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Tag: creativity

Courage and mindfulness

Fragilite by alibaba0 via FlickrToday, Paolo Coelho, as ever, said something both wise and challenging.

“Creativity is a courageous act.  Avoid opinions.”

It was certainly challenging to me.  I use this blog as a filing cabinet to keep my notes as I think out the connections between the things I am reading, thinking and doing.

It is a rag bag, yet it has worked out well. A few loyal readers make it sociable too.

But I’ve begun to tire of having opinions partly because I live and work in worlds where opinions are ten a penny (and that is saying something as it is very difficult to buy any thing in UK for less than very many pennies).  Like a toddler grabbing at an animal, we voice our opinions for the pleasure of feeling powerful and with reckless disregard of any damage we might do to anyone else or ourselves.

Courage comes from anticipating consequences.  Courage comes from understanding that to do right we might also do wrong, at least in some parts of our lives and the lives of others.  Courage comes from seeing through whatever we start and working through what we start to its natural end.  And sometimes courage leads us not to start at all, not out of cowardice, but because it is clear our act is just a worthless opinion and as self-indulgent as  a a small child handling an animal roughly.

It’s perhaps a feature of ‘mindfulness’ to be aware of the impact we have on the world and to act connectedly, and sometimes not to act because we realize our act is disconnected and minimally noise and potentially destructive.

Mindfulness and courage.  Do they go together?

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Events Managers teaching us the central concept of management

I had an interesting exchange today with Events Impresario, Julius Solaris.  Well, I had two, but I will tell you about this one.

Julius tweetedd about the lack of creativity in events.

  • I asked whether lack of creativity mattered and whether we would rather have events where creativity happened.
  • Quick off the mark, Julius tweeted: “@jobucks but providing a creative environment is key to foster creativity IN the event”

Yes!  Which the boundary conditions does the Event Manager create, so that you and I can be creative when we meet at the party?

These days, people do Masters degrees in Event Management.  So, somebody must know.

How do students learn this double-layered approach to management?

Which conditions do we manage to raise the likelihood of creative activity by the guests?

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What a lazy psychologist knows about Sundays and holidays

BROCKWORTH, ENGLAND - MAY 25:  Contestants in ...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

There is a reason why most religions tell us to take a day off a week. And have the occasional holiday.

It seems to be this.

We humans are creatures of action.   Or, activity, rather.  There is nothing that we like more than scurrying around – looking for our cheese like a mouse in a maze.

But we get so focused that we stop noticing the maze.  And we don’t notice signs warning us the cheese is about to finish – or be moved by some scurrilous self-serving mouse-licious mouse who has always hated us – well you know what I mean.  We get maze-vision.

So we need to take time out regularly to keep our perspective, to keep sight of alternatives, to remember what we truly value.

Did you take Sunday off?

And if Sunday, is not your day off, have you taken a full day off during the last week – not to shop but to relax, to let your mind wander, to remember the good things in life, to celebrate, to find renewed purpose?

To keep your eyes on the horizon, to feel the earth beneath your feet, to touch and feel what is around you, to smile at your companions.

If you didn’t, reform your busy ways.  Become a lot more idle.

You’ll get a lot more done and be nicer to be with too!

And for the lazy psychologists popping-in here, can we get theoretical for a moment?

I have three unresolved ‘issues’ with the theory of action.

I begin by asking: what is the ontology of humankind? Cognito ergo sum. I think therefore I am?  Or I am busy, therefore I am?  Your thoughts?

And why is action so inimical to good judgment?   I have a sneaky feeling that the tension between the tunnel vision of action and the lateral thinking of creativity and wisdom is a tension we have created somehow.  But I don’t know the answer to that.

So for now, I resolve that dilemma by zig-zagging along.

I find clients whose life is in disarray won’t take holidays.  They work 24/7.  I include young people in that group.  We think of them as fooling around a lot.  Actually they are working hard at being young.  Taking a break is hard for them.  It seems they are anxious about their goals.

I haven’t resolved this dilemma either.

If you have answers to any of my predicaments, I would love to hear from you.

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5 rules of motivation for the lazy psychologist

Cheese on a market in Basel, Switzerland
Image via Wikipedia

I’m not moving until I can see the cheese

And Google is not coming without lots of keywords. This post is about MOTIVATION and all the misunderstandings and controversies that seem to swirl about us endlessly.

1  Motivation is distance to your goal

The mouse runs faster when it sees the cheese!

Motivation is not constant.  We aren’t motivated by cheese.  We are motivated by distance to the cheese.

Motivation gets stronger when we can see what we want and our goal comes tantalizing closer as we move toward it.

2  Motivation blinds us

When the mouse sees the cheese, it moves towards it . . . and the mouse trap.

That’s why business people and politicians like greedy people! So easy to dazzle.  So easy to trap.

3  Motivation is never so strong that we ignore a better cheese

So we put the cheese where the mouse can see it, and the mouse takes off . . .  Will it keep going, no matter what?

Yes, . . . unless we put a better cheese next to a dull cheese, or a duller cheese a little closer.  Our mouse is as fickle as the English weather.   It doesn’t matter whose day it spoils, the mouse will go where it is easier or better.

We make rapid calculations about what we will gain and change direction in a flash!

4  Motivation makes us stupid

Yet, when someone moves the cheese, we are temporarily confused. The trouble is that seeing the cheese focused our attention. And we forgot everything else. We forgot that other cheese exists. We forgot there are other routes to the cheese.

Take away the cheese suddenly, and we get cross and disoriented. Though there are plenty of alternatives, for a moment we can’t see them or remember them.

5  Motivation needs to be simple

And if we put two equally attractive cheeses in opposite directions, one to the left and one to the right, we get a confused mouse.

Come on cats, now is your chance.

Worse, if two or more mice are discussing which way to go, we may be there all week.

We need to toss two coins – the first to see if we go together or in different directions, and the second to see which way we go.  Most times we just argue. We don’t think of laying out the problem so tidily.  Two cheeses – we can have one or the other.  Shall we go together or not?  If not, who goes first and in which direction? If we are going together, in which direction?

Action is hard . . .

We can’t move, we won’t get moving, until our choices are simple and the end is in sight. We are easily distracted by alternatives and paralyzed by thought.

.  .  . and action it is also dangerous

We are easily entrapped by our greed – or to be kind to ourselves – easily engaged by the plain fun of scampering towards our cheese and wolfing it down.

Someone has to manage the cheese

We do have to work hard to keep the cheese-system simple and to fend off distractions.  While we are busy managing the cheese, we make ourselves vulnerable because we are just as blinkered in that goal as the cheese-chasers are by the cheese-chase.

So we need people to manage the people who manage the cheese

This is beginning to sound like a nursery-rhyme.

We do need lookouts to watch out for when we are getting blinkered.

We also need our lookouts to challenge us and to ask why we need to chase this cheese at all?  Well, the answer is as always, for the fun of it. We’ll chase something, just for the fun of it.  So, the question is which cheese will we chase?  And who will be sufficiently above the action to referee the debate and not get blinded by the thrill of the chase?

We do need some people to manage the people who manage the people who chase the cheese.  That will be their job, their only job.  Because if they get involved in the action, they will be blinkered too.  We will give them their share of the cheese if they ask us, over and over again, whether we should be chasing the cheese at all.

We must have these people.  Or the cats will have us

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