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Posts Tagged ‘NPR’

Picture this.

12 Nov

Lynda Barry is a cartoonist, writer and teacher who was featured on NPR’s Talk of the Nation yesterday.  Her new book, Picture This is a wonderful workbook for anyone wanting to inject the drawn line into their daily life. Her drawings create a fun and safe place to experiment with developing your own visual language, and we all have one if we simply put pen to paper and explore it.

Barry’s NPR interview brought to light much of her thinking on the power of drawing to tap into that often unreachable part of our brains; the area we want to reach into for innovative ideas or creative solutions in life and work.  Lynda Barry knows the drawn line is key. One caller to Barry’s interview said drawing in her sketchbook had enabled her to deal with debilitating anxiety without medication.  The relationship between brain chemistry and the simple act of drawing has been documented as a way to focus the attention of people in meetings.

Coming up in December, Adam and I will be working with 24 teen volunteers at the Cincinnati Area Chapter of the American Red Cross.  These are bright and forward thinking students who have been chosen for this program for their potential for leadership in their communities.  We are tremendously excited to meet these future leaders and introduce them to the simple, but life changing, practice of keeping an illuminated sketch journal.

Whether you are looking to change your work life, your personal approach to the world at large, or to learn how to communicate more effectively, a powerful first step is to start drawing.  When you do, let us know how it goes.

Popularity: 18% [?]

 

Balance

08 Jun

It’s a fast paced world we live and work in nowadays.  We are constantly berated by information and data points that warrant our interest and demand our attention.  Two recent reports by NPR and the New York Times looked at the issue of endless access to technology and the impact it has on our brains according to recent research.

Nicholas Carr, whose book The Shallows is the subject of the NPR story, began to take a hard look at his own inability to concentrate when he realized that the more online time he spent, the more difficulty he had in reading a long article or sitting for a good long while with a book.  The work that started as an article in the Atlantic, Is Google Making Us Stupid?, has now become The Shallows, where Carr investigates what the internet is doing to our brains.

“…Carr argues that even if people get better at hopping from page to page [on the internet], they will still be losing their abilities to employ a ‘slower, more contemplative mode of thought.’ He says research shows that as people get better at multitasking, they ‘become less creative in their thinking.’”

It is just this ‘slower mode of thought’ where the most creative thinking occurs.

In the New York Times, Matt Richtel’s article, Your Brain On Computers: Hooked on Gadgets and Paying a Mental Price, follows the Campbell family as they try to keep up with everything technology has to offer without losing themselves in the process.

Both articles speak to what’s great about technology as well as what can be problematic.  In this day and age, someone with the right set up of wireless internet access and personal computer options can work just about anywhere.  No longer are we chained to our desks and telephones during business hours in order to get work done.  In fact, there are no more business hours.  Every hour is business hour.  And that’s the rub.  While technology enables us the freedom to use our time how we may want to, many people find it hard to turn off the computer and smart phones for fear of missing something.  In this heightened state of waiting, we are actually missing the chance for our brains to slip back into a more relaxed state where new ideas can be sown and come to fruition.

Obviously we here at Drawing Down the Vision love a good dose of technology.  Here I sit at my studio computer writing this blog post.  Our access to ever evolving technology and communication options is how our message will ultimately reach the masses.  But we know that in order to center in what will become the next piece of compelling art work or lucrative business idea, we need to unplug and get our pens to paper in our sketchbooks.  By balancing what the modern world has to offer with what creativity needs to flourish, we can ensure that technology will be a tool that we use in our work versus something that changes the way our brains work.

So slow down a little, turn your gadgets off for a few hours.  And draw…

Popularity: 8% [?]

 

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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