“COUUURAGE, YARRRRHH” Ah, I feel better now.

1 04 2011

Creativity is another word for courage.
I can understand that, because a creative person who attempts untried things on a regular basis, wouldn’t do it if he didn’t have some courage. Particularly if he’s sensitive to things around him and in him, like many creative people are.
What is considered courageous? The willingness to fight for an idea despite your fears. Doing something you haven’t done before. Doing something no one has done before. Proceeding despite getting hurt or being hurt in the past. Risking the resources that an untried project requires. Facing the prospect people won’t encourage or understand what you’re trying to do. Or just believing that you may not have what it takes to make it a reality.
The important thing to remember is, most of these things are imagined fears. Often the opposite things happen; You idea will be accepted somewhere, You will learn a lot in the process. Your investment in time, money & resources have a better chance of paying off, than if you just did the safe thing. If you share your enthusiasm about your vision with others, some will want to help you.
No one knows their own future but those who have the courage to create the future they want, will most likely enjoy just that.

(For confidence & courage series)
Steve writes & coaches about Creative & Career Development
You can find Steve at: www.ineedtocreate.com

A left handed view of creativity

23 02 2011

If you have read anything about creativity, someone probably has said, that the right side of the brain is the creative side.
And that the right side of the brain is connected to the left side of the body. So you could assume that people who are left handed are probably more creative.
And since I am a left handed and creative, I thought it was about time that I looked into this trend myself.
What you may not know is; Only about 10% of us humans are left handed.
And it been like that for a very long time.
Someone discovered that 10% of cave paintings were done by left handers.
You would have seen pictures of cave painting where an ancient artist puts his hand up onto the cave wall and spate coloured ochers onto his hand to make a negative image of it onto the wall.
It turns out that only around 10% of these were images are of the left hand.
And the number of left handers are still about the same today.

But the question I have is: How many notable creative people from recorded history were left handed?
And: Did that make a difference to their life in a positive or negative way?

Firstly I would like to say sorry to the the other 90% of you out there. But I’m sure you will all be surprised at what I discovered in my research for this podcast.
To be honest, I’m not completely left handed. I do write and draw left handed, but of course I had to learn to use scissors with my right hand.
I use a tennis racket left handed but I use a cricket bat or Baseball bat right handed. But I do throw a ball with my left.
I don’t know how normal that is for a left hander, but that’s just the way I started doing things.

It turns out that left handers didn’t always get a fair deal in the past. Even languages didn’t have kind descriptions for the left hand.
For a long time these wasn’t even a word for left in some languages.
In Latin the word for left is sinistre, from which the word ‘sinister’ is derived.
In Greek, skaios means left handed and awkward.
In Hindi it is simply the wrong hand. In French it meant clumsy.
In other languages left hand implied; not correct, weak, worthless or paralysis.

I would like to think we are born in more enlightened times. Though I have a distant memory of a teacher trying to get me to write with my right hand. Fortunately it was obvious that I could never make the adjustment.
When I was I young child I can remember adults talking about my left handedness. It was suggested that I was held by my mother on the wrong shoulder as a baby.
Many times at school other kids used to call me, “Kacky handed”. Meaning I used the strange hand.

I used to write and draw normally but I used to watch some of the other left handers at school. Writing with their left elbow in the air. Even I thought that was strange.
I’m just so thankful I didn’t go to school when kids used to learn to write with a quill pen and a small bottle of black ink. Try doing that left handed and get away with it.
Now, having survived school, is there any factors that determine if a left hander can make his way in the world as a creative person successfully?
From neurological research done in the 20th century, the right side of the brain is mainly responsible for managing the visual & spatial aspects of sensory perception. There are particular professions that need those same qualities.
Like: Visual arts, Architecture, Music, Industrial design and even mathematics.
There a high number of left handed architects in the world for example.

Left handers also have a higher percentage of personality traits:
They tend to be more of a risk taker. They tend to be different, they like change
They don’t accept the rule of society that don’t make sense. They prefer to express their own ideals.
They tend to then focus on more solitary pursuits, where they can roam free to explore new ideas.
They can have a higher tolerance for solitude; either they can’t fit in or they enjoy personal challenges.
They learn to try harder than most right handers.
They can be more intuitive; they can read situations, solutions to problems and even people.
They sometimes develop an empathetic knowledge of others. They make good actors.
They have a definite visual-spacial ability; this ability has artistic, scientific, and even military applications.
They can have heightened ability in Lateral thinking; The ability to make new connections. They are more holistic.
They are adaptive and transformational.
They enjoy self-learning. They teach themselves what interests them or prefer to learn by doing. A formal educational structure can be more difficult for lefties.
They have an experimental tendency; Which is a combination of the other traits.
They tend to be forward thinkers; they like to make the previously impossible a reality.

So who are some of those lefties that have left there mark on history? Even changed it’s course forever.
Leonardo Da Vinci, 1452 – 1519
Michelangelo, 1475 – 1564
Raphael, 1483 – 1520
Isaac Newton, 1643 – 1727
Beethoven, 1770 – 1827
Lewis Carroll, 1832 – 1898
Mark Twain, 1835 – 1910
Marie Curie, 1867 – 1934
Charlie Chaplin, 1889 – 1977
Alan Turning, 1912 – 1954
Jimi Hendrix, 1942 – 1970
Paul McCartney, 1942 –
Other famous lefties are: Matt Groening (creator of the Simpsons Cartoon)
A lot of current actors are lefties as well: Drew Carey, Tom Cruise, Matt Dillon, Robert DeNiro, Whoopie Golgberg,
Angelina Jolie, Nicole Kidman, Keanu Reeves, Julia Roberts, Jerry Seinfeld, Christian Slater, Emma Thompson & Bruce Willis to name a few.

An unusually high percentage of US political leaders are lefties:
Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, (John McCain as well)
As well as: James Garfield, Hoover and Truman.
10% of people are left handed, but 16% of US presidents were lefties.

Of course for every famous lefty there are as much as 9 famous right handers. But for a predominantly creative person, some careers are better suited to left handers. Particularly if it is a new field in which a person hasn’t had the opportunity to invest much in the old ways of doing things.
Meaning; if you are young, have left handed tendencies, and possess a creative personality, you have a very good chance that you will find a way to move into a fulfilling career.

The famous lefties mentioned in this blog are credited to the book: A left handed history of the world, by Ed Wright.
Published in 2007 by Murdoch books.

Steve Supple can be found at http://www.ineedtocreate.com

Credit Crunch & the Creative response

11 04 2010

With all the media reports on the global financial meltdown over the past year, it’s only natural that people start to wonder how is it going to affect them directly.
And what sort of response to the crisis will help protect them from this economic storm.
It certainly can be a worry to hear just some of the statistics coming from governments, economists, industry leaders and the media about what has begun to happen to so many people…
Particularly those in the financial, property, airline and automative industries.

We heard things like:
About two million households in America can’t pay their mortgage.
The value of homes has dropped by 80%.
Many thousands of auto and components workers are losing their jobs.
Airlines, world wide have reduced the number of airline seats by 60 million. 20 million in the US alone.

Of course there are hundreds of other statistics out there but the big question for me is:
What can we do to get through this?

Like most creative people I tend to be more optimistic, despite all those media reports of dome and gloom.
That’s not to say that I don’t believe that things may well get worse before they get better. I do believe that but I also believe that I can personally find ways of avoiding or solving many of the potential problems that may come my way.

I have found from past experience, that a creative response to any challenge does make a positive difference to my circumstances at the time.

My creative response has generally to be as informed as possible. To find out what information is out there. And what I need to learn so I can be prepared for what ever happens.
So my first response is to….

1/ Get the facts:
There is a lot of information about the global financial melt down out there.
It’s always good to consider what people are actually saying. Listen to the whole message first, before talking about it to others.
Take the housing market in the US for example. Reports have said that house prices have dropped by 80%. But some reports also say that it’s mostly in three states. It’s easy to think that numbers like these apply to everyone, everywhere.

2/ Learn from many sources:
If you are getting all your information from the local TV news or local newspaper, you’re probably not getting the big picture.
It’s always good to be informed. Listen to both side of an issue. Find out what trends are emerging.

3/ Make your own connections:
Make your own logical conclusions about where you think something is going. What I’m saying is; Think for yourself. What is the most likely result from the various conditions you have observed.
You won’t be able to predict the future but you will be surprised how often you will be able to suspect a side effect to the global crisis, before you read about it in any newspaper.
This is an aspect of a creative personality: To make your own connections between previously unrelated things. And also see possible solutions collected from previously unrelated facts. Thats were good ideas come from.
To give you an example: There is the fact that a lot of factory and building workers are loosing there jobs. But there is also the problem of global warming, the ageing population, water shortages and oil dependancy.
The most urgent need now is; these people need jobs. So governments have actually been looking at creative ways of creating jobs while finding solutions to some of these other problems.
One of the many traditional options governments have done, was to start labour intensive public works, like roads, bridges and dams. But now they are considering projects that not only create jobs but also fix these other problems.
Like green energy projects and building modern hospitals. Some of the most creative solutions fix more that one problem area.

4/ Planning and preparation:
If you can’t be prepared, then be creative. If you can’t be creative, then be prepared.
I personally believe that you need both. It’s a lot easier to be creative if you are already prepared. And it’s a lot easier to be prepared if you are already creative. One definitely compensated for the lack of the other.
Historically, if you are rich and smart, you prepare for the tough times.
And if you are poor and smart you need to create a way to improve you lot during the tough times.
But let me assume that you are not in the position to prepare for the tough times.
You may have no job. You may have no marketable skills. Maybe you have no savings. Or have no place of your own. You probably don’t have anything of any real value. You are broke and in debt. You have no college or university qualifications. No financial help from relatives. Because of your circumstances, it seems that you can’t do a thing.
But there is one thing you can do. It doesn’t cost anything. It will give you a sense of achievement. It will give you optimism and hope for you future. And it will give you earning potential. What is it?
It’s an education.
In tough times, the smart ones read. They educate themselves. They go to college or they just go to the library.
Tough times actually provide an opportunity for study. There is a subject that might already fascinate you. Everyone at some point has wondered what it would be like to have a particular type of work.
To learn a subject or skill.
Even if you only go to the library and read two or three books on one subject, you will be a lot more informed on that subject than 95% of the population. Because most people don’t bother to read about a subject of interest to them.

To learn anything is the beginning of progress. And to learn a subject of interest can ultimately improve your employment prospects greatly. Particularly if that knowledge is applied creatively.
You could say that the best form of preparation isn’t necessarily money in the bank, but knowledge. And the best way to apply that knowledge is create new ways of use that knowledge. To use that knowledge as a service or as products.
If you educate yourself in a field of knowledge, you will become a credible source for it. You will be the go-to person.
Particularly if you make those connections and add to that field of knowledge. You bring a new understanding.
And ultimately, find creative ways to apply and communicate that new knowledge.

There have been times in my life where I couldn’t do anything that required spending money first. I didn’t always have a sufficient income to finance my dreams. A modest income can’t finance grand plans. I have lived through past recessions. So I would say to myself, “What can I do. I can’t just sit here and do nothing”.
So I said to myself, “If I’m going to learn all I can about things I want to understand, and things I would like to make someday”.
So thats what I did. I started to read. I researched things. I collected 100’s of pages of notes. I drew lots of pictures and designs. I sorted them out and put them into folders.
Now I have a resource of knowledge that I can create from for years to come.
Am I prepared for this recession?
Well, what I do know is, I am a lot more prepared for this one than I was for the last recession.
Because I am creating now. And creating an online presence.
I’m still learning. I’m still educating myself. But this time, I’m learning through doing as well.
Just by typing the script for this podcast, I made new connections, so I learnt new things.

I began to educate myself so I could become more creative. But something happened that I didn’t expect.
The more I started to share what I have been learning, the more I discovered.
And the more I valued the information, the more a believed that I have something of value to offer.
I still have a desire to create other things, but I also want to communicate with others out there, who like me, share a common desire to be more creative. Whether it be for just surviving the tough times, or from a deep need to create.

So as the reporters and politicians continue to say that the economy is in a serious condition. It is time for you to take your interests seriously. Value your ideas enough to put them down on paper. Because, when you put an idea on paper, it becomes a possible plan. A creative idea becomes a plan, a plan becomes a great preparation for the future.

50 Advantages of creativity

17 03 2010

50 Advantages of creativity:

Firstly, I would like to give my definition of creativity:
Everyone has their own definition but this is the one that has been most practical to me over the years.

Creativity is firstly the process of forming new connections, associations or relationships between ideas, objects and people. So you can make original, relevant and interesting results for yourself and others.
Secondly, creativity is about re-purposing: To take something originally intended for one purpose and find a new use for it. You can re-purpose objects, content, old ideas, situations and even yourself.
So you could say that connections are about multiple ingredients and re-purposing is about singular things used in a different context.
( New Connections OR New Context = creativity).

Now for the advantages….

01• You become more flexible
02• More prepared for an unpredictable job descriptions in the future
03• You become more able to compete
04• You become more efficient by finding solutions faster
05• You see solutions that others don’t
06• You become more receptive to the opinions of others
07• You enjoy learning new things
08• You become more optimistic, hopeful & positive
09• Unforeseen situations scare you less, or not at all
10• Accept failure to be just part of the learning process
11• You curiosity is regularly engaged
12• You observe things others don’t
13• Your work becomes more satisfying & meaningful
14• You earning potential isn’t capped
15• You can re-purpose or re-invent yourself when desired
16• You take on more self-directed learning & projects
17• You have a greater chance of becoming a leader in your field
18• You can possibly create a new field of knowledge or medium
19• You become more collaborative (less threatened by the talent of others)
20• You can reach a bigger audience, user base or customers
21• Your ideas give you more options & choices
22• You become more focused / less distracted
23• You create employment for yourself & others
24• Dreams become possible
25• More intellectually stimulated
26• Gives opportunity to express your feelings in new ways
27• A greater sense of purpose
28• Having the satisfaction of learning a skill
29• Being passionate about what you do
30• A belief that your best work is ahead of you
31• Have opportunities to express your perspective in interesting ways
32• Having a more defined personal or professional identity
33• Finding outlets for your imagination
34• Having a greater ability to adapt to change (or to be the agent of change)
35• Better able to visualise things unseen or not made
36• The ability of turning an undesirable situation into a beneficial one
37• Having the ability of making things work
38• Seeing the value in unintended results & unexpected observations
39• Being able to see many options that best serve multiple needs or goals
40• Form richer relationships with peers and public
41• Being a person that defines or redefines a cultural identity
42• You have more original ideas (Less accepting of common myths)
43• Having something to show for all your hard work
44• Bringing characters, stories & journeys to life
45• Having the ability to visually communicate concepts
46• Bringing innovation to products, services & processes
47• Finding metaphors to help communicate new ideas & concepts
48• Designing for added value to projects & companies
49• Is to develop your personality
50• is to transplant all your emotions, enthusiasm & message into your audience