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How to Be an Explorer of the World

How to Be an Explorer of the World
by Maria Popova “Every morning when we wake up, we have twenty-four brand-new hours to live. What a precious gift!” As a longtime fan of guerrilla artist and illustrator Keri Smith’s Wreck This Box set of interactive journals, part of these 7 favorite activity books for grown-ups, I was delighted to discover her How to Be an Explorer of the World: Portable Life Museum (public library) — a wonderful compendium of 59 ideas for how to get creatively unstuck by engaging with everyday objects and your surroundings in novel ways. From mapping found sounds to learning the language of trees to turning time observation into art, these playful and poetic micro-projects aren’t just a simple creativity booster — they’re potent training for what Buddhism would call “living from presence” and inhabiting your life more fully. It all began with this simple list, which Smith scribbled on a piece of paper in the middle a sleepless night in 2007: Eventually, it became the book. Spread photos via Geek Dad

Austin Kleon on 10 Things Every Creator Should Remember But We Often Forget by Maria Popova What T.S. Eliot has to do with genetics and the optimal investment theory for your intellectual life. Much has been said about the secrets of creativity and where good ideas come from, but most of that wisdom can be lost on young minds just dipping their toes in the vast and tumultuous ocean of self-initiated creation. So widely did the talk resonate that Kleon decided to deepen and enrich its message in Steal Like an Artist — an intelligent and articulate manifesto for the era of combinatorial creativity and remix culture that’s part 344 Questions, part Everything is a Remix, part The Gift, at once borrowed and entirely original. (This piece of truth is available as a print from 20×200, one of the best places for affordable art.) The book opens with a timeless T.S. Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.” Kleon writes in the introduction: Donating = Loving

Write-Brained: The Neuroscience of Writing and Writer’s Block This page provides an outline of what each part of the Write-Brained series will contain. You can bookmark and revisit this page for up-to-date links to each part. Preface: My Background and the Mandatory Disclaimer When I transitioned to full-time freelance work, my inability to complete work until the last minute before deadline was no longer just an inconvenience: It was the source of significant emotional and economic distress. I studied productivity and, eventually, the human mind. Part 1: Finding the Creative Space in the Human Mind To understand what happens neurologically when we write (or when we can’t write), we have to understand some brain basics. The human brain is composed of three major parts: The “reptilian brain,” the “mammalian brain,” and the “neo-mammalian brain.” While both hemisphere are important in communication when using the neo-mammalian brain, it’s the right hemisphere that allows us to think in the ways we most commonly associate with creative writing. Rob

How Rejection Breeds Creativity In 2006, Stefani Germanotta had hit a turning point in her career. She had quit a rigorous musical theatre program at an elite college to focus on her musical passion and, after a year of hard work and little income, had signed a deal with Def Jam records. But this promise wouldn’t last. Just three months after signing, Def Jam changed its mind about Stefani’s unusual style and released her from her contract. Rejected, Stefani went back the drawing board, working in clubs and experimenting with new performers and new influences. These experiments produced a new sound that was drawing positive attention from critics and fans. Rejection happens and, when it does, how we respond to it matters. In a series of experiments, researchers led by Sharon Kim of Johns Hopkins University sought to examine the impact of rejection on individuals’ creative output. Rejection happens and, when it does, how we respond to it matters. What’s Your Experience? How do you respond to being rejected?

Creation in the Workplace Humans are at their best when they are creating. We are wired to create—there’s no feeling like the sense of satisfaction from stepping back after working hard to create something–whether framing a house, building a Powerpoint deck or baking a cake. For the purposes of this article, I want to expand the way we might classically use the word ‘create’ it and then apply the expanded definition to the workplace. When we think about ‘creating’ we probably think about building something with our hands. Why does this matter? a. and: b. If you are in such a situation at work, consider the possibility that it is because you are not creating.

Ramon Bruin's 3D Drawings Jump Off The Page (PHOTOS) Artist Ramon Bruin is taking hyperrealistic drawings to another dimension. The third dimension to be exact. The Dutch illustrator is creating realistic 3D renderings of snakes, birds and bridges using a pencil, paper and what we imagine is a vivid imagination. From creeping insects to sprawling structures, Bruin draws impressive cartoons that seem to jump right off the paper. To create the pictures, Bruin uses a technique called anamorphosis, reports The New York Daily News. It involves drawing a detailed but distorted image that appears like a three-dimensional scene when viewed from a certain angle. Scroll down for more of Bruin's cartoon creations in the slideshow below, and head to his web site for more work. Loading Slideshow Come out and PlayCaterpillarHold the CandleSpider and the ChickSnake and the PuppetThe Optical TowerBookshelf RatsSnakeFeather of a Raven

Defining Quality I loaded up a U-Haul trailer with what I considered to be high-quality designs: a Danish Modern dining set; a long, teak credenza; and, the fun surprise of the haul, a Packard Bell Stereophonic HiFi console. It wasn’t until I got these pieces home and, with some awkwardness, attempted to bring them into harmony with my existing belongings, that I began to wonder why I was so into this stuff. Why was it my default position—and that of most people who geek out over furniture—to call anything Eames-era “quality”? For that matter, what does it mean when we say that anything is quality? Not long ago, Ben Greenman of the New Yorker tweeted, “There should be a second word for quality, since so many things people say are good aren’t, and vice versa.” When I asked him to elaborate, he told me that, yes, it’s bothersome that everything is “stamped with a label, with a Metacritic score,” but even more exhausting is that these labels are assigned so eagerly. And it’s true. Image from

Why Fighting For Our Ideas Makes Them Better After studying newlyweds for just a short period of time, psychology researcher Dr. John Gottman can predict whether the couple will be together in five years with over 90 percent accuracy. So how does he do it? It turns out that creative teams – and their ideas – are no exception. A significant body of research now suggests that conflict among teams is good, especially when that fighting is focused around creative ideas. When a project is being developed, but isn’t fully formed, criticism and constructive conflict are vital to testing the value of the ideas and helping increase that value. When a project is being developed, but isn’t fully formed, criticism and constructive conflict are vital to testing the value of the ideas. Consider one study by a team of researchers led by Charlan Nemeth of UC Berkeley. Each team was tasked with generating ideas for the same challenge: how to reduce traffic congestion in the San Francisco Bay Area. The idea of structured debate isn’t new.

Nine Steps for Creating and Maintaining Team Ownership of Ideas and Goals As a leader you know results and productivity are higher when people are committed to their work. You also know higher levels of commitment or engagement also increase job satisfaction, safety performance and focus while reducing on-the-job stress and turnover. Commitment, engagement or buy-in – whatever you want to call – it’s a good thing. One sure-fire way to increase all those things is for people to feel ownership of something. The question you might ask is how do you do that? It is an important question, and I’m glad you asked. The Nine Steps Be genuine. Will these nine steps guarantee that your team will feel 100% ownership and commitment to what is said? Unfortunately, no. However, using these steps will significantly increase the engagement, belief and, yes, ownership people feel in the ideas, goals and next steps created through this process. Think about a situation, big and complex or even simpler and safer, where you can apply these ideas.

A Bias against 'Quirky'? Why Creative People Can Lose Out on Leadership Positions Creativity is good — and more critical than ever in business. So why do so many once-creative companies get bogged down over time, with continuous innovation the exception and not the norm? Wharton management professor Jennifer Mueller and colleagues from Cornell University and the Indian School of Business have gained critical insight into why. In a paper titled, “Recognizing Creative Leadership: Can Creative Idea Expression Negatively Relate to Perceptions of Leadership Potential?” That reality should be of concern to those who sit in corporate boardrooms around the globe. But understanding the need for creativity within a large company is not the same as actually fostering it. The group found a significant correlation between being creative and being seen as poor management material. ‘Idea Pitcher’ vs. That finding was borne out in a second study. According to Mueller, these findings are consistent with how people have traditionally defined business leadership in the past.