Tag Archives | creativity

Adventures in Cooking

In August 2004, after my very first day of law school, I walked across the street in the evening to the Pepperdine Law cafeteria to unexpectedly find that it closed after lunch.  Apparently they expected law students to be self-sufficient… who knew?  I immediately called my mother because I had no idea what to do next.  In case you’re wondering, I was an Resident Assistant at Bethel University and lived in a dorm through my senior year–I always went to the cafeteria with my floor.

People are often surprised to learn that I can cook for myself.  Yes, it’s true.  I guess I was forced into it. Continue Reading →

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Choosing to be Curious

Albert Einstein famously said: “I have no special gift – I am only passionately curious.”

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What set Einstein apart as a leader in physics and icon of intellect? Curiosity was a key ingredient.

Curiosity is magnetic.  When people are curious about something, it’s enjoyable to be around and also sparks our own curiosity.  But, what does it mean to be curious and how do cultivate it?

Continue Reading →

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Discipline Breeds Creativity

Artist Makoto Fujimura reflected in his book Refractions about the process of creativity.  His remarks concluded that to remain creative, requires going in day after day to his studio and painting whether he’s inspired or not.   He found it tends to surprise him, sometimes when he has nothing in mind to paint, yet a work of art will naturally come through the process.  To this he attributed discipline.

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Today is one of those days where I have nothing to write.  I wanted to write, but I don’t feel particularly inspired.  Over the last two weeks, I’ve been pushing hard a much bigger project that I’ve yet to share about on here.   Directly or indirectly, the project has consumed nearly all of my time and even required a few late nights .  I’ve been writing, editing video, and doing graphic design work.  It’s been a creative drain–in a good and fulfilling way. Continue Reading →

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Life is an Adventure or Nothing Else

“Adventure”–I love the word.  It’s one of my favorites.  It conjures up images of entering the unknown, danger, and even far-flung places.

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Yet, I think we’ve come to condemn “adventure” as foolhardy, vain, and even purposeless (for example, rafting the Nile in Uganda).  I’ve heard the voyages of others described as: “They just wants to go to Africa because they’re looking for an adventure,” as opposed to the good that one might accomplish.  We now have “adventure travel” and “adventure racing,” as if the idea of adventure is a separate segment of life for wanderers and risk seekers.

Maybe we need more adventure in our lives.  As Helen Keller once stated: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” Continue Reading →

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Need a Creative Boost? Go for a Run.

I just finished a mountain bike ride followed by a long run.  It felt good, but what felt even better was that I came home with fresh new ideas and projects.  What struck me today was not my new ideas, but that this sense of creativity on my bike ride isn't new.  As a matter of fact, my best ideas come when I'm riding my mountain bike.  (I don't know why it's my mountain bike specifically).  I also come home with brimming with creative ideas when I run, swim, and surf.

Why is that?!  I had to find out.

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A study conducted in 2005 on college students showed that aerobic exercise boots creativity.  Not only does it boost immediate creativity, but it has a 2-hour long residual effect.  The stimulating effects of aerobic exercise on cognitive function have long been understood, but focusing on creativity broke new ground.

Unfortunately, exercise is no quick fix.  If you want to boost your creativity, you better start getting in shape.  Those out of shape found that discomfort neutralized the creative process.  When I travel and haven't worked out for awhile, I can tell that creativity doesn't flow.

Looking throughout history, some of the most creative people were often regular athletes.  Ben Franklin was noted for his athleticism, particularly swimming.  (I learned that on one swim who took one of his experimental kites and dragged himself across a lake — which may make Franklin the first kitesurfer!)  Thomas Jefferson, a man of great accomplishment and creativity, also attributed exercise to fueling his mental capacity.  Jefferson wrote, "The sovereign invigorator of the body is exercise…" and also recommended ample time for exercise, saying "Leave all the afternoon for exercise and recreation, which are as necessary as reading."

I can't wait tomorrow afternoon workout and what ideas will come to me then.

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Creativity Arriving in “Thunderous Trains of Air”

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One of my favorite TED Talks is by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat Pray Love.

What I enjoyed about her talk was what she learned from American poet Ruth Stone about finding inspiration.  Gilbert said of Stone’s creative process:

As [Stone] was growing up in rural Virginia, she would be out, working in the fields and she would feel and hear a poem coming at her from over the landscape. It was like a thunderous train of air and it would come barreling down at her over the landscape. And when she felt it coming…cause it would shake the earth under her feet, she knew she had only one thing to do at that point. That was to, in her words, run like hell to the house as she would be chased by this poem. The whole deal was that she had to get to a piece of paper fast enough so that when it thundered through her, she could collect it and grab it on the page. Other times she wouldn’t be fast enough, so she would be running and running, and she wouldn’t get to the house, and the poem would barrel through her and she would miss it, and it would continue on across the landscape looking for ‘another poet’. And then there were these times, there were moments where she would almost miss it. She is running to the house and is looking for the paper and the poem passes through her. She grabs a pencil just as it’s going through her and she would reach out with her other hand and she would catch it. She would catch the poem by its tail and she would pull it backwards into her body as she was transcribing on the page. In those instances, the poem would come up on the page perfect and intact, but backwards, from the last word to the first.

I appreciate Stones remarks because I know the feeling.  I’m sure that a lot of you know the feeling too.

This morning, the seed of a theme that I’ve been wanting to write about started to sprout–like the first light puff of air in morning that sends ripples across a lake.  The seed has been planted for awhile, but the connecting thread had yet to start winding its way through the would-be patchwork of ideas. The first train of air hit me in church this morning, so I grabbed the bulletin and a pen and began scribbling.  The second thundering train hit me this evening as I was mountain biking.  Two miles into the Santa Monica Mountains, I hurried home to catch its tail before it went looking for someone else.  I’ve lost many ideas this way before.

I hope to start writing on the theme in a couple weeks.

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