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Posts Tagged ‘Motivation’

Synthesis and ‘Right Work’

05 Sep

SYNTHESIS (noun) \ˈsin(t)-thə-səs\ the combining of often diverse conceptions into a coherent whole

I have been able to distill from my many experiments and projects the ones that may actually ‘stick’ in the long run. I’m not blindly grinding away at the ‘wrong work.’

It’s been a wild summer ride around here at Drawing Down the Vision.  Adam and Amy have seen a rapid rate of change both professionally and personally in recent months and as we head into the more pensive autumn season, we are sifting through our experiences and new opportunities to see how it all fleshes out.

While Adam was busy moving to a new geographical location for work, I, Amy, took a few months off from blogging, teaching and art-making to go on what can only be described as a rather radical sabbatical.  Professional and personal travels took me to the desert of the southwest, the windswept coast of New England, across The Pond to Ireland, and many, many wonderful spots in between.  All the while, I had my trusty sketchbook close at hand to collect my seemingly random thoughts, drawings and experiences.

It’s important to get out of the usual routine that ties us to the day to day.  Sometimes we are only afforded the odd ten minutes to hit the reset button. Occasionally, we get the opportunity for more. Stefan Sagmeister’s year off dramatically changed how he approached his design business and my summer sabbatical has been the same for me.  Stepping back from the workaday treadmill can bring into full relief what is and what isn’t working in the studio.

I have been able to distill from my many experiments and projects the ones that may actually ‘stick’ in the long run. I’m not blindly grinding away at the ‘wrong work.’ I have been thinking a lot about where to put my limited time and energy to avoid feeling so scattered, which I did before this summer’s travels.

Author/ blogger Michael Knobbs writes about this phenomenon in his blog Sustainably Creative.  While I am not limited by any chronic conditions, I do have a full plate between familial commitments, hourly work (which pays routinely), art work (which pays only sporadically) and a whole host of personal, feed-the-soul kind of stuff.  What to trim and what to keep are more identifiable now.

Another important thing I re-learned over this summer’s travels was the importance of alone-time.  It is so easy to get trapped into responding to every last vie for my attention. Then, suddenly, I realize I haven’t spent time in my own company for days or even weeks!  Jacqueline Smith at Smart Solitude has some wonderful blog entries with gentle reminders as to how important time alone can be, especially for those following a creative path.

Synthesizing these lessons from time spent out of my element has created a bit of a sea change for me in life and work. We are interested in hearing about others’ adventures and how they affect one’s overall approach to the day to day.  Look forward to some guest posts!!!

Popularity: 41% [?]

 

Every country on Earth is reforming education and learning.

21 Oct

Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education and creativity expert, gave an enlightening talk about education reform around the world. Education reform is happening less through legislation, and more through an awakening of what creativity, knowledge-gathering, and motivation really are.

Education reform is a critical topic as Thomas Friedman (of the NYTimes and ‘The World is Flat’) recently opined that, ‘America’s core competency is is ability to attract, develop and unleash creative talent.

Is that competency in danger? Are other countries struggling as well?

Sir Ken Robinson challenges a few key assumptions that stem from the intellectual culture of the  Enlightenment and the economic circumstances of the Industrial Revolution.

  • Why do we batch students by age or year? Shouldn’t we batch students by their respective skill in a certain topic?
  • Why do we educate students in the same class sizes? Don’t some learn better in large groups, small groups, or even alone?
  • Why are all students forced to learn during the same hours? Some students are geared towards morning, afternoon, or evening learning.

The most alarming statistic Sir Ken Robinson provides is from a study on divergent thinking published in Breakpoint and Beyond. Divergent thinking is the ability to think of many answers to a specific problem… this is the first step to problem solving… before we get analytical and make THE BEST decision (this latter process if where business education focuses today). 98% of 1500 kindergartners scored at the genius level for divergent thinking. Their scores went down as they progressed in the education system.

What examples have you seen of successful education reform? What programs are creating vibrant students who are making a difference in the world?

Related:

Popularity: 37% [?]

 

Stress. And Creativity.

04 Jun

Let’s talk a moment about stress.  We all have it in our lives.  The endless to-do lists, the demands of job, family, bills.  You know the drill.  For most of us, stress is a familiar part of everyday life.  A day without it is, well, vacation.  Stress and creativity have a tricky relationship.  It takes a fair amount of comfort to foster creative ideas.  I don’t necessarily mean feet-up, chocolate-nearby sort of comfort, but rather a lack of stress.  The best ideas come when we are least stressed; when taking a shower or driving for example.  And yet the pressure to perform is a constant.

An interesting report on NPR the other day spoke to this phenomenon.   Dan Ariely, author of “The Upside of Irrationality” says:

“… when it comes to creativity and problem solving and thinking and memory and concentration, it turns out you can’t will yourself to a higher level of performance. … instead, the high bonus actually got people to be very stressed.”

In his behavioral experiments, the higher the reward stakes (i.e. performance bonus), the less performance he got from his participants.  This caught my attention and I began to think how it could apply to the work we do at Drawing Down the Vision.

Businesses who want the most creative work from their employees, entrepreneurs seeking to see their ideas come to fruition, anyone who wants to get the most from their creative thinking, all are under a fair amount of stress to get things done.  But concentrating on this stress will only make it more acute.  Instead, relaxing a bit will let the ideas come in through the back door…via your sketchbook.

By tracking your thoughts in your sketchbook and putting ideas down on paper, you can simply and cheaply activate the creative thinking that is harboring your next big idea.  Drawing Down the Vision can get your team working together and drumming up new and innovative ways to solve problems to grow your business.

Give drawing a try.  It’s a whole lot less stressful than the traditional approach and you might get some amazing new ideas out of it!

Related reading: The No. 1 Habit of Highly Creative People
Related video: Dan Pink, The surprising truth about what really motivates us

Popularity: 6% [?]

 
 



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