Tag Archives: breakthroughs

Nothing is Original?

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” King Solomon

“There is nothing new except what has been forgotten.” Marie Antoinette

“No idea is original, there’s nothing new under the sun, it’s never what you do, but how it’s done.” Nas (Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones)


The saying, “There is nothing new under the sun” is as old as the bible,
found in Ecclesiastes 1:9 and spoken by King Solomon–but is it true?

Some people find this idea depressing, aren’t we unique beings created by our Creator to be creative after all? We know our thumb print is like no others… even identical twins, who share the same genetics (initially), have different prints.

Nothing is Original

We know each snow flake is like no other. Each snowflake falls and floats through clouds with different temperatures and moisture levels, which shapes each snowflake in a unique way.

Nothing is Original

SO it seems “the how“–of how we come together–is what matters. You have a mother and a father and possess features from both. However, the sum of who you are is bigger than their parts. You are a mysterious conglomerate of your parents and all of your ancestors–but you are even more than a physical genealogy–you are a genealogy of ideas too.

You don’t get to pick your parents, but you do get to pick where your ideas come from–what books you read, who your heroes are, the art you view and study, the music you listen to, the movies you watch, the people and ideas you surround yourself with on a daily basis. Your ideas are a mashup of what you choose to bring into your life–we are a sum of our influences.

Nothing is Original

What good artists understand is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative works build on what came before–nothing is completely original. It is the way we uniquely combine, subtract, mash and tinker with the ideas that creates something new. It’s an endless cycle of recycling–in a similar way that nature does.

I love this picture of the “rock cycle” to illustrate this idea of “nothing new under the sun.” The rock cycle is a basic concept in Geology that describes the time-consuming transitions through geologic time among the three main rock types: sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous. The rock cycle is an illustration that explains how the three rock types are related to each other, and how processes change from one type to another over time.

Nothing is Original

So here you have it: Sedimentary rocks transition to metamorphic rocks, which transition to igneous rocks and through erosion and environmental conditions transition back to sedimentary rocks–nothing new under the sun!

Just like nature we are all recycling ideas–whether consciously or unconsciously. Francis Ford Coppola says it best:

“We want you to take from us. We want you, at first, to steal from us, because you can’t steal. You will take what we give you and you will put it in your own voice and that’s how you will find your voice.”

Steve Jobs also famously said in 1996:

“Picasso had a saying — ‘good artists copy; great artists steal’ — and we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”

So lets go forth creatives “shamelessly stealing” all of the ideas we need and want and LOVE to create our own new art–the way only we can. May we endeavor to say–some day–what Isaac Newton said, “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” 

Thank you for reading my post. My core message of ‘everyone is creative’ resonates with people of all ages and walks of life. I invite all to become–the best version of themselves and find true meaning by pursing long term creative quests–in my recent book and website.

Wow! The Diversity of Body Art

Body art is art made on, with, or consisting of, the human body. The most common forms of body art used to be tattoos or body piercings… but the ever-innovative art world has evolved a long way from just this form.

For me body art must be tasteful–I will highlight three different forms of body art that have awed me of late: 1) Digital body art inspiring natural beauty 2) Healing tattoos and 3) Mimicking body art transformation

Look closely–the following is digital photography art composed entirely of the nude human form. Cecelia Webber is a multimedia artist who spent much of her childhood outdoors. Her website states: “Her deep appreciation for nature, along with her scientific background, give her a deep awareness of organic forms that she draws upon to concoct pieces bearing a unique interplay between colors, shapes, and models’ bodies.”

It is Webber’s flower series (using naked people!) that inspire me most.

           Sunflower

            Ink flower

           White Dandelion

           Jungle pink

            Rose

My second example is Brian Finn, a tattoo artist who is helping others turn traumatic scars into symbols of strength. Finn who is from Toledo, Ohio, “gives forward” by inking over people’s scars from domestic violence, human trafficking or self-harm—for free.

                                   A tattoo done on scars as a result of self-harm.

                 A skull and pistons, done on a survivor of domestic violence

Finn is booked with appointments to transform scars. His volunteer work is genius and to be admired–to this the humble artist says, “it’s simply the right thing to do.” He explains that he does it all to help others feel empowered. “It’s just something I can do that won’t take much time that can make a big impact on other people. A tattoo can help disguise the scars, so … it’s like a new chapter.”

My third selection of body art is body painting, which has been around for thousands of years. Every tribe on earth has used clay and other colorful natural pigments to adorn themselves–often in ceremonies. This has evolved into our modern use of cosmetics and makeup, albeit in a more conservative way.

Since the 1960’s there has been a revival of body painting due to changing attitudes of how we view our bodies. My next selection is simply elegant and enchanting–not to be missed!–by Johannes Stötter.

Johannes developed his unique bodypainting technique of his own accord without others’ influence. He joined the international bodypainting community in 2009 at the World Bodypainting Festival in Austria, where he competed in the world championship for the first time. He became world champion in 2012, and the awards (and his originality) just keep coming.

The creativity of the human being and spirit–and the beauty of our bodies–never ceases to amaze and thrill me. What new art forms have you recently discovered that inspire you? Rock on art world into 2017–more originality to come!

Thank you for reading my post. My core message of ‘everyone is creative’ resonates with people of all ages and walks of life. I invite all to become–the best version of themselves and find true meaning by pursing long term creative quests–in my recent book and website.

What I loved about 2016 and What Not So Much

Wow, 2016 was an ever-eventful year. I want to share with you what awed and delighted me the most… and what did not.

My #1 delight of the year was: It was a five-year journey to our solar system’s gigantic planet of Jupiter, but NASA’s Juno spacecraft stunned us by nailing it right on time! To celebrate its accomplishment, Juno entered Jupiter’s orbit on U.S’s independence day–July 4th. Juno will probe beneath the obscuring clouds of Jupiter for the first time and study its auroras. I was in awe as I watched this event in real time online–along with the scientists at NASA–the tension in the room was palpable and so was the sheer joy of Juno’s unbelievable performance seen in this AWESOME VIDEO:

The returning data and images of Jupiter to Earth will keep scientists busy for many years. What will we learn about Jupiter’s origin and what will it mean for Earth? Jupiter already sucks up monumental space junk so that it does not slam into us, what else will we learn about our friend?

                                                              Jupiter Aurora

This is why I love King Jupiter so much: Earth is a nice place to live precisely because of Jupiter’s overbearing gravity. It acts as a super-sized gravitational shield to planet earth. It keeps incoming space junk, like comets, away from our inner solar system. Just think about what that asteroid did to the dinosaurs 65 million years ago!

The whole world was watching when Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 fell apart and its pieces crashed into Jupiter in 1994, leaving Earth-size scars that lasted a year. That’s Jupiter doing its cosmic job–better it than us!

It was high time we visit our fearless BIG, BIG-brother whom protects us from many spooky cosmic thugs–hip, hip hooray to NASA for this in 2016!

My #2 delight of the year was: Another NASA launch, which happened on Sept. 8 that could revolutionize our understanding of the early solar system. This one is the FIRST asteroid sampling mission called the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx). The spacecraft (with the very un-sexy name) is designed to reach the asteroid Bennu in August 2018, and then return a sample of it to Earth in 2023.

Illustration of OSIRIS-REx collecting a sample from asteroid Bennu

Why should we care about Bennu? Bennu was selected from over 500,000 known asteroids by NASA’s selection committee. It was chosen due to its close proximity to Earth, the low Δv required to reach it, an orbit with low eccentricity, low inclination, an ideal orbital radius, and it has loose dirt on its surface. Asteroids smaller than this typically spin too fast to retain dust or small particles.

Whittling down from 500,000 to only 5 asteroids: Finally, a desire to find an asteroid with pristine carbon material from the early solar system, possibly including volatile molecules, organic compounds and amino acids reduced the list further to just five asteroids. Ultimately Bennu was selected between these five due to its potentially hazardous orbital impact to Earth. So YES Bennu is one special asteroid! Very COOL NASA VIDEO follows this journey:

My #3 delight of the year was: NASA in 2016 formally started an astrophysics mission designed to help unlock the secrets of the universe. Called the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), it will aid researchers in their efforts to understand–by far the biggest secrets of all–dark energy and dark matter.

WFIRST will also discover new worlds outside our solar system– known as exoplanets. This is because NASA is STILL searching for another planet like earth, which could be suitable for life. Will they ever find it is the question–they have verified 1,284 exoplanets to date–none of which are the least bit hospitable. This artist’s concept depicts select planetary discoveries made to date by NASA’s Kepler space telescope. Credits: NASA/W. Stenzel

Regardless of absolutely no success to date to find an earth look-alike, NASA scientists won’t give up searching for life outside our solar system. They analyzed the Kepler space telescope’s “planet candidate catalog” and identified 4,302 potential planets to investigate. You go NASA–if they find one it will be the greatest discovery in all of the history of mankind!

Those are my top 3 WOW things to happen in 2016. NASA is by far the coolest government agency in the USA. Not only do they explore the galaxy and probe the heavens, they develop innovative technology and collect data on climate change. NASA has put a man on the moon and helped launch the collaborative International Space Station. Their mission is WOW: To “reach for new heights and reveal the unknown for the benefit of humankind,” and so far they are doing a stellar job.

What’s on top of my list for the lousiest of 2016? The death of facts: Regardless of your political affiliation, I think we can all agree that politicians have thrown out “facts” in favor of who can spread “delusions” or straight out lies the most effectively. The worst U.S. political election process I’ve ever witnessed in my years, my mom agrees and she is 88 years old. We can only hope an election that yucky is never repeated again here or anywhere!

9

Second on my list of not so great: 2016 saw the ranks in rock ‘n’ roll heaven quickly swell, as David Bowie, who died at 69 after a secretive 18-month battle with cancer, had just released Blackstar, the album that would serve as his final LP; Keith Emerson, the outsized co-founding keyboardist in Emerson Lake and Palmer, committed suicide at 71 in March; Leonard Cohen, one of the most acclaimed songwriters of the rock era, died in November at the age of 82. He had just released You Want It Darker, the 14th album in a career; Prince, whose full name was Prince Rogers Nelson, died April 21 at age 57, after being found unresponsive in an elevator at Paisley Park, his home and recording studio in Minnesota; And British superstar George Michael was found dead in bed on Christmas day–just to name a few. RIP rockers, we LOVE you and the music you created!

Third on my list of not so great? America is deeply, deeply divided about serious issues–and certainly about what kind of leader(s) we need. Who will help us to find common ground? If you live here you know what I am talking about. For the first time since I can remember I’m looking at 2017 with more consternation than hope… but I still have hope. Yes by these three shall I abide: Faith, Hope and Love. I end this 2016 reflection with–the greatest of these three is Love. God bless you all!

Thank you for reading my post. I am a writer and consultant living in the mountains of Santa Fe, New Mexico with my husband and dogs. My core message of everyone is creative resonates with people of all ages and walks of life. I invite all to become the best version of themselves and find true meaning by pursing long term creative quests.

Velcro and Teflon Creativity

Which of your three creative centers–head, heart or gut–are you being negative to? bionic-brain

The secret to creativity might be summed up in a cheesy neuroscience joke: “The neurons that fire together, wire together.” When we disrespect what one of our intelligence centers is saying to us by automatically responding negatively to it, we are shutting that source of creativity down:

“My gut is always wrong, I never listen to it.”

“Listening to my heart will only cause severe pain and bleeding.”

“I think too much, I shouldn’t listen to my head but only act.”

“It’s a classic saying, and it’s widely accepted because it’s very true,” says neuropsychologist Rick Hanson. “We’ve got this negativity bias that’s a kind of bug in the stone-age brain in the 21st century,” he says. “It makes it hard for us to learn from our positive experiences, even though learning from your positive experiences is the primary way to grow inner strength.”

There are consequences of our highly interconnected head/heart and gut intelligence centers. Scientists believe our brains have a built-in “negativity bias.” The reason is pretty simple. Since we evolved over millions of years, dodging sticks and chasing carrots (rewards), it was more important to notice, react to, and remember sticks than it was for carrots. It was a tough environment for our ancestors. If they missed out on a carrot, it likely would not kill them; but if they failed to avoid a stick, such as a predator, a poisonous plant, a natural hazard, or overly aggressive fellow caveman, then BAM!, fat chance to pass on their genes.

Our negativity bias shows up in lots of ways. For example, studies have found in a relationship, it typically takes five good interactions to make up for a single bad one. People will work much harder to avoid losing 100 dollars than they will work to gain the same amount of money. Painful experiences are much more memorable than pleasurable ones.

The brain is like Velcro for negative experiences, but Teflon for positive ones. It is said approximately 80 percent of our (up to) 70,000 thoughts per day are negative. This is good and bad news for creativity. Our brains are tilted against lasting contentment and fulfillment. This means our memory banks are full of underlying expectations, assumptions, beliefs, and especially our moods—which automatically move in a negative direction. Mother Nature only cares about passing on genes; she doesn’t care if this means painful suffering in the process. Suffering includes subtle worries to intense feelings of sorrow, worthlessness, or anger and creating suffering for others. Naturally being wired to acquire negative experiences over positive ones, can make us more anxious, irritable, and blue. But these “sticky” emotions also create a deep well for us to draw upon and funnel into creative outlets. Such lack of contentment can result in a felt need and a motivation to create.

“I have the memory of an elephant. I can forgive, but I cannot forget. It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” Eleanor Roosevelt

Perhaps the Velcro theory is why Eleanor Roosevelt’s famous elephant quote about her philandering husband makes sense. We are wired to hold onto the negative experience, even if we willfully (from our gut center) try not to. Mrs. Roosevelt exemplifies our need to take the negative and create something new. This is exactly what she did after discovering FDR’s first affair with her own private secretary. Her personal journals expose from this point forward, any remaining intimacy left their relationship. Up to this point she was willing to be a traditional wife, mother of their five children, and homemaker. After this very painful breach of trust, Eleanor established a separate house, and increasingly devoted herself to becoming a human rights and social justice entrepreneur. This included being a pioneer in the womens’ suffrage and African American Civil Rights movements. She was no ordinary first lady–I believe the most entrepreneurial one of all!

Eleanor knew how to make lemonade from potent lemons in her life

Perhaps an even more severe example of “making lemonade” is shown in the video below. This one will blow your mind for sure!

However, on a day to day basis, many of us don’t stay with our positive experiences long enough for them to be encoded into neural structure (meaning there’s not enough wiring and firing going on). On the other hand, we naturally tend to fixate on negative experiences. Positive and negative emotions use different memory systems in the brain, according to Hanson, and positive emotions don’t transfer as easily to long-term memory.

So we easily filter to see the tough parts of life. We can learn to bear negativity by intentionally tilting towards healthy creative outlets. This will lift our energy and spirits and use our resources. But we have to intentionally fill up our cups because positive experiences will wash through us like sieves. Please see a previous post on how to fight ANTS (automatic negative thoughts).

The more we get our neurons firing on positive facts, the more we’ll be wiring up positive neural structures. Intentionally focusing on “taking in the good” is a brain-science savvy and psychologically skillful way to improve how we feel, get things done creatively, and treat others consistently. By taking the positive in–from our head, heart and gut centers–and filling ourselves up with them, we will increasingly feel less fragile or needy inside, and less dependent on external supplies.

How good are you at creatively making lemonade from all the negative lemons in your life? Please share your insights on this, we all have “ANTS,” (mine can build huge mounds in my mind if left untended!)

Thank you for reading my post (excerpts from my recent book). My core message of everyone is creative resonates with people of all ages and walks of life. I invite all to become the best version of themselves in my book and at my website and find true meaning by pursing long term creative quests.

Are introverts or extroverts more creative?

I could review numerous research studies of the most common personality traits of creative people. Numerous researchers have analyzed, studied, and found the magic “personality formula” for being most creative. I won’t highlight such studies because I don’t believe them–everyone is creative. However, one of the most important personality attributes, from a creativity standpoint, is to seek out time for self.

Pin itTwin studies find that extraversion/introversion has a genetic component.

Being creative means accepting and honoring our unique personality and gifts. Also we want to honor our extroversion or introversion pattern. It is important to know that whether your dominant creative center is your head, heart or gut center that you can be introverted or extroverted. Our intelligence centers do not discriminate between being extroverted or introverted–our dominant intelligence center can be a full range of “E” versus “I” on this continuum.

Author Susan Cain says, “Studies suggest that many of the most creative people are introverts, and this is partly because of their capacity for quiet. Introverts are careful, reflective thinkers who can tolerate the solitude that idea-generation requires. On the other hand, implementing good ideas requires cooperation, and introverts are more likely to prefer cooperative environments, while extroverts favor competitive ones” (2013, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking).

Most comprehensive personality models include the introversion/extroversion concept in various forms. According to Carl Jung (the pioneering psychologist who wrote Psychological Types in 1921), extroversion is a primary personality orientation to things, events, and persons external to oneself. This is a basic attraction leading extroverts to prize “facts,” social networking, and commonly held values.

Introversion, on the other hand, is a primary orientation to, and interest in, one’s own conscious insights, feelings, intuitions, and logical conclusions. According to Jung’s theory, introversion and extroversion are coordinated in various degrees with four basic personality functions. He emphasized, “There is no such thing as a pure extrovert or a pure introvert. Such a man would be in a lunatic asylum.”

According to studies by psychologist Hans Eysenck, introverts require less stimulation from the world in order to be awake and alert than extroverts do. This means introverts are more easily over-stimulated.

People falling near the middle of the spectrum are called “ambiverts” and are equally extroverted and introverted. The important thing is that one is not better than another. Steve Jobs, an extrovert, invented Apple with Steve Wozniak, an introvert. Both famously creative, both honoring and using their temperaments to their advantage. It is very likely that extroverts will do better in high arousal environments than introverts. Each type needs to be cognizant of their preferences in order to enhance their own creativity.

 I am pretty sure that Leonardo da Vinci was more extroverted along this spectrum– sorry Susan! Many Meyers-Briggs personality experts agree with me, with their definition being whether someone prefers to focus on the outer world or their own inner world.

Leonardo is widely considered one of the greatest painters of all time and perhaps the most diversely talented person whom ever lived–yet he is also famous for a vast number of uncompleted creative works. His interests were very diverse including–but not limited to–painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer. His preference for mental stimulation (head center dominant) shines through loudly! The small number of his paintings that survive is due to his constant, and frequently disastrous, experimentation with new techniques, and his chronic procrastination. The last sentence of a mathematical theorem in Leonardo’s notebook states: “Perche la minesstra si fredda.” This translates as, “Whatever – the soup is getting cold.”

So–what do you think creatives, are introverts or extroverts generally more creative? I guess that all depends on whether you think you are an introvert or extrovert!

Thank you for reading my post (excerpts from my recent book). My core message of everyone is creative resonates with people of all ages and walks of life. I invite all to become the best version of themselves in my book and at my website and find true meaning by pursing long term creative quests.

Dogs’ Creativity, Woof!

“If dogs ruled the world” humans would play fetch, too! Wouldn’t you agree? In fact “fetch” would become a national and Olympic sport. The whole world would turn into a never ending dog park… with lots of good belly rubbing and tug-a-war included too.

"If dogs ruled the world" humans would play fetch, too! Wouldn't you agree? In… Pin it        Finn, Bella ready for any hunt or play anytime, anywhere

If dogs ruled the world, all pertinent data would occur in a matter of seconds, no more tedious searching on the internet!

In my home our dogs DO rule our world. We photographed them as “Sheriff Finn” and “Deputy Bella” recently because that truly is who they are.

Both are weimaraner rescues: We adopted Finn first, a larger than normal male at a year old, now over 100 pounds and nine years old. We can only guess his name comes from the huge size of his paws. He is sheriff to us all. We must adore and obey him because… well he is King Finn, the lap dog after all.

Then there is deputy Bella, the all adoring (of Finn, we come second) and submissive deputy of eight years. If we don’t follow Finn’s orders she backs him up 110%–get with it you guys pronto!

Dogs
Pin it  Mac-head Finn at a year old: computer work is so tiring!

Bred in Germany originally for hunting in the early 19th century they were used by royalty for hunting large game such as bear and deer. Later they were used for hunting smaller animals like birds, rabbits, and foxes. At our place they hunt for all these, also astute and quick at catching lizards, mice and flies. They are indeed flexible!

Weimaraners are not an independent breed and love to be with their owner, never leaving them alone–aka, “Velcro dogs.” When asked, “Do you allow them to sleep on your bed with you?” I reply, ‘oh yes, but mostly they are under the covers,’ I note we are in good company with William Wegman who responds likewise.

Weims (for short) were made famous by this photographer William Wegman, born in 1943. Wegman originally intended to pursue a career as a painter–that is until he got his dog, Man Ray. The two began a long and fruitful collaboration. Man Ray is known in the art world for his endearing deadpan presence… along came many more weims after him.

https://youtu.be/G9w22XdkE1M

Photo credit, William Wegman; Wegman’s dogs joyfully appeared in TV show Sesame Street (video)

Sure if dogs ruled, we’d be known as “dogs best friends…” But there is something more about dogs that can’t be pinned down… that deep bonding, “soulful” thing… captured in this video by Wendy Francisco.

My theory is that no one can empathize with us the way our dogs can due to their uncanny ability to read our body language and attune to our energy. Ask any dog trainer and they will tell you it’s far easier to teach a dog a behavior using a hand signal than using a spoken word. Why? Dogs are masters at reading our body language. For centuries, dogs have been carefully watching us to understand and anticipate our movements. This evolutionary effort got them the most food, helped avoid danger, and ensured they stayed on humans’ good side.

Dogs Pin it Tyler the weimaraner does the splits, Picture: YOGA DOGS /BARCROFT MEDIA

Honestly what wouldn’t your dog do for you? Evolutionary anthropologist Brian Hare speculates, “that the ability to read human body language was one of the traits selected when dogs were being domesticated,” (along with I’d say a severe “cuteness” factor). Those dogs best at reading people were more likely to be nurtured by humans and, therefore, be successful and reproduce. Scientifically this makes sense to me but still–does not explain that soulful unconditional (and unspeakable) bonding factor.

Dogs Pin it      Finn, Bella, mom and dad–just having fun

There are many kinds of service dogs, including guide dogs, hearing dogs, mobility dogs, seizure alert/response dogs, psychiatric service dogs, autism dogs, military dogs, drug and cancer sniffing dogs, the list goes on… I know many ex-vets that would not want to go on living without the dog (or dogs) that enable them to cope emotionally on a daily basis. Again one wonders… what can’t these creatures do? They certainly reach down into our souls the way no others can!

Dogs Pin it     Soldier adopts hero military dog that ‘saved her’ in Afghanistan

If you give your heart to a dog they will not break it. No, I don’t think that Dog is God spelled backwards, but pretty darn close.

How is your dog goofy, fun and creative? Please share how they make you more creative!

Thank you for reading my post. My core message of everyone is creative resonates with people of all ages and walks of life. I invite all to become the best version of themselves in my recent book and at my website and find true meaning by pursing long term creative quests.

Is Music Art?


A very strange instrument, “a marble melody,”
is currently captivating the internet. The artistic piece is called a “Wintergatan”–a musical instrument built using 2000 marbles!

It was built by Swedish musician named Martin Molin, 33, lead musician of Swedish band, Wintergarten. He created a wooden music box powered by marbles, yes marbles! He has accomplished this feat by employing pulleys, levers, and gears.

Molin turns a hand crank that moves 2,000 marbles around on tracks and through funnels (3000 parts!) The marbles then travel around and come in contact with other instruments like a kick drum, a bass guitar, marimba, cymbals, a vibraphone and bass. It can play ANY style of music.

Be prepared to be utterly delighted and inspired by these videos. 

The artist made this marvelous music-making machine in just 14 months. Find out how he did it in the short video below.


I ask you creatives’ to confirm, is music art? Please share your favorite quotes
.

Thank you for reading my post. My core message of everyone is creative resonates with people of all ages and walks of life. I invite all to become the best version of themselves in my recent book and at my website and find true meaning by pursing long term creative quests.

How are you creative? Free Self-Assessment

“It turns out that creativity isn’t some rare gift to be enjoyed by the lucky few…
In too many of us it gets blocked. But it can be unblocked.
“And unblocking that creative spark can have far-reaching implications…” 
Tom Kelley

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There have been three centers of intelligence observed in humans dating back to Ancient Greece: Head (thinking), Heart (feeling) and Gut (intuitive doing). All three centers are active in each person, and are necessary for survival. However, we don’t access each of them equally because this is part of our brain’s conditioning. For example, I’m primarily a gut-based person. This means I operate mostly out of my gut reactions first, with support from my heart and/or head. Others describe themselves as primarily heart based, with support from their gut intuition and/or head. We all know thinkers who predominantly operate from the head center because their internal thinking is deeply valuable to them.

Clearly, our centers need each other. They independently and interdependently bring out our creativity. The slow hunch from our gut needs to be nourished. Even if it’s a flash of insight from the gut, we need the head center to prove it and the heart center to nourish it. To befriend our total experience is to accept all of our responses. To allow information to flow without judgment from all three centers and experience events, good or bad, painfully or joyfully, is to be truly alive.

Our task is to consider every moment, and our reaction to it, as potentially interesting, challenging, and revealing to our creative process. To be fully creative we need an open heart, open head, and open gut willingly befriending each other. We need to be aware when any of our centers are closed or blocked. We need self-confidence to solve problems or exploit ideas creatively. You absolutely can develop the self-belief and confidence in your own creativity by experimenting with and trusting in your three intelligence centers as THE sources of your creativity.

The key is to build an awareness of where your fire comes from regarding your ideas or problems. Does it originate from your heart, head, or gut intelligence center? In what proportion is the fire burning to solve problems from each center? From your heart/head/gut’s perspective is it 80/10/10 or 34/65/1 or 33/33/33? To facilitate this awareness, I offer a free three-center self-assessment on my website.

By discovering which center is your dominant, supportive and under-used center–you will build your awareness and confidence in your creative self.

Why a self-assessment and not some kind of creativity test? The answer is because creativity is not simply a set of personality traits or skills. It’s not familiarity with a set of behaviors that facilitate pre-fabricated strategies. Creative people are inventors; they invent both problems and solutions.

Creativity happens when a person with the right set of skills and knowledge (from the head, heart, and gut) invents or finds a meaningful problem that cannot be solved using any existing approach. The problem is solved creatively only by the person uniquely executing their own set of experiences (from the head, heart, and gut). Who knows who is going to hit the jackpot? Only people who have chosen to embark on this quest. I can’t “teach” creativity because it is a very personal quest. My quest is to facilitate your creative quest.

Thanks for reading my post. This is an excerpt taken from my recent book: The Three Sources of Creativity: Breakthroughs from your Head, Heart and Gut. My core message of everyone is creative resonates with people of all ages and walks of life. I invite all to become the best version of themselves at my website and find true meaning by pursing long term creative quests.

Creativity, women, paradigms & countries

I’ve highlighted many diverse men’s life long creativity in my book (along with women’s). newparadigmaheadHere are three ground breaking stories highlighting women’s creativity in three different countries. One story is creativity in a business sense (China), another a political paradigm breaking case (Sweden), and a third story from my book, a pioneer American woman breaking both race and gender paradigms.

To introduce the first woman, I ask: Where are the most self-made female billionaires? Its China, did you guess right? Yes — China! One may ask how is being a billionaire related to being creative? It is probably safe to assume that most self-made billionaires—in general—are creative, especially from a business perspective. Here is some background: Historically, Chinese women were among the most oppressed in the world. They bore the brunt of child marriage, illiteracy and forced prostitution, among other evils (like foot binding!). Chairman Mao Zedong changed all that. He womenand skyfamously said “women hold up half the sky” (1952).

Chairman Mao keenly understood the importance of women in the future economic growth of China. He handed women equal rights and emancipation in all aspects of life — political, economic and social with his marriage laws in 1952. In a society where women were treated as the property of men for centuries, this was truly revolutionary.

“International Business Report” states that half of senior management jobs in China are held by women, far above only 20 percent in the United States. Nicholas Kristof, who lived for many years in China, writes “no country has made as much progress in improving the status of women as China has.”

Zhou-Qunfei-2-PPAn exemplar is Zhou Qunfei– The world’s richest self-made woman (Forbes). She is the founder of Lens Technology, which went public last year, and is worth $7.2 billion. Her two biggest customers are Apple and Samsung.  Lens Technology is a leading supplier of the cover glass used in laptops, tablets and mobile devices. This is no easy manufacturing task, check out how thin 0.5 millimeters is on a ruler, and you’ll understand how hard it is to create something this thin.

Even though Zhou is quite the jet setter, she is the most comfortable pacing the floor of her state-of-the-art factory, tinkering. “She’ll dip her hands into a tray of water, to determine whether the temperature is just right. She can explain the intricacies of heating glass in a potassium ion bath. When she passes a grinding machine, she is apt to ask technicians to step aside so she can take their place for a while” (NYT, 7-30-15). She exemplifies gut-based creativity.

Zhou grew up motherless and impoverished, raising pigs as her father went blind. She dropped out of school at 16 and went to live with her uncle to search for better work. She eventually landed a job in a factory making watch lenses for about $1 a day pay. She was hard working, outspoken and continually promoted in the factory until she had saved enough money to start her own–better quality–watch lens workshop. And the rest is history…

The Communist Party promotion of gender equality allowed women to flourish as capitalism was taking root. I experienced this gender equality first hand–and deep respect–for women’s talents and abilities during many business trips to China in the late 1990’s. It was truly refreshing.

Zhou’s bold gut-provoked creativity seems to have no creative boundaries in China. Now lets turn to my second story. Sweden tried for a hundred years to pass legislation making illegal the purchase of sex by men, and when new legislation was drafted and debated in 1999 this was the key issue. There was a strong sentiment that the women themselves should not be punished, since it was believed that many were improperly enticed or actually forced into prostitution. sweden-does-everything-right.jpg.653x0_q80_crop-smartSweden has the highest proportion of women parliamentarians in Europe (ranked #5 internationally). The final legislation the women government leaders pushed through made it illegal to buy sexual services, to act as a pimp, or to operate a brothel, but the prostitutes were not considered to be acting illegally. The number of sex workers in Sweden dropped more than 40 percent during the next five years.

The criminalisation of the purchase, but not selling, of sex was unique—and a paradigm shift— when first enacted in 1999. Since then Norway and Iceland have adopted similar legislation, both in 2009, followed by Canada in 2014 and Northern Ireland in 2015. The creative paradigm shift was to prescribe punishment for those who own and operate the brothels and control the women, as well as the male customers who provide the profit motive. There is little doubt that public exposure in a trial and a heavy fine or jail time for prominent male citizens or police officers who patronize or profit from the sex trade is extremely effective. The opposite policy still exists in the United States, where there are fifty times as many female prostitutes arrested as their male customers and handlers.

According to the Global Gender Gap report the U.S. is #28, dropping from the top 20 countries in 2015. The report ranks over 145 economies according to how well they are leveraging their female talent pool, based on economic, educational, health-based and political indicators. The ranking of U.S. women participating in government positions is #95 (2016) in comparison to other countries. Both studies highlight the significant improvement needed in U.S. gender equality areas.

Do you remember the date when women gained the right to vote? If you answered 1920 that would not be correct. It would be true for white women but not black women—who did not earn this right until 1965. My third story is highlighted in my book: Enter the Madame_CJ_Walkerparadigm-breaking entrepreneur, Madame C.J. Walker (1867-1919). Far before she had the right to vote, she was inspired by a dream making her the FIRST American female self-made millionaire (and she was African American). She created a line of hair-care and skin products for black women. Walker was suffering from a scalp infection causing her to lose most of her hair in the 1890s. She began experimenting with patented medicines and hair-care products. Then she had an intuitive dream that solved her problems (gut center creativity). “He answered my prayer, for one night I had a dream, and in that dream a big, black man appeared to me and told me what to mix up in my hair. Some of the remedy was grown in Africa, but I sent for it, mixed it, put it on my scalp, and in a few weeks my hair was coming in faster than it had ever fallen out. I tried it on my friends; it helped them. I made up my mind to begin to sell it.” Madame Walker proves the old adage “go sleep on it”, when needing to solve a personal or work problem, is good creative advice.

One thing is for sure, it requires the stubborn efforts of both men and women working together to solve the problem of gender inequality. The more gender equality we realize, the more creative problem solving we can bring to bear on all world problems. As Mark Twain said, “What would men be without women? Scarce, sir…mighty scarce.”

What are your ideas to promote gender equality and the resultant creativity that it generates?

Thank you for reading my post. I am an organizational and business consultant living in the mountains of Santa Fe, New Mexico with my husband and dogs. My core message of everyone is creative resonates with people of all ages and walks of life. I invite all to become the best version of themselves and find true meaning by pursing long term creative quests.

Read more in my book: The Three Sources of Creativity: Breakthroughs from Your Head, Heart and Gut

 

 

Why I love cartoons

I’ve loved cartoons for as long as I can remember. They are the first thing I look for while settling into the Sunday paper. I never thought about why I like cartoons so much until I wrote my book. I open my book with a question: What is the Answer to Being More Creative? This cartoon is a perfect illustration for me.

We don’t hit targets that we don’t aim for; icleaningladies2t takes intention and attention (and humor helps). I have spent many years in creative industries, creating something from nothing. My learning model is we have three distinct sources of creativity, our head, heart and gut intelligence centers. One of these centers of intelligence, whether it’s thinking, feeling, or doing, dominates our pattern of creativity. We begin by understanding what our distinct pattern of creativity is from our three intelligence centers. Then we begin to further develop our lesser-used center(s) in our creative process.

How do cartoons help in this process? In the middle ages cartoons were first used to describe a preparatory drawing for a piece of art. Then in the 19th century, cartoons became humorous illustrations in magazines and newspapers, and after the early 20th century, they referred to comic strips and animated films.

This is cartoon history, but for me they give immediate emotional relief– to “lighten up.” My personality can be all too serious. Cartoons often create a needed empathy towards myself and others. The humor results in a guttural laugh that releases built up (and often unconscious) stress in my body. Lastly, the cartoon usually hits my head center’s “inner critic,” causing “it” to shut up… this all allows me to get unstuck and be more creative. So, I’d say for me the general order of a cartoon’s impact is: heart and gut (intersection) then up to my head. But the real beauty of a cartoon’s impact is so fast, so immediate that the order doesn’t really matter much… ultimately it’s a three-center intersection. I think this is why my book is so heavily illustrated, especially with many cartoons. Creating intersections between our intelligence centers is a key to being more creative.stick_dogwalkers (4)

How does this dog walking cartoon hit you— head, heart or gut-wise? Does it create an intersection of center(s) for you?

How about this cartoon, do you ever get pushed/rushed to deliver a creative solution at your job? (Maybe you should show your boss this cartoon).chicken_comic2Thank you for reading my post. I am an organizational and business consultant living in the mountains of Santa Fe, New Mexico with my husband and dogs. My core message of everyone is creative resonates with people of all ages and walks of life. I invite all to become the best version of themselves and find true meaning by pursing long term creative quests.

Read more in my book: The Three Sources of Creativity: Breakthroughs from Your Head, Heart and Gut