A dose of creativity stimulation
to ignite fresh thinking
'Am I creative?' you may be asking? I’ll answer that with another question: ‘Are you human?’ If your answer is ‘yes’, then my response to you is, ‘Well then, you are creative.’
If you don't feel particularly creative, don't fear. You are not alone. Studies show that as we get older, discipline, the pressures of life, fears and societal norms tend to make us ask fewer questions, laugh less, and display less creativity than we were as young children. In fact, our education system has historically favored knowledge and critical thinking over imagination and creative thinking to serve businesses in the industrial age. Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk “Do schools kill creativity?” is the most watched TED talk of all time. It has been viewed over 70 million times. The subject of creativity in education is clearly of interest to a great number of people.
Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk...
One of the qualities I admire most in our great, former president Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela is his patient and courageous perseverance. Despite huge obstacles and setbacks, he never gave up working passionately for his people. He is quoted as saying: “The struggle is my life. I will continue fighting for freedom until the end of my days.”
When we look at what is happening in South Africa, the obstacles to moving forward can seem oerwhelming. Yet, if we take it one small step at a time and persevere, we are going to recover and rebuild, then grow and thrive. St. Francis of Assisi put it so beautifully when he said:
“Start by doing what is necessary; then do what is possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
Perseverance is one of the key mindsets of creative thinkers and innovators. Since creativity pushes us out into the unknown where outcomes are uncertain and risks...
I have a fluffy white Maltese-ish dog. Her name is Popcorn. I say ‘ish’ because she is a rescue dog and apparently, she is a mixed breed. She is super cute. I thought I adopted her, but it seems she has adopted me. I am her Person. She follows me everywhere. She is always at my heels. She hops in the car and rides with me wherever I go. She is so cute.
Listen to me! I am supposed to be a cat person, not a dog-person! And not a small-dog person! I don’t know how this happened.
If Popcorn gets shut out of my office somehow, she pines at the door. It’s a forlorn, melancholic sound. She just sits there and yearns, yelping quietly until she gets let in. Oh gosh, she is doing it now. Let me go and let her in…
When last did you last have that yearning feeling? (Not the small, craving, like the hankering after your favourite food, but the deep yearning of your soul.) Can you identify what you were yearning for?
Yearning is a kind of...
The mind mapping skills that Nessa Temlett learned on our Creativity Wake-Up workshop was the inspiration for her thriving landscaping business. She told us that the mind maps that we practiced in the workshop reminded her of succulent plants, with their whorls of radiating leaves. She used the mind mapping techniques to plan her new landscaping business, which is now flourishing. She named her new business, Flourish Gardens by Nessa, and she specialises in succulent and water-wise plants. Nessa says that she continues to use mind mapping to brainstorm new ideas, products and to plan new projects.
It all started with a mind map!
Nessa's successful landscaping business started with this mind map.
“A Mind Map is the ultimate organisational thinking tool. It is the easiest way to put information into your brain and take information out of your brain. It is a creative and effective means of note taking that literally 'maps out' your thoughts,” Tony Buzan, author...
When I was about eight years old, I started my first journal. It was a squat, little book with a puffy cover, plain pages and a lock and key. I loved capturing my thoughts on paper, documenting events of the day, articulating prayers, and writing out ideas. Since then, I’ve kept a journal for most of my life. At school I won a writing competition and had a piece published in a local story compendium. However, it was not until recently that I’ve truly recognised writing as a passion of mine.
A passion is a strong enthusiasm for something. It makes you feel alive. It ‘sparks joy’ for you. It’s something that you don’t get bored of; on the contrary, it often grows stronger over time. Your passion could be for a particular subject matter (e.g. music, birds, or prayer), a sense of mission (e.g. to clean up local rivers and parks), solving problems (e.g. developing low-cost medical supplies), or for people...
A mother and her young daughter were once driving up a quiet mountain pass when they came upon a traffic jam. As they rounded a corner, they could see that a large truck could not fit under the short tunnel up ahead. The truck could not reverse back down the winding pass, nor could it move forward into the tunnel. It was just a tiny bit too tall, and it was stuck.
The mother groaned in frustration, whilst her daughter lit up with wonder at the scene in front of them. There were police, fire trucks, a crane, lots of flashing lights, and uniformed people. “Please can we go see, mummy!” she cried. “Oh alright,” the mother replied. We aren’t going anywhere quickly.” The child raced towards the scene, with her mother tramping behind her, worrying about being stuck up there all day.
After getting a closer a look at the truck, the mother and daughter went to talk to a fireman. “What are you going to do?’ asked the mother. The...
I generally don’t think about insects very much at all. I moan about mosquitos. I hate flies. I love butterflies and moths. Bees are my favourite. They rock. Paper mites give me the creeps. That’s about the extent of it.
Do you think about insects ? Are you curious about them?
I few months ago, I decided to cocoon my insect-related ignorance and apathy (defined "I don't know and I don't care") and to transform it through curiosity into wonder and delight. The impact was a fresh and hopeful perspective, newfound interest, and the widening of my world.
Do these outcomes sound attractive to you?
Then read on, and by all means, please try this at home!
Before we get into my insect story, I want to make sure you're not thinking curiosity is just for astrophysicists or kids with lots of time on their hands. Here are three things you should know:
Last week I had a shoulder operation.
After years of discomfort and restricted movement following a swimming injury, it finally seized up and I could not move it at all. The x-rays showed a large calcification in my tendon which was causing inflammation and stopping movement. No wonder I couldn’t swim faster!
I am relieved that I finally know what was wrong and that I was able to have the obstruction removed and the bone shaved to make more room in there. However, I am also frustrated that I’ve spent so much time and money over the last few years seeing physiotherapists, biokineticists, and chiropractors whose hard work was not going to solve my problem.
The intention was good, but the solutions were not helping.
When it comes to my kids, I don’t want to have those kinds of regrets. I don’t want to look back when they’ve grown up and think: Oh dear, my intention was good, but all along I was applying the wrong kind of parenting!
Parenting is tough,...
Don’t you just love a sharp, good quality pencil. There’s nothing like putting a sharpened pencil to paper and making your mark. I get a thrill from a clean page in a good quality notebook and quiet pocket of time to write or draw. Perhaps a blank page intimidates you? If so, here’s a trick: just start.
At Creativity Wake-Up, we like to think of creativity as a prized pencil, used for writing your life’s story. At the tip of the pencil, the lead or writing element, is your creative mindset, skillset and toolset. The mindset is at the base because this is the foundation of your creativity. You build your creative skillset on the mindset that you are development. To your creative skillset, you add tools. But it all starts with the mindset. Without the creative mindset, the skills and tools will not get you very far!
At the back of the pencil, you have an eraser. It is...
Last week I wrote about having to let go of our much-loved and well-used record collection and vinyl turntables. (The turntables went yesterday. Boohoo. See photo at the end of this post.) Since then, many of you have reached out to say that you are experiencing something similar, so the story seems to have have hit a chord.
I’ve been digging deeper into the importance of letting go and I think you’ll be interested in my findings. It seems businesses have an even harder time letting go. I guess in business there is the multiplier effect of not just one, but many minds unwilling or unable to let go.
Is your business making the mistake of not letting go?
Are you limiting creativity and innovation in your business by hanging on too tightly?
Here are three ways that not letting go can hold your business back from innovation and growth:
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