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HomeNewsArchivesNovember 2007 Brainstorm E-Bulletin

November 2007 Brainstorm E-Bulletin

When you read this, I'll be in one of the most dream-like (some would say nightmare) cities in the world: Las Vegas. It's definitely a town that thinks big; the newest hotels have more than 5000 rooms! As usual on my US trips, I'll be looking out for interesting new ideas to share with you. Meanwhile, here are a few I prepared earlier:
1: Is your cow purple?
Seth Godin wrote a book called "Purple Cow" about making your product or service one that truly stands out. He says, "I'm the first to agree that the ideas in "Purple Cow" are really simple. Scary simple, in fact. Yet simple doesn't mean widespread. Every year, 75,000 books are published, and 90 percent are boring, safe, average books for average people. And they don't sell. McDonald's is big, but it's not profitable. American Airlines sells to the middle of the market, and they're a total failure from a business perspective. There's no money left in the middle anymore."
Action: If you suspect that what you do fits into this average slot, dedicate some time every week to brainstorming how you could make it stand out. What could be bigger, smaller, louder, quieter, more specialized, more general, more colourful, more expensive, cheaper or just plain different? If you draw a blank, make a list of products and services out there that you consider outstanding, decide what makes them so and consider how these qualities might apply to what you do.
——————
Correction: in the last issue, I mentioned some ideas by UK time management coach Mark Forster, but the link unfortunately was to a different Mark Forster. Here is the correct link: www.markforster.net . On his site, you can get details about his books, including a free chapter from "Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management."
——————
2: If you think you're creative…
Creativity guru Michael Michalko recently told radio host Michael Carruthers this story about creativity: "At one company, we randomly selected employees from different departments and then told these employees we selected them because we have discovered they are the most creative employees in the company. Well, within one month the employees that we told they were creative were coming up with and suggesting 90 percent more ideas than the other employees that were told nothing–it was a change in attitude."
This mirrors a famous experiment in which teachers were told a certain group of average students were gifted. By the end of the school year, all the "gifted" kids had dramatically improved their test scores.
Action: Through the magic of VRWT (Virtual Resonic-Wave Testing) of the brainwaves, you are beaming out as you read this e-bulletin, and we have been able to confirm that you are the most creative person in our entire readership, possibly the most creative person in the country. What new thing are you going to do with your amazing talent this week?
3: Do you have big friends, or friends with big ideas?
You probably saw the story in the news recently about research that showed that if you have overweight friends you would most likely also be overweight. There are all kinds of possible reasons for this, including the fact that we tend to be drawn to people who we perceive to be like ourselves. But for the people at www. theinnoviseguys.blogspot.com it kicked off another idea:
"Hanging out with people who have big ideas also rubs off on you. You will tend to havebig ideas more frequently, so find your big ideas tribe if you desire to be more creative and more innovative."
Action: Do you have at least a few people in your circle of friends who get excited about new ideas? If not, where could you find some?
4: What can Israeli scientists tell you about creativity?
A survey of 3300 Israeli scientists conducted by the Project Mind Foundation has yielded some interesting results. When asked to comment on the surroundings most conducive to creativity, a number of respondents described an absence of sensation–a dark room, being tired, being relieved of all stress, etc.–as sparking the greatest inspiration. Some 90 percent of the scientists reported that they had experienced their most potent strokes of creativity when they were in their 20s. More than 60 percent of the respondents expressed a strong belief that they had experienced creativity as a spiritual process.
My guess is that these all link together. The 20s is when many people have the most time with "an absence of sensation"–at least the time when they are at university, with fewer daily obligations, more time to sit around chatting deep into the night or working through the night on papers due the next day, more focus on the bigger questions of life. including the subject of spirituality, etc. It's also a time when they are not yet experts, so they approach their subjects with a beginner's mind.
Action: How can you recreate, if only in miniature form, the conditions of your life when you were most creative? Can you take a weekend off and go somewhere that does not remind you of your daily obligations, so you can let your mind wander? Or even just a couple of hours a week? How long has it been since you read something that stimulated your thinking–and then actually took the time to think about it and form your own ideas?
5: 60-Second Book Review
The book
: Rules for Renegades
The author: Christine Comaford-Lynch
Publisher: McGraw Hill, 2007
The premise: Self-made millionaire and rebel Comaford-Lynch believes that visualization, confidence and improvisation are the keys to entrepreneurial success. Spicing up her advice with lots of stories (e.g., dating Bill Gates), she has an upbeat take on the journey to success.
Key Ideas from the book:
* everything's an illusion, so pick one that's empowering
* kiss the blarney stone and then some butt (flattery will get you everywhere)
* only painful problems open wallets (what do your clients/customers need?)
* rock rejection and finesse failure (learn from what doesn't work)
* learn to love networking
* only you can lead your life (don't get hung up on advice from gurus–or friends and family)
* work your money mojo (do what you love, but don't forget to make money, too)
* resign as general manager of the universe (save your energy for the things you can control and that concern you directly)
The Verdict: A colourful stew of anecdotes, good advice and pep talks.
6: And a quote to consider:
"Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can play weird–that's easy. What's hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple complicated is commonplace–making the complicated simple, awesomely simple–that's creativity." Charles Mingus, jazz great
Until next time,
Jurgen
PS: If you haven't looked at my blog recently, you've missed posts on staying motivated, finding inspiration in unusual places, what you don't need for a creative environment, a link to an audio interview I did on how stress can kill creativity (and what to do about it), and lots more. Why not check it out now, and sign up for e-mail notification of new posts? It's all here: www.timetowrite.blogs.com
PPS: You may also want to have a look at our Web sites, www.TimetoWrite.com, www.yourwritingcoach.com and www.BrainstormNet.com, and my two newest books, "Your Writing Coach," published by Nicholas Brealey Publishing,
and "Do Something Different," published by Virgin Books.

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When you read this, I'll be in one of the most dream-like (some would say nightmare) cities in the world: Las Vegas. It's definitely a town that thinks big; the newest hotels have more than 5000 rooms! As usual on my US trips, I'll be looking out for interesting new ideas to share with you. Meanwhile, here are a few I prepared earlier:
1: Is your cow purple?
Seth Godin wrote a book called "Purple Cow" about making your product or service one that truly stands out. He says, "I'm the first to agree that the ideas in "Purple Cow" are really simple. Scary simple, in fact. Yet simple doesn't mean widespread. Every year, 75,000 books are published, and 90 percent are boring, safe, average books for average people. And they don't sell. McDonald's is big, but it's not profitable. American Airlines sells to the middle of the market, and they're a total failure from a business perspective. There's no money left in the middle anymore."
Action: If you suspect that what you do fits into this average slot, dedicate some time every week to brainstorming how you could make it stand out. What could be bigger, smaller, louder, quieter, more specialized, more general, more colourful, more expensive, cheaper or just plain different? If you draw a blank, make a list of products and services out there that you consider outstanding, decide what makes them so and consider how these qualities might apply to what you do.
------------------
Correction: in the last issue, I mentioned some ideas by UK time management coach Mark Forster, but the link unfortunately was to a different Mark Forster. Here is the correct link: www.markforster.net . On his site, you can get details about his books, including a free chapter from "Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management."
------------------
2: If you think you're creative…
Creativity guru Michael Michalko recently told radio host Michael Carruthers this story about creativity: "At one company, we randomly selected employees from different departments and then told these employees we selected them because we have discovered they are the most creative employees in the company. Well, within one month the employees that we told they were creative were coming up with and suggesting 90 percent more ideas than the other employees that were told nothing--it was a change in attitude."
This mirrors a famous experiment in which teachers were told a certain group of average students were gifted. By the end of the school year, all the "gifted" kids had dramatically improved their test scores.
Action: Through the magic of VRWT (Virtual Resonic-Wave Testing) of the brainwaves, you are beaming out as you read this e-bulletin, and we have been able to confirm that you are the most creative person in our entire readership, possibly the most creative person in the country. What new thing are you going to do with your amazing talent this week?
3: Do you have big friends, or friends with big ideas?
You probably saw the story in the news recently about research that showed that if you have overweight friends you would most likely also be overweight. There are all kinds of possible reasons for this, including the fact that we tend to be drawn to people who we perceive to be like ourselves. But for the people at www. theinnoviseguys.blogspot.com it kicked off another idea:
"Hanging out with people who have big ideas also rubs off on you. You will tend to havebig ideas more frequently, so find your big ideas tribe if you desire to be more creative and more innovative."
Action: Do you have at least a few people in your circle of friends who get excited about new ideas? If not, where could you find some?
4: What can Israeli scientists tell you about creativity?
A survey of 3300 Israeli scientists conducted by the Project Mind Foundation has yielded some interesting results. When asked to comment on the surroundings most conducive to creativity, a number of respondents described an absence of sensation--a dark room, being tired, being relieved of all stress, etc.--as sparking the greatest inspiration. Some 90 percent of the scientists reported that they had experienced their most potent strokes of creativity when they were in their 20s. More than 60 percent of the respondents expressed a strong belief that they had experienced creativity as a spiritual process.
My guess is that these all link together. The 20s is when many people have the most time with "an absence of sensation"--at least the time when they are at university, with fewer daily obligations, more time to sit around chatting deep into the night or working through the night on papers due the next day, more focus on the bigger questions of life. including the subject of spirituality, etc. It's also a time when they are not yet experts, so they approach their subjects with a beginner's mind.
Action: How can you recreate, if only in miniature form, the conditions of your life when you were most creative? Can you take a weekend off and go somewhere that does not remind you of your daily obligations, so you can let your mind wander? Or even just a couple of hours a week? How long has it been since you read something that stimulated your thinking--and then actually took the time to think about it and form your own ideas?
5: 60-Second Book Review
The book
: Rules for Renegades
The author: Christine Comaford-Lynch
Publisher: McGraw Hill, 2007
The premise: Self-made millionaire and rebel Comaford-Lynch believes that visualization, confidence and improvisation are the keys to entrepreneurial success. Spicing up her advice with lots of stories (e.g., dating Bill Gates), she has an upbeat take on the journey to success.
Key Ideas from the book:
* everything's an illusion, so pick one that's empowering
* kiss the blarney stone and then some butt (flattery will get you everywhere)
* only painful problems open wallets (what do your clients/customers need?)
* rock rejection and finesse failure (learn from what doesn't work)
* learn to love networking
* only you can lead your life (don't get hung up on advice from gurus--or friends and family)
* work your money mojo (do what you love, but don't forget to make money, too)
* resign as general manager of the universe (save your energy for the things you can control and that concern you directly)
The Verdict: A colourful stew of anecdotes, good advice and pep talks.
6: And a quote to consider:
"Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can play weird--that's easy. What's hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple complicated is commonplace--making the complicated simple, awesomely simple--that's creativity." Charles Mingus, jazz great
Until next time,
Jurgen
PS: If you haven't looked at my blog recently, you've missed posts on staying motivated, finding inspiration in unusual places, what you don't need for a creative environment, a link to an audio interview I did on how stress can kill creativity (and what to do about it), and lots more. Why not check it out now, and sign up for e-mail notification of new posts? It's all here: www.timetowrite.blogs.com
PPS: You may also want to have a look at our Web sites, www.TimetoWrite.com, www.yourwritingcoach.com and www.BrainstormNet.com, and my two newest books, "Your Writing Coach," published by Nicholas Brealey Publishing, and "Do Something Different," published by Virgin Books.