Assumption Wars

What if Darth Vader had said in a raspy voice, “LUKE!  I AM YOUR MOTHER.”

Ok, let me back up!  This piece of writing started very simply with a text message I sent to Ina Lukas, The Chief Happiness Officer at Heroic Yes! Productions, that asked something like, “Wouldn’t it have been different if Darth Vader had said, “Luke, I am your mother?”

We got a good laugh.  Then Ina suggested that my random question might be good blog material so I wrote the idea down a month ago.  Then I started writing more today…

Now I’m thinking, “What the heck do I say next?”

Have you ever had an idea that you thought was really promising, only to create part of it and then

STOP

because you felt stuck?

After that, you were probably just staring at white space on a piece of paper that looks a lot like this:

(                                                             ) = White Space

At this point, part of you might have made the ASSUMPTION that your idea wasn’t any good because you felt blank at the moment and were staring into white space.

All the while another part of you might continue to make the ASSUMPTION that your idea is a wonderful idea.

Suddenly you have an ASSUMPTION WAR waging furiously in your head between Darth “My Idea Is No Good” Vader and Luke “I Have A Wonderful Idea” Skywalker.

WATCH OUT!  Each one of them has their ASSUMPTION SABER and they’re battling it out.

Who wins?

ASSUMPTION WARS lead me to contemplate, WHAT IF Thomas Edison had had an ASSUMPTION WAR with himself about inventing the light bulb and WHAT IF….

Darth “My Idea Is No Good” Vader and Luke “I Have A Wonderful Idea” Skywalker had fought it out with CANDLE SABERS and WHAT IF Darth had WON?

Would I be writing this with a quill pen?

Would you be reading this on parchment while you washed you laundry in the river?

I’m so glad young Skywalker won the ASSUMPTION WAR going on in Thomas Edison’s head.  Aren’t you?

Your ideas are so powerful!  They could light the world hundreds of years from now.

MAY YOUR CREATIVE FORCE BE WITH YOU!

Game of the Day

What’s an idea that you are currently having an ASSUMPTION WAR about?

How can you help Luke “I Have A Wonderful Idea” Skywalker win this ASSUMPTION WAR?

How can you strengthen your CREATIVE FORCE?

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Taming Our Tendency To Get Side-Tracked

Even when we embark on a project we are passionate about we can sometimes become diverted.  After all, we live in a world full of endless potential opportunities and endless potential distractions.

During their keynote presentation at the All American Laughter Yoga Conference in 2011, Jill and Dan Johnson alluded to this phenomenon by first exclaiming “squirrel!”  What they meant is that sometimes when we are concentrating we can get distracted by something as simple as a squirrel that we spy outside our window.

The effects of being distracted by one thing can be compounded when it leads to more distractions.  For example, say Carol is happily working on a painting.  She is elated because she feels that this is her best piece yet.  Suddenly (wouldn’t you know it), she sees a squirrel running outside her window.  Watching the squirrel gets her thinking about how she used to romp around with her grade school friend Shelly trying to find where the squirrels kept their acorns.  On impulse, she finds Shelly on Facebook.   They message back and forth for the next three hours.  They have much to catch-up on because they lost track of each other twenty years ago.  Inspired, Carol is now booking a ticket to fly across country for a joy-filled reunion with Shelly….

Six months later Carol notices the painting that she was initially so excited about.  It’s one quarter done and gathering dust.  By this time, the passion she had for this project has evaporated.  She has forgotten the amazing creative ideas she had for finishing the piece.  Carol sighs.  She is on to five other projects now and wouldn’t have time to work on the painting even if she wanted to.  She says somewhat melodramatically, “Another Mona Lisa down the drain!”

I like to think of a “SQUIRREL” as anything that distracts us during the time we have set aside to work on our projects.  The confusing thing about many “SQUIRRELS” is that they are so friendly. After all, a “SQUIRREL” led Carol to joyfully reunite with her friend.

Darn squirrels!  “SQUIRRELS” can indeed be very disruptive even to projects we are passionate about.  So what is there to do about ““SQUIRRELS”?

What if we could concentrate on the projects we love AND also make use of the inspiration that “SQUIRRELS” provide us?  We can!  I like to think of this process as Taming Your “SQUIRRELS.”

Here are three ideas for Taming Your “SQUIRRELS”:

1. When you are working on a project and feel your attention distracted by something that has nothing to do with the project, label your distraction by exclaiming, “SQUIRREL”!  Once a “SQUIRREL”  is noticed it is much more manageable.   You can then recognize and be fully aware that you are drifting off topic, instead of just distractedly drifting off topic.

2. Save your “SQUIRRELS.”  (If they are worth saving.)

Even though following a “SQUIRREL” during the time you have set aside for your project can be distracting and disruptive to your project, at another time your “SQUIRREL” could be a grand opportunity.

If you have a hunch that the “SQUIRREL” that is suddenly distracting you from your project could be a great opportunity, quickly write down your “SQUIRREL” idea.  Then you can even schedule a time to consider acting on your “SQUIRREL” idea and put it in your calendar.

For example, Carol could have written a note that she had an idea to look Shelly up on Facebook and get back in touch.  Then she could have put a note on her calendar to remind her to give this idea full consideration at 3:30 next Saturday.

(Scheduling a time to think about your “SQUIRREL” idea might seem like a little much, but I find it highly useful in practice because you have a time set when you will give your  “SQUIRREL” full attention so that your “SQUIRREL” isn’t distracting you before this time.  In addition, scheduling a time helps you keep track of your “SQUIRREL ” idea so you don’t lose it.

3. A statement of the purpose of your project can help you to refocus when “SQUIRRELS” distract you.   This statement of purpose is important because it’s your “SQUIRREL” Taming Statement

For example, Carol could have created her project purpose to be, “I’m excited to complete this painting because it will be the best I have ever created and bring joy to others.”  She could have written this out and posted it by the painting she was working on.  When distracted by “SQUIRRELS,” she could have refocused by reading this “SQUIRREL” Taming Statement.

Happy “Squirrel” Taming!

Game of a Day

Notice the next time a “SQUIRREL” distracts you from a project you are working on.  Figure out a way to tame your “SQUIRREL” and refocus on your project.

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com.

Super-Charging Your Creativity

We are so powerful that we can guide our creativity to create light.

(What the heck is Jason talking about?  Has he gotten all kooky out there in California?)

Ok guys! Please bear with me.  To understand what I mean let’s talk about rivers.

(Maybe he’s just gotten boring.  Who wants to talk about rivers?)

I hear you, the Voice in the ( ).  This blog is going to work and be interesting.  Please just pay attention.

Rivers don’t seem to run in straight lines except sometimes on maps or where they have been straightened with lots of assistance from humans.

(Ok! Everyone get out your maps and look at rivers. Sounds like a wild time! This blog is already quite a hoot.)

Excuse me!  As I was saying, rather than running in straight lines, rivers turn this way and that following the path of least resistance.  A river may go all over the map but except in the case of a flood, it stays focused between its banks.  When a river has a strong current, it can turn a turbine and produce electricity.

(Wow! I’m fascinated Jason.  It is almost like you are reading from a dictionary.)

Now Mr. Voice in the ( ), please be patient, I’m setting up an amazing metaphor.

Anyway, the water flowing in the riverbed is like our creativity.  And the banks of the river are like our ability to focus.

Focus needs creativity so it doesn’t dry up into tunnel vision.

Creativity needs focus so that it doesn’t become an unorganized pool with little movement or current.

So I offer two super-charged creative questions.  How do we maintain both the flow and structure of our creative river?  And how do we use this strong current as power to create light in the reality of our days?

(Jason, why can’t it just be a super-charged practical question like, “What’s for dinner?”)

You know what Mr. Voice in the ( )?  I’ll take you out for dinner.  We can talk about light and rivers.

Game of the Day

What activities stimulate your creativity?

What activities focus your creativity?

How do you make these activities work together to create your river current?

What dreams do you want to turn on to light the reality of your days?

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com.

Energize

I found that it is easy to minimize our creative talents and not take them seriously, to dismiss them as just a creative outlet.

When we do this, we forget how powerful an outlet is.  For example, an electric toothbrush can be used to brush ones teeth even if it is not charged.  But once it is plugged into an outlet and charged, an electric toothbrush works in a whole new way.

Likewise being plugged into our creative outlets and sharing our creativity with others animates our beings, energizes us with joy and life.

Can you imagine if Mozart had kept his music to himself and Da Vinci his paintings, or worse, if they just had quit and given up on their talents? Yet, it is often tempting to keep our creative talents a secret or just plain give up on them and leave creation to people we consider pros.

I’ll tell you a secret.  While many people know that I write poems, relatively few people know that I’ve written hundreds if not thousands of poems.

Why is this a secret?  This is a secret because while I’ve gotten some poems published in journals and books over the years, the vast majority my poems are in a green Rubbermaid box in my parent’s basement.

I’ve neglected the work of submitting my poems to journals basically because I didn’t want to deal with their rejection letters, because I thought my poems wouldn’t matter to other people, and because I’ve told myself over and over again that there is no money in being a poet.

We often fear failure, fear that our creative talents won’t make money, and that they won’t make a difference or matter to other people.  By not sharing our creative talents, we insure that what we fear is true.

I’ve found with our creative outlets there can be just play and revision.  If our painting or poem or needlepoint didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to, this simply means that it is just time to play again.

Create a game so you don’t focus on failing but instead on keeping your creativity going.  Keep producing and sharing your creative gift, so you don’t end up, like I did with my poetry, making a secret out of your creativity and storing it in metaphorical green boxes.

On the financial side of creativity, I find it inspiring to consider that creativity and making money are only opposites if we say they are.  Look at the creators of Google and Facebook.

Let’s plug into our creative talents and share them with others.  Who knows how our creativity could alter our own lives and the world.  Who knows, maybe like I’m writing about Mozart and Da Vinci today, people will be writing about our creative talents hundreds of years from now.

Game of the Day

Is there a creative talent that brings you joy that you have hidden away for one reason or another?

What is your next step in developing that talent?

What is your next step and sharing that talent with others?