Friday, January 30, 2015

Story of Idea #4: How Mark Zurkerberg Passed his Exam by Using the Internet

Founded in 2004, Facebook’s mission is to make the world more open and connected.
People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family,
to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them
(Facebook’s Mission Statement since 2012)

Currently I’m reading Don Tapscott’s Grown Up Digital (a great book indeed!) and he told a story about Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg. In January 2004, Zuckerberg had a real-life version of a common nightmare. He was facing his first round of exams at Harvard University and he hadn’t studied or read anything the professor has assigned for a first-year art history course called Rome of Augustus. Zuckerberg hadn’t even gone to class during the term. He was too busy creating a cool computer program called Facebook that would help students get to know one another and share information. Now, a few days before the exam, Zuckerberg was, in his words, “just completely screwed.

But he had an idea, straight out of twenty-first century computer science. He created a Web site and put pictures from the course on it, with a little discussion beside each picture. Maybe the other students could help out by filling in the blanks. Within 24 hours, Zuckerberg’s classmates helped out alright, with notes so cogent that everyone, Zuckerberg included, passed the test with flying colours. And according to Zuckerberg, the professor didn’t see it as cheating. Instead, he was “really pleased” to see the students collaborate in such a creative fashion.

After acing his art history test, Zuckerberg returned to his school project, Facebook, which has since become one of the most popular social networking sites in the world; on it, friends and acquaintances keep up with each other’s news. Zuckerberg know how to use social network and the Internet alright. He know how and why is it for, namely, to use it to connect and share information, to find and collaborate on projects or ideas of mutual interest. Do you know how to use social network and the Internet for good cause? Learn from Zuck. These are his and his team original ideas.

God, Give Us Today Our Daily Idea(s).

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Story of Idea #3: Soichiro Honda Never Lack of Resource

Innovation creates a resource. There is no such thing as a ‘resource’ until man finds a use for something in nature and endows it with economic value. Until then, every plant is a weed and every mineral just another rock” (Peter Drucker)

Soichiro Honda was always fascinated by things mechanical. However, he was not the academic type. At 28, he joined a technical high school to pick up the theories in engineering needed to help him is his endeavours. Nonetheless, he chose only to attend the classes that he wanted to. His principal was not too amused about that and promptly dismissed him. That did not discourage him. Instead, it fired him up and he succeeded in manufacturing sound and functional devices.

Immediately after the World War II, Japan was immobilized by a severe fuel shortage. Honda could see that there was no point in driving cars. He solved the problem by attaching a motor to a bicycle. Using a small gasoline engine that had been used for electrical generators during the war, he created the world’s first motorcycle, which is today the ubiquitous mode of transportation in the less developed nations.

Because of the governmental restrictions on gasoline and the manufacture of gasoline-using machines, Honda substituted pine resin, which he recalled had been used a temporary aircraft fuel towards the end of World War II, for gasoline. Since then, Honda had never looked back.

He turned a temporary problem into a long-term global demand. In fact, he was so passionate about the motorbikes that he created the Dream, a sleek and powerful motorcycle with a four-cycle engine. As he said later: “We do not make something because the demand is there. With our technology, we can create demand; we can create the market. Supply creates its own demand.” The name ‘Honda’ is now seen not only on motorcycles but also on cars and other vehicles. It is a name that spells quality.
Reference: I Can Cre8! (Prentice Hall, 2001) by Peter Leong. Page 15-16

Lord, Give Us Today Our Daily Idea(s)

Nurture Creativity: Reverse Your Thinking

Reversals destabilize your conventional thinking patterns
and frees information to come together in provocative new ways
(Michael Michalko)

I have a love-hate memories when I think of Singapore (Whatever!) It is an interesting place, of course. There they have the world first nocturnal zoo and is one of the most popular tourist attractions. It is called the Night Safari. What amazing about this zoo is that, ‘unlike traditional nocturnal houses, which reverse the day-night cycle of animals so they will be active by day, the Night Safari is an entire open-air zoo set in a humid tropical forest that is only open at night.’* The concept of a nocturnal park in Singapore was suggested in the 1980s by the former executive chairman of the Singapore Zoo, Dr Ong Swee Law. Instead of having a day zoo, they reversed the situation to having a night safari. If you haven’t been there, I encourage you to experience it yourself.

Reverse thinking. It is looking at your problem and reframes it by reversing the order of the problem in order to view it from a completely different angle. Creative people sometime come up with great ideas by reversing the problem by reversing their thinking about that problem. For example, a student came to me one day and ask if we can get more helpers during the camp because he said that based on the program we have a shortage of manpower. Instead of looking for more helpers, and obviously we had not enough people, I reversed his thinking and asked him, “Can we decrease some of the program activities instead?” By doing that we managed to organize the camp with no unnecessary extra helpers, lower budget and relaxing-well-planned program.

Marelisa Fabrega, lawyer and entrepreneur, writes, “Start at the end; think of what you don’t want; flip it on its head… these are all examples of reverse thinking. Now think of a problem that you’re having or an obstacle that you’re facing, and apply reverse thinking. You might be surprised by the ideas you come up with.” Consider other possible areas in which reverse thinking are prove useful. Just read how this statement by John F. Kennedy can impact our lives: “Ask not what the nation can do for you but ask what you can do for the nation.” Reverse thinking. Powerful, isn’t it? Now let’s be honest, you cannot practise reverse thinking all the time but there will be opportunities to do so. “Reversing the way you look at things encourages you to consider things that may not be considered at all,” said Michael Michalko in his book Cracking Creativity. “Reversals break your existing patterns of thought and provoke new ones. You take things as they are and then turn them around, inside out, upside down, and back to front to see what happens.”

Do you want to nurture and be more creative? Think in reserve.

God, Give Us Today Our Daily Idea(s)

Monday, January 26, 2015

Paradox of Creative People: Atomic Bomb and Lazy Chair

Creative people have a great deal of physical energy,
 but they’re also often quiet and at rest
(Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, psychologist and author of Creativity)

Creative people are characterized by the fact that they have both abundant energy and a great need for relaxation. They are able to work hard and at long hours (sometime they forget to eat!). They also have a great focus and concentration on the subject they are engaging in. They have these invisible signage on their forehead: “Do not disturb”; “Man at work”; “I’m on fire!” Because of that kind of activities – thinking, working and focusing – they need massive energy. And where they get that huge amount of energy? From within. Like atomic bomb, a small seed of purpose mixed with passion they can produce extraordinary energy!

But on the other hand, they are also often quiet and at rest. My grandpa is a creative person. He is full of energy even though he is at his near eighties. His hobby, now become his career, is to make parang (a type of knife). He will wake up early in the morning, doing his craft until late afternoon with high energy level. And on the evening he would drink his beer or just smoke a cigarette, resting quietly enjoying the sunset or simply watching TV – and sometime fall asleep. Just like that. I often saw him sitting alone and just reflecting the day. Like sitting on a lazy chair, creative people also enjoy moments of idleness and lazy day.

God, Give Us Today Our Daily Idea(s)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Nurture Creativity: Keep It Simple

Making the simple complicated is commonplace;
making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity” (Charles Mingus)

To create complicated thing is not the same thing as creating complexity. For example, even though internal software and electronic stuffs in the phone are complex (at least for me), the use of phones like iPhone is insanely simple. iPhone is a complicated product made easy to use. Making our ideas take shape does not necessarily have to be so complicated. Have you ever get annoyed by a difficult-hard-to-use tool or get bored by a looooonnnnggg elaborate project presentation or browsing website with too many options or answering that full-of-never-ending questions of your friend survey paper for his research project? What a waste of time!

One day after I shared in a Bible Study, a student came to me and said, “Wow, thank you brother. All this while I find it’s hard for me to understand this part of the Scriptures, now you make it so simple that I just can’t missed it!” Of course I thank God for his response. But behind the scene, it took me hours to reread, understand, prayed, asked God for wisdom and studied the text to present it in such a way that it will be easy for people to understand. Sometime I’m amazed (negative kind of) that people are making the simple complicated rather than simplify it. Common people tend to love complicating stuff; creative people however will think and ask: What does people want or need? Can I make it simpler? How can I remove ‘clutter’? Highly creative people understand that simplicity is not necessary the absent of complexity but the removal of unnecessary distractors and clutters.

Marty Neumeier author of The 46 Rules of Genius writes, “People tend to view simplicity and complexity as opposites. But this isn’t strictly true. The enemy of simplicity isn’t complexity, but disorder. And the enemy of complexity is also disorder. While complexity seeks order through addition, simplicity seeks it through subtraction. A goal of design is to drive out disorder by maximizing both simplicity and complexity. In most designed products, what we respond to best is a rich, layered experience (complexity) combined with ease of use, ease of understanding, or ease of purchase (simplicity).” He continues, “Most people have a build-in bias toward addition instead of subtraction. For some reason, the concept of ‘more’ comes naturally to us. Yet the innovator knows that the value of any design doesn’t lie in how much is piled on, but how much is discarded. More is more, but less is better.” Spot on!

We have reached the peak in creativity not when we have nothing more to add, but when there is nothing to subtract. Like many habits, simplicity is a hard thing to do initially. But in the long-run, it is worth the fight. “Simple can be harder than complex,” said Steve Jobs, “You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” How to be creatively simple? Buy books on the subject or/and start to think and live simple. In the meanwhile, do this: look around you. What are the project, presentation, work and ideas that you can make it simpler today? How can they be improved? What can you do to reduce it to bare essentials? Could some of them be removed? Is there something missing?

Keep it simple.
God, Give Us Today Our Daily Idea(s)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Nurture Creativity: Laugh Out Loud (L.O.L.)

If you're not laugh or at least smile by this photo, you're too serious... Repent!
If you lose the power to laugh, you lose the power to think” (Clarence Darrow)

Jack Foster in his book How to Get Ideas writes that having fun is one of the best ways to get our minds into idea-condition. He tells that usually in creative departments of advertising agencies a writer and an art director work together as a team on a project. In some departments and occasionally in the ones that Jack is headed, three or four teams work on the same project. “When that happened in my departments,” write Jack, “I always knew which team would come up with the best ideas, the best ads, the best television commercials, the best billboards. It was the team that was having the most fun.” He observes that the ones who were having fun – smiling and laughing – generally always did find great ideas. He continues, “Were they enjoying themselves because they were coming up with ideas? Or were they coming up with ideas because they were enjoying themselves?” What do you think? “The latter. No question about it,” he answered.  

How many times have you walked secretly observing your office or classroom and noticed that people are laughing and having fun? Probably not many. My girlfriend said that her class was never boring because she always make sure that her students are having fun while studying. No wonder her students like her very much. She is creative. And creative people are not boring (most of them). My work also deal with students. I know that if I want my students to be more creative, I should give them more time to play and think.  If you are negative, you can´t be creative. Your thoughts affect your attitude, which in turn affects your behaviour. Negative behaviour almost always will block your creative juices because in turn, it will affect your attitude. And your attitude will affects other’s attitudes too.

Albert Einstein know the important of having fun when he said that “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” I once read that children laugh more than 300 times a day, whereas adults laugh less than 20 times a day. It tells me that somehow people become too serious and lose the ability to laugh while growing up. “Serious people have few ideas,” said Paul Valery, “people with ideas are never serious.” If you’re too serious, try to regain the lost joy of childhood by becoming more playful and humorous. You must be serious about not taking yourself so seriously. Laugh out loud. Smile a little bit more. Jokes around. Learn to be humorous. It will boost your immune system, reduces stress, give you a natural feel-good high, and nourish your brain and helps keep it alert and active but most important of all – you’ll become more creative.

Of course there are such people who are creative but don’t know how to have fun. These people are either rare or if they exist at all, aren’t worth to be your role model. You, have fun. You, please smile. You, laugh out loud! You, be creative. Michael Schrage says, "Serious play is not an oxymoron; it is the essence of innovation."

Yes, laugh out loud!  
God, Give Us Today Our Daily Idea(s)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Nurture Creativity: Have Crazy Idea, Don't Give Up!

Fred Smith, founder of FedEx
I think there are two keys to being creatively productive.
One is not being daunted by one’s fear of failure, the second is sheer perseverance
(Mary-Claire King)

It’s so crazy, it might just work,” said Fred Smith optimistically. He was an undergraduate at Yale University in 1965. As part of the coursework, he wrote an economics paper exploring the process of transportation of goods in the United States. Fred Smith wrote “crazy” idea on paper how a company carrying small, essential items by plane could be a much better business. He, however, did not go into details about how to actually run such a company.

As expected, his professor gave the paper a grade of “C”. Just like Smith’s professor, other people thought that the idea was indeed deserving a “C”. Some even thought that it was “crazy”. It was, but not for Fred Smith. Therefore, Smith held on to the crazy idea despite what others thought of it. He believes in his idea. To cut the story short, in 1971, the company was launched. It is called FedEx Express. Throughout the years, will all the challenges and failures, Smith never give up. “Today,” wrote Abhash Kumar, in, “FedEx is a global giant with operations in more than 220 countries and territories and an annual revenue of US $45 billion.”

What I learned from Fred Smith’s story is this: Logic will dictate that we stay away from crazy ideas. True, but the crazy ones are dared to go beyond what is “logical” and what is “safe”. They were the ones who have ventured out of the boundaries of the norm. Highly creative people are basically crazy. And once they believe in the idea, they will never give up. Remember Steve Jobs’ famously quote: “the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” Are you crazy enough? Do you have “crazy” idea that you believe in despite people’s negative criticisms about it? Do you want to change the world? Then, stay on. Don’t give up.

Many ideas deemed as crazy at first may just turn out to be very creative and innovative. “Nearly all creative ideas can sound crazy when first presented,” write Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari. He continues, “Most people don’t have creative imaginations, so most people don’t get what the creative is saying. And people tend to be fearful of things they don’t understand.” Here is the fact: Not all crazy ideas have worked out – but most do. Add that crazy idea to perseverance and believe. Remember, some will just laugh at your idea. Don’t give up. If it is a worthy idea, make it work despite how silly it may sounds.

Have crazy idea. Don’t give up.
God, Give Us Today Our Daily Idea(s)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Nurture Creativity: Ideas Worth Sharing

Pic from:
If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” (George Bernard Shaw)

I love watching TED Talks whenever I need inspirations to write or simply just curious to know random-but-informative stuffs. TED is a non-profit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). Very interesting! TED believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world. Their agenda is to make great ideas accessible and spark conversation. Their tagline is my favourite: “ideas worth spreading.”

We must learn to share ideas. I remember when I was in a primary school, teacher asked us to study and do our homework alone. No copying or discussing. Maybe that was why I refused or reluctant to share my ideas and have this spirit of competitiveness with my friends throughout my schooling years. Only after I went to the university, I slowly learn to share ideas. The history of great inventors and creative people proof that nobody is a self-made. No musician, artist or writer ever achieved greatness without studying the works of earlier masters and discussing thoughts with their contemporaries. Ideas are meant to be share.

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak shared ideas together and foundered Apple (They also shared a love of practical jokes and technological challenges). Bill Gates and Paul Allen shared ideas and Microsoft was born. Malaysian Christian students then studied at University Malaya in Singapore saw the potential of students impacting students in campus. They shared ideas and their burden for the student ministry. Hence Fellowship of Evangelical Students (FES) Malaysia came to be. All of these happened because people share ideas.

Many people are worried about sharing ideas with others. They get very protective of those ideas. They afraid that people will steal their ideas. It's okay. I understand, it happened to me. But I know this very well also that it’s better to share ideas and work collaboratively than isolate yourself. Take risk. Of course, I’m not encourage you to share everything including all the finest details of your ideas. What I want us to do is to be more open about an idea or two and asking for feedback – especially, that constructive criticisms – has always work better than working alone. Present your ideas. Consider asking your trusted friends, peers and colleagues for their thoughts. Try your online friends as well. Now, steal those ideas. In many cases, they might be able to connect you with someone else who can help turn your idea into reality. But, you won’t know unless you talk to others openly. “For good ideas and true innovation,” write Margaret Heffernan, “you need human interaction, conflict, argument, debate.”

The more you share your ideas,
The more ideas you’ll get,
The more options and adjustments you can make,
The more choices (that’s matter) you’ll have to make a good decision and action.
There is a time to keep secret, there is a time to share your idea.
That’s what creative people do.

God, Give Us Today Our Daily Idea(s)

Think Big

For more than 40 years, Stanford psychologist Carol S. Dweck has studied the science of how our self-conceptions influence our actions. Her work offers great insight into why thinking big is such a big deal.

Dweck’s work with children revealed two mindsets in action – a “growth” mindset that generally thinks big and seeks growth and a “fixed” mindset that places artificial limits and avoids failure. Growth-minded students, as she calls them, employ better learning strategies, experience less helplessness, exhibit more positive effort, and achieve more in the classroom than their fix-minded peers. They are less likely to place limits on their lives and more likely to reach for their potential. Dweck points out that mindsets can and do change. Like any other habit, you set your mind to it until the right mindset becomes routine.

When Scott Forstall started recruiting talent to his newly formed team, he warned that the top-secret project would provide ample opportunities to “make mistakes and struggle, but eventually we may do something that we’ll remember the rest of our lives.” He gave this curious pitch to superstars across the company, but only took those who immediately jumped at the challenge. He was looking for “growth-minded” people, as he later shared with Dweck after reading her book.

Why is this significant? While you’ve probably never heard of Forstall, you’ve certainly heard of what his team created. Forstall was a senior vice president at Apple, and the team he formed created the iPhone.

-         Taken from The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Garry Keller with Jay Papasan (Bard Press, 2012), page 91-92.

In the same way, growth-minded people are highly creative people.
Change your mindset, think big, think growth, think creatively.

God, Give Us Today Our Daily Idea(s)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Nurture Creativity: Never Lose a Holy Curiosity

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”
(Albert Einstein)

All of us come into the world curious. Since the day we were born we have within us an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. When we were babies, we love to explore and learn new things. We were like little (mad) scientists who innocently enjoy experiment with everything in our environment. As soon as we can start to speak, we ask question after question, “Why the sky is blue?” “Where I’m coming from?” “Why I need to eat?!” When my little cute cousin asked me a question, I answered it, she then have a dozen more questions after that. Unstoppable!

In his book Think Like Da Vinci, Michael J. Gelb said that as a child, Leonardo Da Vinci possessed an intense curiosity about the world around him. Da Vinci wrote this on his notebook: “Do you not see how many and how varied are the actions which are performed by men alone? Do you not see how many different kinds of animals there are, and also the trees and plants and flowers? What variety of hilly and level places, of springs, rivers, cities, public and private buildings; of instruments fitted for man’s use; of diverse costumes, ornaments and arts?

Elsewhere Da Vinci adds: “I roamed the countryside searching for answers to things I did not understand. Why shells existed on the tops of mountains along with the imprints of coral and plants and seaweed usually found in the sea. Why the thunder lasts a longer time than that which causes it, and why immediately on its creation the lightning becomes visible to the eye while thunder require time to travel. How the various circles of water from around the spot which has been struck by a stone, and why a bird sustains itself in the air. These questions and other strange phenomena engage my thought throughout my life.” What a curious man! No wonder he is known today as the greatest of all geniuses. He was intensely curious. Never stop.

All great thinkers and creatives, like Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison and Richard Feynman never stop asking confounding questions with the same intensity throughout their lives. Their bodies may grow old but their minds are like children with “an insatiably curious approach to life and an unrelenting quest for continuous learning” as Michael J. Gelb defines curiosity in his book. “I have no special talent,” said Albert Einstein, “I am only passionately curious.” If you want to nurture your creativity – be curious. Curiosity makes your mind active and you will become more observant of new ideas. It also opens up new possibilities and brings excitement into your life. For me, being curious is not only to gather more information or for the sake of being smart, but it is a way of learning something new.

To be more creative, you need to possess an intense curiosity. Donald Latumahina, Lifehack expert, suggests 6 tips to develop curiosity: 1) Keep an open mind. To be open to learn, unlearn and relearn; 2) Don’t take things as granted. Dig deeper beneath the surface of what is around you; 3) Ask questions relentlessly. What, why, when, who, where, and how are the best friends of curious people; 4) Don’t label something as boring. Curious people are unlikely to call something as boring; 5) See learning as something fun. Look at life through the glasses of fun and excitement and enjoy the learning process; and 6) Read diverse kinds of reading. It will introduce you to the possibilities and excitement of the other worlds which may spark your interest to explore them further. I loves this quote from Albert Einstein: “The important thing is not to stop questioning… Never lose a holy curiosity.

Yes, never lost a holy curiosity.
Idea is here all along, waiting for someone to ask.
God, Gives Us Today Our Daily Idea(s)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Nurture Creativity: Steve Jobs said "Creativity is Just Connecting Things"

Picture: Credits to Hugh MacLeod & Vitor Bellote  
You cannot force creativity to happen—every creative person can attest to that.
But the essence of creativity is making connections and solving puzzles
(Nancy C. Andreasen, Neuroscientist)

Creativity is connecting things. In other word, making connections where none existed before is what creativity is all about. The world is our field. Thus, there are practically unlimited possible connections that can be made. We are making connections all the time as part of our learning process. For example, a lot of things happen when I’m doing one thing and I’m not thinking about what my mind is doing. I’m either watching movie, I’m reading a book, eating my lunch and then – I make a connection. It may have nothing to do with what I am doing, but somehow or other I see something or hear something or do something, and it pops that connection together. People use to say, millions saw the apple fall, but Newton asked, ‘why?’

Creativity is just connecting things,” Steve Jobs, late CEO of Apple told Wired magazine. “When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people… Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem.”

Jobs told a story when he took calligraphy in college, a course with no practical applications to his life then. But after he came back later he used his knowledge and skills to added Macintoch, the first computer with beautiful typeface, fonts, and calligraphy. The dots were connected. Creativity is connecting things. Can be few years from now, can be months from now, can be in a minute later. So how to connect the dots? Here are my suggestions (at least, these are the things that I do myself):

§  Carry a notebook and keep track of everything – especially in the toilet (sometime I just write ideas on tissue!)
§  Read to add more knowledge. Logically, the more knowledge you have, the more connection you can make.
§  Play or try to experience more things in life. Most of the time, connections just happen when you least expected it.
§  Review the last sermons or scratch or whatever notes you had wrote before. Recalling and reminding are the best way to spark creative connections.
§  Try observation skill. Just look around you and try to make connections between things which may show similarity or maybe totally unrelated.

Don’t just stare the ceiling, make connections.
Don’t just read and play, make connections.
Don’t just eat and sleeping, make connections.
Maybe just relax, and there is a connection!

God, Give Us Today Our Daily Idea(s)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Nurture Creativity: Mixing with Like-Minded Creative People

Like laughter, creativity is contagious. There’s nothing like mixing with creative people to nurture your own creativity. Jenny Hare, writer of Unlock Your Creativity, explains, “[Mixing with creative people] is a kind of alchemy – as though your creative souls sparkle in the air separately at first as you recognize a common creative flair, and then are magnetized to each other and dance together for a while. Ideas flow and you both feel uplifted and energized, and when you part you look forward eagerly to riding on the wave of creativity you’ve mutually started.” It sound very lofty at first as you read this, but when you really have found like-minded people that you long to be with, you just can’t wait to come back to “dance together” again.

Even though I love to hangout alone talking to myself (it’s a real fun way to discover deep hidden thoughts inside my head), I understand that I also need to mix with people, especially with like-minded creative people. For example, I once attended a motivational talk seminars by Dr. Peter Chee, president and CEO of ITD world, at Damansara. The attendees are a diverse community of bright, caring, supportive, open-minded people who are generous with their time, their learning, and their attention. It's also a great group of creative people. We had teachers, artists, university students, business people, nurses, pharmacists, author and a retiree. We were like-minded in a way that we are hunger for success in life and pursuit for continuous learning. I was struck by how simply spending time with people in a variety of other creative endeavours re-sparked my own creative juices. I found myself being more curious, more open, more optimistic, more interested and more interesting – all as a result of attending the seminar and interacting with like-minded creative people.

One of the basic tenets of creativity is to do things differently, and to do different things. So if you need to reignite your creativity, do something completely new. A simply broadening your horizons by mixing with like-minded creative people will also broaden your mind. Thus, try something new today. Here are my suggestions. Look for communities within the things you liked to do. Ask your friends or check Facebook groups (social media are great tools to find community). You will make numerous friends and strong connections from these communities. Meet people at different places such as conferences, seminars, talks or class. If you’re an activist like my colleague, then join the peaceful rally. If you love to make a difference in your community, join others to volunteer for something others might find intimidating; homeless assistance or elder care for example. You will meet people who are made of sterner stuff, and you might just learn some more about yourself. When I say mixing with like-minded people it doesn’t mean that they have to have a dozen of common hobbies or interests like you, but one or two will do. Share ideas, having fun together and mutual encouragements is the point.

Meeting with other creative people in a mutually encouraging atmosphere is a great tonic
for your soul as well as your creativity” (Jenny Hare)
Plus, mixing with like-minded creative people also can effects your happiness,
inspirations and sense of belonging.

God, Give Us Today Our Daily Idea(s)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Nurture Creativity: Hang Out in a Cemetery!

Creativity comes from looking for the unexpected
and stepping outside your own experience
(Masaru Ibuka)

By forcing yourself to go to places that may be outside your comfort zone or out of the ordinary, you not only find out new things or ideas, gain more experience and meet new people, but also it will let your creative juices flow with inspirations and refreshment. Let’s face it, even the most creative people go through a dry season once in a while. We all need to replenish the well of our inspirations. Here are some suggestions where you might want to try. Refill your creative well, get out and explore!

#1: Go to Waterfront and Watch Buskers Performing
Busking or street performance is the practice of performing in public places. Whether music, dance, art or theatre, these show have creativity written all over them. During a live band performance, for example, it's all about the performers, audience and the energy they created. Presentation skills, music skills, communication skills are all in one show. These are creative people. Be inspired and let your creativity nurtured by what you just saw and heard. Sometimes all it takes to get the creative juices flowing is to enjoy another art form. Hey, go to places to see buskers perform in town. You might be surprised how inspiring it can be.  

#2: Visit Sarawak Museum or Art Gallery
When was the last time you visit a museum? I assume in average – once in a life time. Unless you work in the museum or art gallery, you’re not quite likely to spending time there. Don’t worry, I understand. But even if you think you’re someone who just doesn’t enjoy museum or art exposure, you might want to ‘force’ yourself to do it at least once per year. You may be surprised and find that you actually enjoyed it. Extinct animals, ancient weapons and music instruments, mini model of longhouses, drawing and crafting by our local artists, masks for performing rituals, crafts design. Look at the old sampan (boat) design, for example, let your creativity take over and think about what does the craft or symbols means, why it was created the way it was. Ah, inspirations!

#3: Hang Out In a Cemetery
This probably my most uncomfortable place to visit. Admittedly, it may seem like an odd place to get your creativity flowing but I assure you, if you just let the scene stay in your mind, you can be inspired even by the tomb and grave. When I sat there and remembered my friend talked about how expensive coffin is, and how we spend lots of money to buy a beautiful and luxury coffin just to put it seven feet on the ground the next day, it doesn’t make sense! Then suddenly an idea came to my mind that may solve this issue of over-spending – recycle the coffin. Use it externally, but change it to plain, simple and inexpensive coffin for burial. Crazy? Idea is an idea after all.
Maybe you can try to image what their lives was. Pull out that pen and paper and start creatively writing their life stories. Where were they born, who did they marry, what did they do for a living, and how many kids did they have? Get as creative as you want. The idea here is to let the creativity flow and have fun with it.

#4: Get Back to the Nature
Many people find that simply taking a walk in a park or jog along a wooded trail is just what they need to refill the well of inspiration. I do this almost every day. Simply getting out in the fresh air and away from the computer and smart phone and external noises can cause you to relax and replenish your soul. If I feel a little less creative, or struggle to solve a problem or want to stop thinking about it for a while, I just get back to the nature.  Get out in the world and away from your day-to-day tasks for a bit, and you’ll soon find that those creative juices will gracefully flowing again.

Force yourself to go to places that may be outside your comfort zone.
Maybe, hang out in the cemetery? 
Wherever you can replenish your well of inspirations my friend.
God, Give Us Today Our Daily Idea(s)

Nurture Creativity: "A" for Passion, "E" for Boring

Passion drives creativity. Fuel it, protect it, tend it, grow it.
Manage it as the renewable resource it is
(Marty Neumeier, The 46 Rules of Genius)

Passion is everything. Creativity that work doesn’t happen without it. Passion plays an important role in creative pursuits. At first, passion sparks our interest and a relentless desire to focus and learn. During the tough times and as idea development become harder, passion keeps us going. Yo-Yo Ma, a French and American cellist, said, “Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you're passionate about something, then you're more willing to take risks.” Many of the greatest ideas are fuelled by passion. For example, Google is fuelled by passion for information, Virgin is passionate about customer service, and Apple is for design.

When I was a kid, I have many interests and passions. I love drawing, playing video games, create my own toys, making Batman costume and gadgets (and tested it on my sidekick-childhood friend), watching Ultraman, and almost obsessive of becoming a Superman. My childhood passions then change as I walk into adulthood and I find new things to be passionate about. But as I get older, I become focused on my passions such as teaching, reading, writing, theology and creativity. All of these becomes key part of my life and actually almost defines who I am. If you want me to fall asleep while you’re talking, talk about car and clothes. But if you want to hear my sense of excitement and energy, talk about books and theology.

Now, everyone’s passion is different, I know. But let me ask: What is your passion in life? You must dig deep to identify your true passion. Remember, passion drive creativity. “Passion makes the world go around,” wrote Henri-Frédéric Amiel, “It is the juice that drives creativity. When you care enough to put your heart into your work, passion will keep you going through thick and thin.” Do what you love. The moment you find your passion can be one of the most fulfilling moment in your life. Doing what you love will lead you to success and sustain you when you fail. Ask yourself, ‘What makes your heart sing?’ Follow your heart.

When I think again about my first sentence above, I changed my mind.
Passion is not everything.
But then again, without passion life is boring.
God, Give Us Today Our Daily Idea(s)

Friday, January 9, 2015

Nurture Creativity: Read Widely like Google Search, Read Purposefully like Playing Archery

Reading remains an unsurpassed vehicle for
the transmission of interesting new ideas and perspectives
(Steven Johnson, TED Talks)

During my school time, there were three things that I hate in the world most: English language, writing and reading. Now strangely as it sound (and thankfully), I love all of them. I figure it out that if I want to grow I must challenge myself, keep pushing and do what I initially hate doing because I know that it is worth my investment, energy and time. Each and every one of us has the potential to grow. It's just a matter of practice and doing it regularly. In this way, we train ourselves to be more useful and – creative.

So now I love reading. One of the ways you can be more creative is by reading on a very wide range of subjects. Not just any reading will do, though. Blog posts, short articles, magazines, websites, newspapers and the like are all a fun diversion and beneficial, but they simply won’t turn on your creative juices as effective as the way good selective books will. “The reading which counts,” said Leon Gutterman, “is the reading which, in making a man think, stirs and exercises and polishes the edge of his mind.
Let me give you an advice: you can learn anything, but you can’t read everything. So pick your subjects with a sense of purpose. For example, one of my goals this year is to write a book on creativity, so I should stuff my brain more by focus reading on the subject of creativity, innovations, ideas, arts, inventions, history and biographies/autobiographies of creative minds. Of course, insights and inspirations may come from other sources too. That’s for sure. So read widely (like Google search) and read purposefully (like playing archery). Randomly and focus reading. Both. 

Here are why reading can boost your creativity: Reading will:

§  Stimulate, nourish and broaden your mind (stagnant thinking is dangerous)
§  Help you to think out of the box (look at the things from a different perspective)
§  Add knowledge that can be used to spark ideas
§  Develop your vocabulary (especially for creative writings)
§  Enhance concentration and discipline (focus, focus, focus)
§  Sharpen language and communication skills (boring people are generally non-readers)
§  Helps you to think and gain more ideas from others
§  Improve your imagination (better than watching movies!)
§  Release your stress level and help you to relax
§  Build self-esteem, positive thinking and confidence (except when you read ghost stories)
§  Put you in the range of highly effective people all over the world (most successful people are readers)
§  Ignite your passion to read more. Reading is fun once you get into the habit (Fun = creative state).
§  Reading books, especially, will change your life!

To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.” (Victor Hugo)
So, read widely like Google search and read purposefully like playing archery.
God, Give Us Today Our Daily Idea(s)

Top 10 Most Read Idea(s) Last 7 Days


Thinking Creative Question Action Change Your Life Essential Thinker Series Focus Positive Secrets of the Millionaire Mind Harv Eker Success Attitude Choice Learning Nurture Creativity Play Mindset Perspective Time Experience Habit Observation Curious Different Failure Hardworking How-to Generate Ideas Imagination Problem-Solving Wealth 12 Rules for Life Children Inspiration Jordan Peterson Relax Rich Break the Rules Change Perseverance Reading Risk-Taker Seeing Albert Einstein Barriers to Creativity Confidence I Wonder Series People The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck (Mark Hanson) Connection Happiness Money Possibilities The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Thought With Winning In Mind Asking Books Character Characteristics of Creative Person Is Technology Changing Our Brains Knowledge Practical Process Writing Believe Challenge Childlike Criticism How to Choose Optimism How to Nurture Your Child to Be Creative Innovative Listening Purpose Relationship Responsibility Story of Idea Thomas Edison Value 7 Climate Facts You Need to Know Communicate Control Enjoy Freedom Fun Idea-Quote Meaning Mistakes Open Mind Opportunity Optimistic Original Resourceful Roger von Oech Talent As A Man Thinketh Combination Commitment Discovery Don't Give Up Dream Energetic Environment Friendship Genius Give Up Growth Leonardo da Vinci Picture Playground Quiet Space Random Reason Start With Why (Simon Sinek) Steve Jobs Understand Walk Wisdom Yew Kam Keong Ability Ambiguity Behavior Crazy Daydreaming Decision-Making Example Facts about Creativity Faith Fear Feeling Goal Hearing Humour Improvement Independence Intuition Isaac Newton Lead Love Motivated Nature Non-Conformist Passion Potential Respect Savor Life Self-Image Stephen R. Covey The Power of Habit Word Alternative Application Awareness Common Blocks to Creativity Conversation Discipline Dynamic Emotion Encouragement Expectation Feedback Flexibility Idealistic Jack Foster Leader Logic Mindful Music Negative Performance Persistence Physical Reinforcement Result Right Answer Sixth Sense Society Talking The Human Body Tony Buzan Vincent Ryan Ruggiero Vision Adventurous Appreciate Attention Be Yourself Beautiful Christopher Columbus Conscious Daring Desire Edward de Bono Empathy Excuses Exercise Financial Galileo Goodness Hardship Help Henry Ford How to Be Innovative Humble IQ Jesus Kindness Laugh Let's Get Started! Memory Mental Rehearsal Michael J. Gelb Multitasking Nicolaus Copernicus Patient Pen and Paper Planning Power Praise Prejudice Proactive Progressive Quality Reality Recording Rejection Routine Sharing Simplicity Sleep Social Media Stand Firm Starbuck Stimulate Strength Stress Studying The Internet Theology Think like A Fool Touching Unpopular Usefulness Victor Hugo What If Win-Win Zig Ziglar 6 Common Creative Killers 9 Types of Intelligence A. Samad Said Affirmation Alexander the Great Aristotle Association Assumption Austin Kleon Balance Benedict de Spinoza Benjamin Franklin Bette Nesmith Graham Bill Gates Blessing Brainstorming Business Carpe Diem Chaos and Order Cicero Colonel Sanders Compliance Concentration Contribute Copernicus David Hume Descartes Desiderius Erasmus Development Diversity Don't Try Download Drug Elaboration Eleanor Roosevelt Enthusiasm Error Ethics Eurika Experiment Explore Extrovert Fluency Francis Bacon Free Book Generalist Giving Back Heroes Hopeful Hormones How to Spark Your Creative Mind How-to Maximizing a New Idea Howard Schultz Hunting Illustration Information Integrity Intention Interruption Introvert Investment James Webb Young Jason Mraz Jean-Jacques Rouseau Jim Carrey Jogging John Locke Jurgen Wolff Juxtapositions Legacy Leon Ann Mean Leon Trotsky Light Liquid Paper Machiavelli Management Manifestation Manipulation Marcus Aurelius Mark Zurkerberg Martin Luther Marty Neumeier Maturity Mental Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Mind Maping Miracles Mission Statement Modeling Money Blueprint Mood Move On My Top 17 Book on Innovative and Creativity Lists Navigation Skills Niccolo Machiavelli Offline Ontology Ordinary Pablo Picasso Pain Paracelsus Paradigm Paradox of Creative People Parenting Passive Income Peace Perception Philosophy Plato Political Practice Priority Privacy Procrastination Productivity Promote Pythagoras of Samos Rational Rebellious Receiving Reformer Rene Descartes Resilience Resource Myopia Rest Reverse Robert Korn Running Safe Saving Say No Scientific Method Scott Belsky Self-Gratification Selling Seneca Skeptic Slow Down Smelling Social Skills Socrates of Athens Soichiro Honda Specialist Spider-Man St Anselm St Augustine of Hippo St Thomas Aquinas Steal like An Artist Stubborn Suffering Synergize Tasting Technology Thales of Miletus The Creative Environment The Empiricist The Mozart Effect Thomas More Tok Nan Toy Tradition Truth Uniformity Unique Universe Unorthodox Volunteer Walt Disney Wildlife Wonder Xenophanes of Colophon