These include activities like walking on the beach, meditating or sitting in the hot tub.
Andrew Jarosz for the University of Illinois shares another way… drinking alcohol.
In his recent study, Jarosz found that a moderate level of alcohol “loosens a person’s focus of attention, making it easier to find connections among remotely related ideas.”
The study included 40 men, all of whom were social drinkers. 20 of the participants consumed alcoholic beverages until they achieved “an average peak blood alcohol level of 0.075 percent, just below the current 0.08 percent cutoff for legal intoxication in the United States.” The remaining 20 participants abstained.
Men in both groups then completed a creative problem-solving task.
Compared to the sober group, the “tipsy” men solved their problems faster and were more likely to have sudden insights. Those that had been drinking solved about 9 problems correctly versus only 6 for the sober group.
Additionally, “it took an average of 11.5 seconds for the intoxicated men to generate a correct solution, compared with 15.2 seconds for sober men. The groups performed comparably on the test before the study began.”
Researchers say that it is likely the alcohol makes a person more relaxed and therefore, their brain is able to take in the bigger picture faster.
While I enjoy a glass of wine from time to time, I am neither condoning nor condemning the consumption of alcohol. However, this study provides one more data point confirming that a quiet mind is a creative mind. How to achieve that – is solely up to you.
April 17, 2013
Here’s the transcription of my Monday Morning Movie…
The other day I attended a small group session on creativity. Less than a dozen people were in the room, from all walks of life. Most of them weren’t from the world of business.
The facilitator asked the question, “What is creativity?” I decided to sit back and see what others would say.
I heard the types of responses that I would typically hear if I asked that question in a corporation. For example, it’s about new ideas. It’s about novelty. It’s about doing something different, doing something better, maybe problem solving.
I really took a hard look for myself. I decided that for me creativity, at its core, at the essence of what it is to be a creative human being, is about inspiration.
I purposely chose that word “inspiration” because it comes from the word “spirit,” and it technically means to breathe life into something. To me, that’s what creativity is about.
It’s not the same as innovation, which is a purposeful act of creating something that ultimately generates value.
Creativity is about tapping into our spirit. It’s about tapping into something deep inside of us. There are numerous studies that have looked at creativity levels as we get older.
For example, one claims that 98% of 5-year-old kids test as highly creative. 98%. Then, by the time they get to 10 years old, it’s down to 30%. When they’re 15, it’s down to 12%. The study showed that 200,000 adults over the age of 25, only 2% of them tested as highly creative. I’m convinced that it was the 2% that didn’t test as highly creative when they were 5-years-old and they went through some sort of metamorphosis through their life.
The point is, we are inherently as human beings, creative. We have it inside us. It’s how we are wired. But as time goes on, we learn a lot of things to fit in. We go to school at the age of five. We’re taught to regurgitate facts. We go to university. Instead of gathering and being inspired, we start to focus, narrow, and dig deep.
I think the opportunity for all human beings is to tap into that spirit, to tap into that creative part of us, that inspiration. It’s not so much necessarily, as an individual, about what it achieves, but maybe what it does for us as a human being. What does that creativity do for us?
So ask yourself, what are the things that you can do to tap into your creativity on a regular basis? For me, I love to go walk on the beach. That, for me, is my biggest source of great ideas/inspiration. Or I love to sit in a hot tub as often as I can, which isn’t very often. Maybe take a hot bath.
Sometimes it’s as simple as just quieting my mind or journaling. It is important, I think, for every individual, no matter who you are, to tap into that innate creative spirit that you have. This will be useful in so many different ways, not just in terms of achieving things in life, but generating passion and creating excitement. It is to me, the source of everything else that we do. It helps us be more alive when we’re doing our more left-brain/analytical work.
To me this is an important thing for everyone to do. I encourage you to find something that you can do every day, on a regular basis, that will help you tap into your creativity, tap into your inspiration, tap into what it is for you, as a human being, to be alive.
April 15, 2013
Today’s Monday Morning Movie…
After attending a session on creativity, I realized that the “old” definitions don’t work for me.
Creativity is something much more than “new ideas.” And it is not the same as innovation.
As you will see in this video, I believe it is about tapping into your inner wisdom.
Transcription coming soon…
April 12, 2013
Today’s Friday Fun Fact…
Last week I had discussed the concept of confirmation bias and the impact that it has on innovation.
In a nutshell, confirmation bias is our tendency to seek evidence that supports our existing beliefs and ignores or refutes evidence to the contrary. While these biases can impact any area of our life, one area where it has been scientifically proven to exist is in politics.
A 2004 Emory College study showed…
where in the brain confirmation bias arises and how it is unconscious and driven by emotions… While undergoing a brain scan, 30 men–half self-described as ‘strong’ Republicans and half as ‘strong’ Democrats–were tasked with assessing statements by both George W. Bush and John Kerry in which the candidates clearly contradicted themselves. Not surprisingly, in their assessments Republican subjects were as critical of Kerry as Democratic subjects were of Bush, yet both let their own candidate off the hook.
This in itself is not surprising.
During the assessment, the neuroimaging results revealed that the part of the brain most associated with reasoning was dormant.
The most active parts of the brain were those involved in the processing of emotions, conflict resolution, making judgments about moral accountability; and—“once subjects had arrived at a conclusion that made them emotionally comfortable–the ventral striatum was activated, which is related to reward and pleasure… Essentially, it appears as if partisans twirl the cognitive kaleidoscope until they get the conclusions they want, and then they get massively reinforced for it, with the elimination of negative emotional states and activation of positive ones.”
Our brains are wired to reward us when we align the current view with our existing beliefs. It is no wonder why we have such difficulty seeing other’s perspectives.
Is it possible to change your view? Of course.
There are two ways that I have found useful.
The first involves others: recruit your best devil’s advocates and muster the willingness to really listen - really listen. This is sometimes the easiest method as it provides formal checks and balances.
But if you want to address your biases on your own, studies show that simply being aware of your biases, and having constant reminders of them, may be enough to reduce their impact (see my Best Practices Are Stupid book for more on this). But for this to work, you must be open to assuming that your current beliefs are not accurate.
However, given that the brain rewards us for “seeing what we believe” – confirming our biases – it is not easy or pleasant to change.