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Obviously, I have nothing against people getting opportunities.  However, let me caution you about a type of opportunity that you might want to pass up. There is a type of opportunity that we have to carefully consider and approach.  It is an opportunity that is way beyond our current skill level and very unlike anything we have done before.  We all can stretch some to press beyond our limits but none of us can jump the Grand Canyon. How It Unfolds A great opportunity comes up. This comes because we have made an idea pitch or because someone knows we…

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Your eyes won’t explode but the effect is worse.  Limitless, a 2011 semi-mystery movie, will explode your: will, focus, expectations, and set back your maturity. Limitless is a perfect expression of our base fantasy: Without work we can achieve great things; without work, our trapped genius can be realized and released; without work, we can know and do everything and anything. Plus, the world knows how great we are. Is there a word like porn for ideas that keep us dumb, lost, or chasing our tails? Please send so I can add it to this post to more accurately describe…

Within procrastination research there is an awareness that we overestimate our future.  We assume we will and can do something later because our future will have perfect or at least fine conditions for our creative work. But how can we be so sure? -our health can change to the negative -our home conditions can change to the negative -our time availability can be less -our life may end -our fortunes may change to the negative -our minds may change to the negative We might not have the great tomorrow to do our work. That’s a chilling thought but…

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Discipline, in the sense of having set boundaries in time, behavior, or quality is fine. It is the Yang of the tao of creative productivity. We need this to give us something to push against and to aim for. It gives a particular shape to something where indecision, lack of clarity, and sometimes chaos live. Yin is the softer force. Softer force…hmm…that seems contradictory. It is but it makes sense and it is a reality. Dedication is the attraction (as I define it, at least) that keeps us coming back. It is the glue that binds us to some finite…

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Jerry Seinfeld gets credit for a simple tool. The story goes something like this: Jerry had reached a level of fame and a new comic went up to Jerry and asked him for any secrets Seinfeld knew for getting better as a comic. “Don’t break the chain,” he answered.  The chain he was speaking of is a string of days in which he set aside time to write and practice material. A link of the chain was a check mark he placed on the days he worked on a calendar.  His goal was to work in long blocks of unbroken…

Robert Dilts, expert in hypnosis and its recent variants, has made a study of the working mindsets of all sorts of people, of the very past and the recent past. He found that Walt Disney had a distinctive way of keeping hard boundaries between stages of creativity and creative production. The boundaries protected one stage from being contaminated by others too soon in the creative process. This allowed Disney, and therefore his staff, to give each phase its due, taking a project in all directions and depths without worry about how that stage would fit with the others. However, when…

To do any sustained work, a pace has to be selected. A pace can be very light, say: “I will work on my project on Saturday afternoons from 1 until 5.” Or it can be quite dense: “I will work every day from 10 am till 1:30 pm.” The latter pace is something for pros and semi-pros to keep up with. The rest of us shoot for a middle pace: “I will work two days during the work week and four hours on Saturday or Sunday.” Pace is like a wedge. The wedge/pace will, by necessity, move things out of…

Centuries of introspection has shown that we, for all practical purposes, are made of many “parts.” You know, part of me wants to go to the family event and part of me wants to do anything but that. Part of me sits on my right shoulder and tells me how to be good and part of me sits on my left shoulder and tells me how to be bad. Part of me wants to knock my assignments right after I get them and part of me wants to wait to the last minute of Sunday evening. And so on. Most…

Building a Regret “My mind has changed during the last twenty or thirty years… Now for many years I cannot endure to read a line of poetry… I have also almost lost any taste for pictures or music… My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts…” Speaking a Regret “If I had to live my life again I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week… The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may…

Setting aside the likelihood that this novelty insults some Buddhists (and makes other Buddhists laugh), let’s use it as analogy. First, we need to understand how this novelty works. The “buddha” starts off about 1.2 inches tall when taken right from the package. “Made of a sponge-like non-toxic material”, the small buddha expands 600 times when submerged in water for 72 hours.  So you know have a 7 inch “buddha” in a jar of water. What Do We Need to Grow 600%? There are many things we would love to grow 600% in just a few days: our talent, skills,…

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The word Grit may someday replace the words persistence and perserverance.  Grit has a nice sound to it. It is short and sharp, and has a no-nonsense quality about it. It reminds one of something solid and something down to earth, like a farmer or a coal miner. Of course, we all know the movie True Grit. Most associate the Grit part with John Wayne or Jeff Bridges and that makes some sense, but the main catalyst of all action is 14 year old, Mattie Ross. She is willing to go through danger, humilation, dismissal, expense, discomfort, and threat to find…

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Sure, we have New Year’s resolutions but what about mid-year declarations? Try making these and others of your own devising, your declaration of independence: I declare that I will begin again, this coming week, in small ways to more fully develop my commitment to myself to bring my creativity into the world. I will start small because I enjoy discovering how my creative work can expand, piece-by-piece, in my life. I declare that I have something to offer to the world, may that be an idea, a product, a reason to go on, help to my fellow creatives, a smile…

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“Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so?  Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out.” Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (August 29, 1809 – October 7, 1894)

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Thank goodness we have size fear. Imagine visiting the beach for the first time and deciding to swim across the ocean. Imagine looking in a pastry shop window and deciding to eat everything in the display. Thank goodness we have something in us that says “Whoa! Wait. You can’t tangle with that.” Without size fear/respect we would be in big trouble from big things. Megalophobia is the diagnostic term used in psychotherapy for fear of the big. Those who suffer with it often report being overwhelmed with anxiety in the presence of big objects or open spaces. How different is…

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“If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.”- That’s the original from Epictetus (55 AD to 135 AD) Here are some possible updates: “If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid by those parts of yourself who are afraid to go against _______________” “If you want to be creative beyond your day-job, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.” “If you want to explore and experiment in your area of creativity using money you should spend on what others think you should, be content to be thought foolish and…