Friday, May 31, 2013

Being In the Moment or Not

I know you have been getting a lot of information from me lately, but I haven’t been writing and, honestly, I miss it.

I don’t know about you, but I am finding that my will power level with technology is zilch.  I was in Target yesterday (which I actually enjoy) and between 3 text messages, 5 emails, and 2 phone calls, I didn’t focus very well.

I noticed two things: I didn’t enjoy the moment that I was in...and I did a lousy job of responding to the technological distractions.

Why did I have to even look at my phone, you may ask?  I don’t know.  I wish I knew the answer. Do I feel that the world cannot go on without my immediate assistance?  Am I afraid of missing something, the oh so ridiculous FOMO (fear of missing out)?

I don’t have an answer.  I just know it takes away from the moment and whatever I am doing, it becomes less enjoyable and less productive.

I can’t multi-task, well I can, I just don’t do it well. 

Do you have this problem or is it just me?  All I know is that I like just doing one thing at a time and I am fairly good at it.  This is the basis of mindfulness and why it brings peace to one’s life (I am told).  Anyway, I will be pursuing more mindfulness next time I am in Target.

I would love to hear your suggestions if you have found a way to temper your temptation to check your email or read a text when you are in the middle of doing something else.

I know there are times when you have to answer a text, email, or call.  That is the wonder of cell phones.  But, I am not a brain surgeon.  Life will go without me for an hour or a day or even longer.  

I am sure there is a “creative” solution I have not considered...

By the way, a very insightful reader, Johanna, just sent me this  5 minute video which perfectly describes what I am feeling.

"What The Internet is Doing to Our Brains" video


Monday, May 27, 2013

A Crash Course on Creativity - Weeks 5 and 6

Here are the final two weeks of “A Crash Course on Creativity”, the online course from the Stanford Venture Lab.

Week 5 is based on how to challenge assumptions.  Tina Seelig’s 6 minute video summarizes this concept.  She covers how to make brainstorming a truly productive experience.  

Week 6 is based on how to master a creative mindset.  Tina spends 4 minutes explaining this concept with the emphasis on the importance of failure.  She says, “If you aren’t throwing away a large percentage of your ideas, then you aren’t trying enough options.”  She discusses the two mindsets people have in taking on challenges:  those who have a fear of failure and those who are afraid of missing out.  There also those who struggle with a little of both.  It helps to know which end of the spectrum you tend to fall on.

The attitude is key.  As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.”

As Tina says, “Every problem you face is an opportunity for a creative solution.” 

I have been, and continue to be, drawn to this type of thinking because it feels positive and open to me.  I feel less limited and more hopeful.

I hope you have enjoyed the summary of this course with Tina and if you want more, read her book, “inGenius:  A Crash Course on Creativity”.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

A Crash Course on Creativity - Week 4 - Connect and Combine

Tina Seelig summarizes the idea behind this week’s lesson in this 3 minute video.

Combine and Connect video


Wednesday, May 08, 2013

A Crash Course on Creativity - Week 3 - Reframing Problems

This is my weekly summary of the online course "A Crash Course on Creativity", taught by Tina Seelig, through the Venture Lab at Stanford.

Watch this quick 3 minute video where Tina gives you an overview of reframing problems and the importance of this tool.

In the video, Tina starts by quoting Albert Einstein,  “If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first fifty-five minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”

This is such an important issue.  For example, it's so easy to discuss things with people in terms of black and white which creates two problems.  First, it limits the discussion and creative alternatives don't even come into play.  Second, it increases the chance of miscommunication because you may not understand why the other person wants what they are asking for.  If you understand "why" they are requesting something, it can change the whole discussion and make it much easier to solve the problem.

Tina will also tell you, "we create frames for what we experience, and they both inform and limit the way we think".

If you are interested and want another short video which addresses reframing problems by comparing other cultures to ours and how different everyone does and sees things, here is a quick 2 minute TED talk by Derek Silvers called "Weird, or Just Different".


Thursday, May 02, 2013

Mind Mapping - A Resource for Becoming More Aware

OK, I am hooked on this creativity stuff, so feel free to hit “delete” if you are tired of it.

I have been using a resource for becoming more creative in the last week.  It has been around for years, but it’s new to me and it’s working wonders.

It’s called “Mind Mapping”.  It helps with this week’s lesson in creativity because I am seeing things more clearly than I have before with the help of this visual aid.

Many people use mind maps to organize and prioritize their daily thoughts.  I have been using it to become more aware of issues that tug at me and to help me get unstuck.

Here is a quick 2 minute video from Tina to briefly describe what mind maps are:

Mind Mapping Video

Now, I will tell you how they are changing my life.  I have always thought I was completely a “word” person.  I journal and write, and obviously, blog.  I never realized how visual I really am, probably because I can’t draw.  I get distracted just trying to draw a perfect circle (yes, for me, it has to be perfect...don’t ask).  So, a friend told me about an app called, “Simple Mind”.  This app is for the iPhone, iPad, or Android (also for the desktop, if you want).

This app has really made a difference for me.  For example, I put my problem or my issue in the center (and I have found doing two mind maps in a row really helped because I could see the parallel patterns and what I was doing).

First, I put the the main issue in the center, then each circle attached to that is a sub part of the problem and then you repeat.  Categories can represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items related to a central key word or idea.

Maybe it was just me, but suddenly I saw the patterns that I was repeating over and over.  Now, I should have been able to be more aware of this by just thinking about it or writing about it, but that didn’t happen.  When I saw the mind map, particularly two mind maps of different issues one right after another, I could see how I was getting stuck.  The clarity that came from the visual made me so aware of what I was doing that I have actually been able to stop some of my patterns.  I don’t know how long it will last, but just being aware of the pattern was a real “aha” moment, as Oprah would say.

Give it a try.  It can’t hurt and it might just help.  Best of all, it was really fun. If you are artistic, paper and pen is sufficient.  But, if you are like me, and even drawing stick figures is a challenge, consider the app or something like it that helps you overcome the hurdle of “ugly” shapes.

For just a general overview of mind maps, go to the Wikipedia link or this link on LiteMind