May 19, 2021
76 Provocative Quotes on Uncertainty and Letting Go

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"I spent a lot of years trying to outrun or outsmart vulnerability by making things certain and definite, black and white, good and bad. My inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limited the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty: Love, belonging, trust, joy, and creativity to name a few." - Brene Brown

"The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning. Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers." - Erich Fromm

"I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity." - Gilda Radner

"As human beings, not only do we seek resolution, but we also feel that we deserve resolution. However, not only do we not deserve resolution, we suffer from resolution. We don't deserve resolution; we deserve something better than that. We deserve our birthright, which is the middle way, an open state of mind that can relax with paradox and ambiguity." - Pema Chodron

"Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." - Helen Keller

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"I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer." - Rainer Maria Rilke

"I'm working on my own life story. I don't mean I'm putting it together; no, I'm taking it apart. It's mostly a question of editing. If you'd wanted the narrative line you should have asked earlier, when I still knew everything and was more than willing to tell." - Margaret Atwood

"It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work, and that when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings." - Wendell Berry

"Let go of certainty. The opposite isn't uncertainty. It's openness, curiosity and a willingness to embrace paradox, rather than choose up sides. The ultimate challenge is to accept ourselves exactly as we are, but never stop trying to learn and grow." - Tony Schwartz

"Now that we have met with paradox we have some hope of making progress." - Niels Bohr

"Old Newtonian physics claimed that things have an objective reality separate from our perception of them. Quantum physics, and particularly Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, reveal that, as our perception of an object changes, the object itself literally changes." - Marianne Williamson

"I took a test in Existentialism. I left all the answers blank and got 100." - Woody Allen

"Everything you've learned in school as 'obvious' becomes less and less obvious as you begin to study the universe. For example, there are no solids in the universe. There's not even a suggestion of a solid. There are no absolute continuums. There are no surfaces. There are no straight lines." - Buckminster Fuller

"And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." - Anais Nin

"There's no such thing as a completely fresh start. Everything new arrives on the heels of something old, and every new beginning comes at the cost of an ending." - Jennifer E. Smith

"I learned that it was in hard times that people usually changed the course of their life; in good times, they frequently only talked about change. Hard times forced them to overcome the doubts that normally gave them pause. It surprised me how often we hold ourselves back until we have no choice." - Po Bronson

"All you have to do is to pay attention; lessons always arrive when you are ready, and if you can read the signs, you will learn everything you need to know in order to take the next step." - Paulo Coelho

"The silence between the notes makes the music. And lest we forget, the longer the silence, the more incredibly beautiful and powerful the music when it finally swells and the symphony goes on." - Brianna West

"There are far, far better things out there than any we leave behind." - C.S. Lewis

"The longing for certainty is in every human mind. But certainty is generally illusion." - Oliver Wendell Holmes

"The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably deal with." - Tony Robbins

"One doesn't discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time." - Andre Gide

"I can live with doubt and uncertainty. I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing that have have answers which might be wrong." - Richard P. Feynman

"The future is uncertain, but this uncertainty is at the very heart of human creativity." - Ilya Prigogine

"Where the fog is thickest, begin." - Marty Rubin

"Madness is the result not of uncertainty, but of certainty." - Friedrich Nietzsche

"Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security there is." - John Allen Paulos

"For my part, I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars, makes me dream." - Vincent Van Gogh

"Sometimes you just have to try, even if you know it won't work." - Junot Diaz

"All of life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Uncertainty will always be part of the taking charge process." - Harold Geneen

"All great changes are preceded by chaos." - Deepak Chopra

"Life is a good teacher and a good friend. Things are always in transition, if we could only realize it. Nothing ever sums itself up in the way that we like to dream about. The off-center, in-between state is an ideal situation, a situation in which we don't get caught and we can open our hearts and minds beyond limit. It's a very tender, non-aggressive, open-ended state of affairs." - Pema Chodron

"To be uncertain is to be uncomfortable, but to be certain is to be ridiculous." - Chinese proverb

"The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty, not knowing what comes next." - Ursula Le Guin

"Faith means living with uncertainty, feeling your way through life, letting your heart guide you like a lantern in the dark." - Dan Millman

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are so confident while the intelligent are full of doubt." - Bertrand Russell

"It's a dark place, not knowing. It's difficult to surrender to. But I guess it's where we live most of the time. I guess it's where we all live, so maybe it doesn't have to be so lonely. Maybe I can settle into it, cozy up to it, make a home inside uncertainty." - Nina LaCour

"Give your heart permission to let go of the need for certainty and leave space for the unknown." - Amber Cantorna

"So what do we do? Anything. Something. So long as we just don't sit there. If we screw it up, start over. Try something else. If we wait until we've satisfied all the uncertainties, it may be too late." - Lee Iacocca

"As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality." - Albert Einstein

"A truth which comes to us from outside always bears the stamp of uncertainty. We can believe only what appears to each one of us in our own hearts as truth." - Rudolf Steiner

"If you aren't in the moment, you are either looking forward to uncertainty, or back to pain and regret." - Jim Carrey

"I think if a poet wanted to lead, he or she would want the message to be unequivocally clear and free of ambiguity. Whereas poetry is actually the home of ambiguity, ambivalence and uncertainty." - Billy Collins

"There will be very few occasions when you are absolutely certain about anything. You will consistently be called upon to make decisions with limited information. That being the case, your goal should not be to eliminate uncertainty. Instead, you must develop the art of being clear in the face of uncertainty." - Andy Stanley

"The thing about aging is all your old lovers, pretty much if they were really friends, become your family. It's great. You have those terrible feelings of possessiveness and uncertainty go out the window. You have what you shared. You know you would help each other in times of trouble no matter what." - Gloria Steinem

"In conditions of uncertainty, humans, like other animals, herd together for protection." - James Surowiecki

"Maturity, one discovers, has everything to do with the acceptance of not knowing." - Mark Danielewski

"Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don't." - Steve Maraboli

"What's right is what's left if you do everything else wrong." - Robin Williams

"Not everything needs to be fixed." - Randy Pausch

"It is impossible for you to go on as you were before, so you must go on as you never have." - Cheryl Strayed

"Those who have a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how'." - Viktor E. Frankl

"Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go." - Hermann Hesse

"When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us." - Alexander Graham Bell

"To let go is to release the images and emotions, the grudges and fears, the clingings and disappointments of the past that bind our spirit."
- Jack Kornfield

"When you follow your bliss... doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors; and where there wouldn't be a door for anyone else." - Joseph Campbell

"When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need." - Lao Tzu

"This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment. First to let go of life. Finally, to take a step without feet." - Rumi

"We must be willing to let go of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us." - Joseph Campbell

"Stop acting as if life is a rehearsal. Live this day as if it were your last. The past is over and gone. The future is not guaranteed." - Wayne Dyer

"Don't dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energy moving forward together towards an answer." - Denis Waitley

"You've got to make a conscious choice every day to shed the old - whatever 'the old' means for you." - Sarah Ban Breathnach

"Anything I cannot transform into something marvelous, I let go." - Anais Nin

"When people are ready to, they change. They never do it before then, and sometimes they die before they get around to it. You can't make them change if they don't want to, just like when they do want to, you can't stop them." - Andy Warhol

"The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance." - Alan W. Watts

"Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself." - Rumi

"Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything." - George Bernard Shaw

"Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like." - Lao Tzu

"All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride." - Sophocles

"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T. S. Eliot

"Death is not the biggest fear we have; our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive and express what we really are." - Miguel Angel Ruiz

"You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can't get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you're doing. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover will be yourself." - Alan Alda

"Things do not grow better; they remain as they are. It is we who grow better, by the changes we make in ourselves." - Swami Vivekananda

"You can't go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending." - C.S. Lewis

"It's not because things are difficult that we dare not venture. It's because we dare not venture that they are difficult." - Seneca

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A funny story about not knowing
A story about trust against all odds

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:26 PM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2021
25 Simple Ways to Free Up Your Innate Creativity

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Most people agree that creativity is a good thing. Accordingly, they want to know how they can become more creative. Makes sense, right? The question, however, is a tricky one, not unlike asking "How can I have a good marriage?" or "How can I become a better human being?" There are hundreds of answers and often different strokes for different folks.

Bottom line, there is no blueprint, no follow-the-dots instructions in this realm. But there are some simple principles and guidelines to consider. Below are 25 of them (and all it takes is ONE to get unstuck).

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1. Ask yourself WHY you want to become more creative: If you don't know the answer to this question, the rest of the guidelines that follow will be nothing more than fairy dust. What's in it for you? Why make the effort to become more creative?

2. Realize you already ARE creative: Most of us are subject to the myth that only some people are creative. Writers, artists, musicians, and filmmakers get lots of points for being creative, as opposed to accountants, tax auditors, and engineers. Hey folks, everyone is creative. The only thing is that sometimes our creativity gets obscured by years of funky habits, programming, and conditioning. Psychologists tell us that a human being is most creative at the age of five. After that, it's a slow and steady decline into conventionality. What are the characteristics of a five-year old and how can you bring more of those to bear during this time of the Coronavirus?

3. Identify what blocks your creativity: When Michelangelo was asked how he made his iconic statue, The David, he explained, "I simply took away everything that wasn't." To him, the statue was already in the stone. All he needed to do was remove everything in the way. What is blocking your creativity, these days? And what can you do to remove it?

4. Remember a time when you were creative: All of us have had times in our life when our creativity was flowing. The conditions were ripe for us to do our best thinking/creating. What was that time in your life? And what can you do to bring more of these conditions to bear during these odd times?

5. Define what you mean by "creative": If you Google the phrase "Definitions of Creativity", you'll find 53,900,000 entries. "Creativity" means different things to different people. What does it mean to you?

6. Identify a project you want to be creative about: If you don't have a project that inspires you enough to apply your creativity to, your effort to become more creative will be vague, at best. You need to have some skin in the game. What is the project you would most like to infuse with a renewed dose of creativity? (HINT: The best way to do this is to frame your project in the form of a question that begins with the words "How can I?")

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7. Immerse: Creative people, no matter what their field, have the ability to dive in and stay with a project for long periods of time. They don't just hit and run. Instead, they become completely absorbed in their effort and it is often their state of absorption that is their secret sauce. That's why Einstein said, "It's not that I'm so smart. It's just that I stay with problems longer." How can, you create the time to immerse in your most inspired project?

8. Reframe failure: Creative people are less afraid of making mistakes than most people. They realize that creativity is a volume business -- that many experiments are needed and that trial and error comes with the territory. When Thomas Edison was asked how it felt to fail 800 times before coming up with tungsten as the filament for the light bulb, his reply said it all: "Fail? I didn't fail once. I learned 800 times, what didn't work." How can you launch more experiments? How can you embrace failure more than you currently do?

9. Go beyond your limiting assumptions: Often, the suppositions that we make at the beginning of a project are completely fictitious, a function of our past experiences and false beliefs. Creative people have a knack for being less bound by limiting assumptions than most people. This state of open-mindedness allows them to proceed in ways that open up new territories to explore. What is your biggest limiting assumption about your most exciting project? What can you do to go over, around, or through this assumptions?

10. Stay inspired and fascinated: I know of very few depressed people who are consistently creative. And while it's true, that creative people can sometimes get depressed, they don't dwell in that state for very long. What are three ways you can stay inspired and fascinated about your hottest, new venture?

11. Ask WHAT IF: Creative people have a unique ability to go beyond the status quo. One way they do that is by asking powerful questions -- questions that challenge the status quo and open up totally new horizons. The simplest question to ask in this regard is "What if?" What aspects of your work, these days, might benefit from asking "what if?"

12. Make connections between seemingly disparate elements: One of the qualities of a creative thinker is the ability to synthesize -- to see new connections between this, that and the other thing. What is MTV? Simply the connection between music and television. Drive-in banking? The connection between cars and banking. The Bloody Mary? Vodka and tomato juice. Most of us are so much "in our boxes" that we too infrequently connect A + B to get C. Tunnel vision has a hold of us. How can you combine two seemingly unrelated variables to create a new product, service or better way of doing business?

13. See through others' eyes: One of the biggest obstacles to creativity is our odd little habit of viewing everything through our own eyes/lenses/filters. Addicted to our own point of view, we tend to be constrained by our habitual ways of perceiving. The simplest way to free yourself from this constraint is to look at your problem, project, or opportunity through the eyes of someone else. What if Willie Nelson was responsible for solving your problem? Stevie Wonder? Rosa Parks? Oprah Winfrey? How would any one of these people go about it? And what clues do you get from their approach?

14. Pay attention to your subconscious: Many brilliant ideas come to people off line, in dreams, or in surprise moments when they're not trying to figure things out. What happen is this: the conscious, problem-solving part of our mind hits a wall and gets stuck. That's when the problem gets turned over to our subconscious mind. That's how Elias Howe's invention of the lock stitch sewing machine happened. That's how Rene Descartes came up with the Scientific Method. And that's what Seymour Cray, the inventor of the Cray Supercomputer, attributed his success to -- the ability to walk away from a problem and let his subconscious mind do the work. Where and when do you get your best ideas away from work?

15. Suspend logic and linearity: Most of us think deeply. We like to problem solve and, more often than not, we are rational beings -- so called "left-brainers." Buut there are times, in the creative process, especially in the beginning, when too much logic gets in the way. We also have a right-brain that needs to be exercised -- the associative, playful, non-rational side of ourselves How can you suspend logic and linearity for a while? In what ways can you allow more time to consider that which is beyond the rational?

16. Trust your instincts, intuition, and hunches: Albert Einstein once said, "Not everything that counts can be counted; and not everything that can be counted, counts." Indeed, he used to conduct what he called thought experiments, a fancy name for daydreaming, whenever he needed a breakthrough. Simply put, he trusted the intuitive part of himself. What is your intuition telling your most creative project? How can you trust this intuitions more than you usually do?

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17. Entertain the fantastic: Gary Kasparov, the former Soviet Union Grand Chess Master, had the ability to strategize 26 moves ahead. But when, in 1989, he was asked what enabled him to beat Big Blue, IBM's mainframe computer, in a two game chess match, he attributed his success to "the ability to fantasize" -- to be able to make a quantum leap of thought. Einstein, too, was a big proponent of fantasizing and is famous for having said "the ability to fantasize has meant more to me than my ability to absorb positive knowledge." How can you make more time to dream big these days of the Coronavirus?

18. Collaborate: Some people assume that creativity is the result of a lone wolf genius inhabiting some kind of ivory tower. And while this sometimes happens, it is mostly a myth. Often, creativity is informed by the so-called lone wolf genius being in relationship to people -- i.e. jamming, brainstorming, and getting feedback. This kind of variable input has the potential to spark all kinds of insights and ahas. How can you increase the amount of creative collaboration in your life? Who might you ask to join forces with you this week to develop a new idea or possibility?

19. Have fun: This just in! The words "aha" and "haha" are very much related. In the aha moment, the person with the epiphany gets surprised about a given outcome. He/she becomes dislocated from their normal assumptions, i.e. Archimedes in the bathtub and Newton under the apple tree. The "haha" moment is similar. Indeed, the reason why most of us laugh is because our expectations have been disrupted by the storyteller or comedian. This surprise moment sparks an involuntary reaction called "laughter." Creativity and humor are joined at the hip. Get too serious and too sober and you diminish the odds of creativity flourishing. In what ways can you infuse your life with more humor and playfulness these days?

20. Look for happy accidents: Do you know what penicillin, vulcanized rubber, Post-It Notes have in common? They were all the results of accidents in the lab. They were not planned. They were not the result of a brainstorming session. They showed up unannounced. But instead of being dismissed as a mistake, the innovators associated with these discoveries, got curious. They paid attention. And they played around with this so-called mistake until they discovered its commercial value. Research indicates, in fact, that 75% of all product and service breakthroughs are the results of serendipity, surprise, and happy accidents. What have you been noticing in your life that others may have dismissed as a mistake or failure, when, in fact, it might be the clue you have been looking for?

21. Change environments: Sometimes, the simplest way to spark creativity when you are feeling stuck is to change environments. Socrates knew this. That's why he invented his "Peripatetic School of Education" -- a way to "walk the talk." Indeed, that's why many people get their best ideas during or after exercising. Where can you go, to refresh and renew yourself, whenever you are feeling stuck?

22. Be comfortable with ambiguity: Creating something new is not a function of an algorithm or sequential process. It often requires a lot of time spent not knowing or being confused or not having all the answers. This is why Tom Peters, innovation provocateur, likes to say that "innovation is a messy business." Yup. It is messy. And frustrating. And non-linear. And it often requires some time in the chaos zone. If you are not mindful of this phenomenon, you will likely grab onto the "first right idea" just to diminish your discomfort. In what ways can you stay with ambiguity longer than you usually do when working on a challenging project?

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23. Acknowledge your progress:
Creating something new is often a frustrating phenomenon. Results don't always come quickly. As a result, we sometimes get discouraged, enter into a cranky mindset, and lose our inspiration. The simplest way to neutralize this phenomenon is to take a few minutes at the end of each day to pause and acknowledge whatever progress you have made that day, no matter how small. Think of a project of yours that has been especially frustrating. What progress have you made on this project recently?

24. Give and receive feedback: Sometimes, creative people are on the right track, but their addiction to "being right" gets in the way. What they need to do, at times like this, is get some simple feedback from their peers -- another point of view. All too often, however, we interpret feedback as "criticism", so we're not open to it. Ouch! In what ways can you get more feedback from someone you trust?

25. Honor the polarities: People aspiring to become more creative, especially those who are time-crunched, would love there to be some kind of blueprint to follow. Guess what? There isn't. It doesn't exist. And even if it did exist, it would include contradictory directions. That's because the act of "being creative" is often a contradictory process. That's why Niels Bohr, the Nobel-prize winning physicist, once said: "Now that we have met with paradox, we have some hope of making progress." To the creative person, their process is not either/or. It's both. Below is a short list of some classic contradictions/paradoxes that creative people experience. Any of them familiar to you?

- Patience/impatience
- Solitude/collaboration
- Urgency/relaxation
- Seriousness/playfulness
- Divergence/convergence

What other contradictions/paradoxes do you experience in your own creative process? What can you do to honor them more than you currently do?

Jump Start Creativity
Idea Champions
MitchDitkoff.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:13 AM | Comments (0)

May 14, 2021
50 Awesome Quotes on Possibility

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1. "Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." - St. Francis of Assisi

2. "Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." - Lewis Carroll

3. "I'm grateful for always this moment, the now, no matter what form it takes." - Eckart Tolle

4. "In order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd." - Miguel de Cervantes

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5. "The secret of life is to have a task, something you devote your entire life to, something you bring everything to, every minute of the day for the rest of your life. And the most important thing is, it must be something you cannot possibly do." - Henry Moore

6. "It's kind of fun to do the impossible!" - Walt Disney

7. "Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't." - Mark Twain

8. "What is now proved, was once only imagined." - William Blake

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9."There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the ground. There are a thousand ways to go home again." - Rumi

10. "The limits of the possible can only be defined by going beyond them into the impossible." - Arthur C. Clarke

11. "Never tell a young person that anything cannot be done. God may have been waiting centuries for someone ignorant enough of the impossible to do that very thing." - John Andrew Holmes

12. "Whether you believe you can or not, you're right." - Henry Ford

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13. "God created a number of possibilities in case some of his prototypes failed. That is the meaning of evolution." - Graham Greene

14. "Most people are not really free. They are confined by the niche in the world that they carve out for themselves. They limit themselves to fewer possibilities by the narrowness of their vision." - V.S. Naipaul

15. "I don't regret a single excess of my responsive youth. I only regret, in my chilled age, certain occasions and possibilities I didn't embrace." - Henry James

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16. "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few." - Shunryu Suzuki

17. "The future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious." - John Sculley

18. "One's only rival is one's own potentialities. One's only failure is failing to live up to one's own possibilities. In this sense, every man can be a king, and must therefore be treated like a king." - Abraham Maslow

19. "When nothing is sure, everything is possible."> - Margaret Drabble

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20. "We all have possibilities we don't know about. We can do things we don't even dream we can do." - Dale Carnegie

21. "An optimist expects his dreams to come true; a pessimist expects his nightmares to." - Laurence J. Peter

22. "The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react." - George Bernard Shaw

23. "Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand." - Albert Einstein

24. "I am neither an optimist nor pessimist, but a possibilist." - Max Lerner

25. "If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never. And what wine is so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating, as possibility!"- Soren Kierkegaard

26. "All things are possible until they are proved impossible. Even the impossible may only be so, as of now." - Pearl S. Buck

27. "Until you're ready to look foolish, you'll never have the possibility of being great." - Cher

28. "This has always been a motto of mine: Attempt the impossible in order to improve your work." - Bette Davis

29. "You and I are essentially infinite choice-makers. In every moment of our existence, we are in that field of all possibilities where we have access to an infinity of choices."- Deepak Chopra

30. "Some people see things as they are and say 'Why?' I dream of things that never were and say 'Why not?'" - George Bernard Shaw

31. "The thing the sixties did was to show us the possibilities and the responsibility that we all had. It wasn't the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility." - John Lennon

32. "I love those who yearn for the impossible." - Goethe

33. "Every man is an impossibility until he is born." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

34. "If you can't, you must. If you must, you can." - Tony Robbins

35. "A likely impossibility is always preferable to an unconvincing possibility." - Aristotle

36. "If someone says can't, that shows you what to do." - John Cage

37. "You must do the thing you think you cannot do." - Eleanor Roosevelt

38. "Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today." - Mark Twain

39. "Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done." - Louis D. Brandeis

40. "The possible's slow fuse is lit by the imagination." - Emily Dickinson

41. "I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it." - Pablo Picasso

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42. "If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves." - Thomas Edison

43. "Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart." - Rumi

44. If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours." - Henry David Thoreau

45. "Everything you can imagine in real." - Picasso

46. "Everything that is done in the world is done by hope." - Martin Luther

47. "Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today." - James Dean

48. "I don't dream at night, I dream all day. I dream for a living."
- Steven Spielberg

49. "The shell must break before the bird can fly." - Alfred Lord Tennyson

50. "If not you, who? If not now, when?" - Rabbi Hillel

Al Siraat College
Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:11 PM | Comments (2)

May 11, 2021
101 Reasons Why You Definitely Won't Read This Blog Post

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I know you have no time. YOU know you have no time. I know you're not gonna do anything you don't wanna do. YOU know you're not gonna do anything you don't wanna do. We both know you're not going to read this blog post. It's too long and you have more important things to do.

What follows are 101 other reasons why you won't read this blog post.

1. You don't want to.
2. You're late for a very important date.
3. You can't think of a way to monetize the experience.
4. You don't like blog postings with clever, little titles.
5. You don't know how to read.

6. You think you'll catch Covid-19 by reading it

7. Someone stole your identity and you don't know who you are.

8. You've got to walk the dog.

9. You are wary of any list longer than ten.

10. Something is beeping just a few feet away from you, but you can't seem to find it.

11. It's none of my business.

12. You have to get to the bathroom... meeting... dry cleaners... grocery store... movie theater).
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13. You just had three shots of tequila and when you read the title you thought it said, "50 Seasons You Won't Seed the Post Toastie."

14. You're obsessing about cash flow.

15. You've got to check your kid's Facebook messages again -- especially after reading last night's really rude ones from those 497 FB friends you've never met.

16. You're out of range.
17. You're out of time.
18. You're out of money.
19. You're out of your mind.
20. You're out of excuses.

21. Anytime anybody comes off as seeming to know what you will do or won't do, you immediately do the opposite, (but you're wise to me and realize that you'd be playing into my hands by doing the opposite, so you are not reading this, which, by the way, was exactly what I predicted.)

22. You associate lists like this with superficial feature stories in Vogue or Glamour.

23. You realize that the entire universe is an illusion.

24. You need a break.

25. You took a break and now you're broke.

26. You have ADD or the latest medical condition invented by the pharmaceutical industry to sell you more drugs your health plan won't cover.

27. You have an acute case of blogitis.

28. You'd rather tweet.

29. You're late for your session with your therapist.

30. Your therapist would rather tweet.

31. You've got to check your Match.com page to see if anyone wants to go for a long walk with you on the beach.

32. You've got to change your e-Harmony profile. You haven't gotten an email from anyone in weeks.

33. You're thinking of starting your own business.

34. You're thinking of starting your own blog.

35. It's time to meditate.

36. You have an undeniable need to eat chocolate, but can't find anything in the house. Wait a minute! What about that Baker's Chocolate on the back shelf?

37. The oil spill has reached your front door.

38. You're too busy complaining to anyone who will listen about Facebook's privacy policies or lack thereof.

39. Your still trying to figure out how I could possible give away, for free, a ten-year trial subscription to Free the Genie.

40. These two bloggers walk into a bar.

41. Anyone here from Cleveland?

42. You're waiting for this posting to come out as a YouTube video.

43. You've only got two minutes left of battery life and if you don't book a cheap flight to Chicago, you're screwed.

44. You're certain it's all part of a vast right wing conspiracy.

45. Your wife/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend/mother/father/kids are on your case for spending too much time on the computer.

46. You're in the Federal Witness Protection Program and are convinced someone will track you down for reading this.

47. The tea kettle is whistling.

48. You're trying to figure out if the Isle of Langerhans is in the Carribean or your pancreas.

49. You're waiting for your assistant to bring you the Executive Overview.

50. You're waiting to be important enough to have an assistant.

51. You're waiting for Godot.

52. You're a waiter and your shift starts in ten minutes.

53. The BIG GAME is on.

54. You're suspicious of anything that can't be reduced to 140 characters.

55. You're still counting hanging chads.

56. You live in New York City and have to move your car to the other side of the street.

57. It's not part of your 12-Step program.

58. Even though you had that fabulous laser surgery on both your eyes, you can't seem to find your new, inexpensive reading glasses.

59. You've just figured out how much it's going to cost to send your kids to college.

60. The Ambien's kicking in.

61. A Jehovah's Witness is at your door.

62. The pizza guy is at your door.

63. You suddenly realize you didn't order pizza.

64. Maybe it's a serial killer at your door -- not exactly the perfect time to be reading 100 reasons why you won't read this.

65. The moon is in Aquarius.

66. Your mind is in the gutter.

67. You're downloading free iPhone apps you will never use.

68. You're trying to figure out what Apple's next product that begins with "I" will be (I-Give-Up?, I-Matey?, I-Coulda-Been-A-Contenda?).

69. It's been five minutes since you've logged onto Facebook.

70. Karma.

71. You think blogging is a fad.

72. Nostradamus didn't predict it.

73. It's not in the Bible.

74. You are obsessing about something Trump did, didn't do, will do, or won't do.

75. You're a big fan of Sarah Palin.

76. You read my last list of 100 things and you figure that one list of 100 from someone named Ditkoff is enough.

77. You're not as open to possibility as you think you are.

78. See # 61.

79. You just got pulled over by a state trooper who saw you about to read my blog while doing 55 mph in a hospital zone.

80. You weren't breast fed.

81. You were thinking about the need your company has to establish a sustainable culture of innovation -- the kind that would make it much easier for everyone to bring the best of their innate creativity to the table on a daily basis.

82. There's something about blogs that put you off. I mean, don't these people have anything better to do?

83. You're trying to figure out how to start a home business.

84. You are suspicious. Very suspicious. You've always been suspicious.

85. Someone's on Line 2.

86. You think there must be some kind of marketing campaign behind this and I'm probably gearing up to sell you something you don't need -- and even if you did need it, clicking this link would end up getting you a whole bunch of emails that have nothing to do with your real interest (which is to read the next item on this fabulous list of 100 reasons why you won't read this fabulous list). I rest my case.

87. You've just been acquired by Google.

88. You figure that anyone who would bother writing a list of 100 reasons why you wouldn't read the list he wrote is either insane, unemployed, or your brother-in-law.

89. BTW, if you know of a good publisher who would be interested in publishing my next book, "The Book of Last Days," let me know.

90. You live on an asteroid.

91. Your hemorrhoids are acting up.

92. You've heard it said that reading long blog postings written by total strangers leads to the "harder stuff."

93. You're afraid of commitment. Always have been.

94. You haven't read my last book yet.

95. You have more important things to do. (Then again, you always say that.)

96. You really need to get back to writing your screenplay.

97. Someone just mentioned you look a lot like Johnny Depp and you've got to find an agent fast.

98. You majored in economics.

99. Bottles of beer on the wall.

100. You're totally immersed in your Year of Living Creatively project and have no time left for silly things like reading this ridiculous, way-too-long, non-sequitur, rambling, over-caffeinated, unhinged, partly insane, yet humorous-at-times blog post.

101. You're busy making lists of people you know would love to enroll in the next Year of Living Creatively course, which starts on May 23rd, because you have a great love for humanity, especially your friends and family who, it is very clear, would greatly benefit from the modestly priced and highly effective course developed by Mitch Ditkoff who rarely ever markets his services in odd ways, like, for example, the 101st entry on a list of reasons why you won't read his blog post. By the way, if three people you refer to the course end up enrolling, the afore-mentioned Mitch will bestow a free tuition to the fourth person -- which you can redeem as late as the September 12th course.

MitchDitkoff.com
My free, online creative thinking tool
My storytelling blog
TimelessToday

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:06 PM | Comments (11)

May 07, 2021
APPLIED CREATIVITY: A New Book by Mitch Ditkoff

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You know what I just realized? I wrote a book without realizing it. Really. For the past 11 years, I've been writing a series of articles on creativity for my Heart of Innovation blog. Then, semi-caffeinated, just a few weeks ago, it dawned on me that, hidden within my blog, not unlike the white arrow hidden in the FedEx logo, was something unseen -- an entire book. Like a 250-page book. I'm in the process, now, of editing it.

If you would like an alert when it's available, simply email office@ideachampions.com. I promise not to sell, rent, barter, or give away your email address. I will treat it with utmost confidentiality.

What follows are 82 of the 100 chapters in the book. If one of them strikes your fancy and you'd like to read it, shoot me an email (mitch@ideachampions.com) and I will send you the link before hell freezes over.

1. The Hero's Journey and the Creative Process
2. Ask for All the Help You Need to Create Something New
3. The Six Sides of the So-Called Box
4. Insect Sex: Why You Need to Ask Why
5. The Creativity Manifesto

6. An Invitation to Dive Deeper Into Your Own Creative Process
7. Idea Brahmacharaya
8. Skillset vs. Mindset
9. The Challenge Most Creative People Face
10. One Hundred Lame Excuses for Not Innovating

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11. Fifty Two Quotes on the Creative Process
12. Why Tell Stories?
13. Twenty Reasons Why People Get Their Best Ideas in the Shower
14. What Does It Take to Learn Anything New From Somebody Else?
15. The Beauty of Feedback. (It's Not a Weapon. It's a Mirror).

16. Thirty Two Quotes on Mastery
17. The Art of Non-Judgmental Listening
18. To Create the Future, See Hidden Patterns and Challenge Them
19. Twenty Five Simple Ways to Free Up Your Creativity
20. Try to Love the Questions

21. The Perception of Ideas as Problems
22. Storytelling as a Way to Transmit Tacit Knowledge
23. Enter the Movie Theater of Your Own Creative Process
24. Finish What You Started: Five Feet Off the Ground
25. Frame the Real Problem: Josef the Baker

26. Frustration and Constraint as Catalysts for Creativity
27. Are You an Idea Addict?
28. A Real Life Example of the Power of Giving Feedback
29. What I Learned from Listening to Bolero for 14 Hours
30. How to Foster a Sustainable Culture of Innovation

31. How to Tell a Good Story
32. One Hundred and One CreativiTeas
33. Innovation as a Happy Accident
34. The Martial Arts of the Mind
35. What Porcelain Dogs Can Teach Us About Brainstorming

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36. The Awesome Power of Immersion
37. How to Attract a Big AHA
38. The Real Value of Confusion
39. The Path Is Made By Walking On It
40. Ten Chemical Salesmen Step Over the Line

41. Why AHA and HAHA are Related
42. How I Started My Business: It All Began With Balls
43. Twelve Ways to See What's Not Immediately Obvious
44. Using Story as a Way to Communicate Big Ideas
45. What Have You Accomplished?

46. Quarantining Your Mind
47. Quitting and the Poetry of Life
48. The Pool Player and the Non-Linearity of Life
49. What You Can Learn from the FedEx Logo
50. Why Immersion is So Important

51. Dreaming the Solution
52. On Finding the Elegant Solution
53. Define Your Real Problem
54. The Finger Snap
55. The Fisherman and the Investment Banker

56. The Sanctuary Within
57. Move the Hole
58. Fourteen Ways to Get Breakthrough Ideas
59. Innovation Begins with Fascination
60. How to Sell Without Selling

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61. Non-Judgmental Listening as a Catalyst for Innovation
62. Go Beyond Your Limiting Assumptions
63. How to Create an Idea Factory
64. The Value of Nothing
65. Brainstorming vs. Braincalming

66. On the Brink of a Breakthrough
67. Standing on the 50-Yard Line
68. Creators on Creating
69. Look to Nature for Creative Breakthroughs
70. Free the Genie

71. What You Can Learn About Creativity from W.C. Fields
72. Why People Work in Cafes
73. How to Start a Business After You Retire
74. The Riches Under Your Pillow
75. The Cure for the Creative Blues

76. The Good Thing About Bad Ideas
77. Thirty Ways to Know If You Have What It Takes to Innovate
78. How to Move From Your Left Brain to Your Right
79. Act As If!
80. What You Can Learn from Steve Job's Introduction of the iPhone

81. Need a Breakthrough? Take a Break
82. Listen to Your Subconscious Mind

MitchDitkoff.com
My clients
My online course on unleashing creativity

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:01 PM | Comments (0)

On Asking for the Help You Need

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"You can do anything, but not everything." -- David Allen

For the past two months, I've been facilitating an online course whose purpose it is to help people transform their inspired ideas, dreams, and ventures into reality. It has been a ton of fun and very fulfilling -- my "calling", if you will (and even if you won't).

Baked into the learning process are some simple ways to help participants become aware of the places inside themselves where they may be tangled or challenged in their approach. One tangle that has surprised me is how difficult it is for most people to ask for help.

While it is true that the creative process requires a healthy dose of solitude, it also requires a healthy dose of interaction with others and, occasionally, the well-timed support of others. Indeed, there are times when even the most self-sufficient and confident among us needs a push, pull, jiggle, jolt, feedback, encouragement, hug, joke, or assistance. Even though, most people intellectually acknowledge this need, when push comes to shove (as it often does), most of us tend to default to the "I'm-in-this-all-alone" mode.

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Hmmm...

I've been pondering this phenomenon for the past few weeks, trying to better understand it and deconstruct it for the lovely people enrolled in the course -- a way to help them get a foothold or handhold up the creative mountain before them. Here's what I've come up with:


The Ten Most Common Reasons Why People Don't Ask for Help:

1. Assuming that the people you want to ask are too busy.

2. Being unclear about the specific help you need.

3. Not knowing who to ask for help.

4. Anticipating discomfort if your request for help is "rejected".

5. Not believing you deserve anyone's help.

6. Thinking that asking for help is a sign of weakness.

7. Not wanting to be "beholding" to anyone if the person who agrees to your request for help turns around and ask you for help.

8. Fear of strong personalities challenging your approach.

9. Fear of success.

10. Fear that your finished product won't be as incredible as you imagine it will be, so you subvert its completion by not asking for help.

So there you have it -- ten Big Bad Wolves that may have taken up residence in your mind -- funky, old habits that compromise your ability to ask for help. So be it. No big deal. Welcome to the club. Please know there are many ways to go over, under, around, and through these obstacles. For starters, consider some of the following choices, Then choose at least one of them to get the party started:

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The Idiot Savant's Guide to Getting the Help You Need

1. Make a list of everything you don't know about your project.

2. Make a list of the kind of help you want. Be very specific!

3. Make a list of everyone whose help you would like.

4. Identify your preferred ways of asking for help, i.e. email, phone call, Zoom call, breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks, walk, etc.

5. What, if anything, can you barter in exchange for the help you are seeking, so it's not just a one-way transaction?

6. Who has asked YOU for help in the past? How did you respond?

7. List your biggest limiting assumptions (i.e. funky beliefs) about asking for help.

8. Transform each of your limiting assumptions into a question, beginning with the words "How can I?" For example, if one of your beliefs is "Everyone I know is too busy to help me," change that assumption into a question, i.e. "How can I find out if the people I know are too busy to help me?"

9. Close your eyes and imagine that you had all the support you needed. How does it feel?

10. Sometimes, the hardest part of asking for help, is the opening line -- a way to break the ice. Towards that end, take a look at the conversation starters below and see if any of them work for you. If not, create your own.

-- "I'm not sure if you know this, but I am deeply immersed in a very meaningful project (insert project name here). The deeper I get into it, the more I realize that I'm going to need some support. I wonder if you would be willing to (specific request). I'm guessing this will take you about 20 minutes per week."

-- "Committed to (insert project name here) before the end of the year, I'm in the process of putting together a team of friends to provide some support along the way. I wonder if you would be available to be part of my team. Here's the specific support I'd be asking you for (insert request here)."

-- "I have so much respect for your ability to (insert ability here). This, as you may know, is not one of my strengths. Would you be open, from time to time, to provide some input, coaching, and support in this arena?"

-- "Recently, I've run into some challenges with my project (insert specific challenge here). From what I can tell, you have already mastered this domain. Would you be willing to assist me?"

-- "Are you available, once a week, to meet with me and share your ideas and insights about my project?"

"Ask and ye shall receive."

The Hero's Journey and the Creative Process
Year of Living Creatively Manifesto
Testimonials from Year of Living Creatively Graduates
An Invitation to Dive Deeper Into Your Own Creative Process

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:22 AM | Comments (0)

May 05, 2021
Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey and the Creative Process

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"The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are." - Joseph Campbell

During the past 50 years, quite a few researchers, social scientists, and psychologists have written about the creative process, positing a number of models to help clarify its stages. All of their models are deeply considered and relatively easy to understand. The model I prefer, however, is one that was never conceived to explain the creative process, but the archetypal human adventure we are all on -- a model conceived by the mythologist Joseph Campbell, author of The Hero With a Thousand Faces and The Power of Myth.

Campbell's original Hero's Journey model consisted of 17 stages. At the risk of oversimplifying Campbell's construct I offer, below, a modified version of it as conceived by Dr. Beverly Nelson and Joseph Dispenza -- a model that captures the essence of Campbell's wisdom and is easier to remember. (A link to Campbell's original 17-step monomyth is noted at the end of this post).

What I like about the Hero's Journey model is that it very accurately describes the process a human being goes through when attempting to create anything truly meaningful to them. In my experience, the creative process is very much a classical hero's journey. The more we understand the nature of that journey, the better our chances of actually embracing, enjoying, and completing it. Are you ready?

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1. THE CALL TO JOURNEY: Have you ever felt called -- like the universe itself, was tapping you on the shoulder to get your attention -- that there was something for you to DO that absolutely HAD to be done and that if you DIDN'T do it you would end up feeling like you had chickened out? This calling is always preceded, according to Campbell, by some kind of disruption -- the end of the status quo and the recognition, as Dorothy in the Wizard of OZ so memorably stated that, "Toto, we're not in Kansas any more."

This disruption can take many forms. It can show up as a traumatic event, like a near death experience, the end of a marriage, the loss of a job, your home burning down, or Covid-19. Or, it might show up in a more intoxicating way -- like a dream, epiphany, or visitation from your muse.

Most commonly, human beings resist The Call to Journey. Where letting go would, ultimately, be the right move, we hold on. We tighten, clench, dig in our heels, cling to the past, and procrastinate.

If YOU are thinking of enrolling in The Year of Living Creatively (or have already enrolled) it is likely that you are feeling called -- that something deep within you has gotten your attention and you are now at the intersection of "Life As I Know It" and "I Have No Fucking Clue." Welcome to the fun house. Let the games begin!

2. THE PREPARATION: In order to transform nothing into something, you will need to prepare for the transformation. There is no way around it. Farmers do this every season. Committed to having a harvest, they roll up their sleeves, plough their fields, fertilize the soil, and do whatever is needed to help nature take her course. You, too, will need to roll up your sleeves. You, too, will need to prepare for your creative journey. What, specifically, this preparation looks like is completely up to you. By the way, The Year of Living Creatively can help.

3. THE ENCOUNTER: Every aspiring creator eventually runs into obstacles. Every fairy tale has its Big Bad Wolf. Luke Skywalker had Darth Vader. Cinderella had evil stepsisters. And Jesus had Judas. That's just the way it is. Or as the Buddhists like to say, "No mud, no lotus."

The obstacle is not the problem. The problem is how you relate to the obstacle. Do you freeze, procrastinate, stick your head in the sand, and eat another quart of ice cream -- or do you summon your courage and proceed?

The good news? In the Hero's Journey, allies and mentors show up all along the way to offer their help, bearing all kinds of gifts -- winged sandals, mirrored shields, magic beans, and maybe a foot massage. For the moment, think of The Year of Living Creatively as an ally of yours -- the assistance you need to help you navigate the creative process with as much power, resilience, and confidence as possible.

4. THE HOMECOMING: All major rites of passage have some kind of "honeymoon period" associated with them -- the intoxication phase when everything is new and our lives are animated by the energy of "anything is possible." That's a good thing. It keeps us in the game. It provides the fuel we need to keep on trucking. Eventually, however, this phase comes to an end. The buzz wears off. Holy Grail having been discovered, head of the Minotaur having been decapitated, we need to integrate what we've learned. We need to sustain the effort on a daily basis -- the "chopping wood and carrying water" phase of life when we practice what we've preached (or what's been preached to us).

In Joseph Campbell's taxonomy of life, this is known as the Homecoming -- the part of the process when the hero, after all kinds of adventures, gets the chance to LIVE their wisdom. The mountain has been climbed. Now it's time to do the laundry with the same consciousness that received the Ten Commandments the week before.

5. THE TELLING OF THE TALE: Storytelling is our species' most powerful way of sharing what it knows -- a form of communication that has been going on forever. Indeed, neuroscientists tell us that human beings are hard-wired for storytelling. It's what we do and how we do it -- translating our life experiences into a form that not only attracts attention, but delivers our message in the most memorable way possible -- the message of what we've learned... and what we know... and what will be useful for other people to consider as they continue on their journey -- or, perhaps, return from one.

The Telling of the Tale is the final stage of the Hero's Journey and, for those of us attempting to unleash our creativity -- a way to clarify our wisdom and be of service to others at the same time. YOU, as someone on the journey will not only be on the receiving end of many tales, you will also be the teller of tales -- the deep expression of what you've learned along the way. Your insights. Your moments of truth. And, ultimately, your wisdom. And all in service to the greater good.

"A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself." - Joseph Campbell

Campbell's 17 stage monomyth
Year of Living Creatively content
Testimonials
The creator of the course

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:18 AM | Comments (0)

May 02, 2021
PRENTISS UCHIDA: Entrepreneur Catalyst

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Prentiss Uchida is an Entrepreneur Catalyst. His business coaching, mentoring and consulting services, honed over 50 years of launching successful start-ups and holding management positions in various organizations has made a profound difference in the lives of countless entrepreneurs.

His heart-centered, mind-opening approach to business sparks insight, clarity, confidence, and the kind of inner knowing that enables entrepreneurs-at-the-crossroads to learn quickly, adapt, and make the kind of wise choices that lead to success.

Bottom line, Prentiss teaches people how to fish in the often turbulent waters of 21st century business. And he does so with integrity, warmth, and wisdom.

Knowing that experience is the best teacher, Prentiss establishes the kind of relationship with his clients that allows them to understand new inputs quickly, apply them to their current challenges, and mine the depths of their past experiences in a way that elicits insight.

The compass Prentiss abides by in his entrepreneurial coaching efforts? Something he calls the "feel good guide" -- the evolved, but often hidden, aspect of human intelligence that has a knack for getting to the heart of the matter quickly. Indeed, actions that originate from this state of awareness create the kind of forward movement that radically increases the odds of success.

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At the core of Prentiss' business coaching is a great wisdom, honed from a lifetime of learning, service, street smarts, and a deep commitment to tapping into the source of success.

As Clifford Stoll, American Astronomer and author once wrote: "Data is not information. Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not understanding. Understanding is not wisdom." And it is this wisdom -- translated into action -- that Prentiss helps entrepreneurs discover in themselves. The end goal is to provoke and help bring along as many entrepreneurs as possible, to their own personal success.

PRAISE FROM HIS CLIENTS:

"In just five minutes, Prentiss provided me with the information and insights I needed to clarify my path forward -- a path it would have taken me months to come up with on my own." -- Ritchie Polido

"Prentiss Uchida is the best business mentor I've ever had -- and I've had at least five before him. Bottom line, Prentiss helped me go from zero to more than $1 million in sales. His patience and understanding inspired me to continue with my business when I wanted to give up." -- Peter Turcios

"The expertise and precision of Prentiss' business coaching is incredibly rare! As a result of his efforts, I have experienced a tremendous boost of confidence. His style of coaching fully connected with my needs and directed me to what I needed to do first. Without his help I would be still procrastinating." -- Alima Brya

"Prentiss was able to evaluate my vague description of my business and get to the essence of what was wrong. He cut through my confusion and enabled me to determine where to direct my efforts. I didn't always want to hear what he had to say, but his counsel was right on. I appreciated working with someone who held me accountable, despite my excuses." -- Frank Joel

"Prentiss Uchida understands business and is able to provide insight into the heart of the matter with very little information. He provided valuable feedback that helped me evaluate my business in new ways to change my core strategies. Locked doors opened for me." -- Adam Harn

"Excellent insight and advice." -- Gregory Johnson

"Prentiss Uchida is amazing, awesome, informative, super professional and a very nice man. I am so grateful for his support. He is the kind of person I aspire to be like." -- Jennifer West

"Prentiss Uchida is a great business coach." -- Peter Campbell

"The experience, guidance and information I received from Prentiss exceeded my expectations." -- Tom Alleeson

"Prentiss Uchida is not only a great business coach, he is also a sage. For the past 30 years, whenever I got stuck or confused in the process of growing my business, Prentiss was always there for me with the kind of questions, perspective, and insights that sparked breakthroughs. Prentiss has a knack for distilling down complex matters into ways that less business-savvy people, like me, can get in a heartbeat. And he does it with kindness, clarity, and humor." -- Mitch Ditkoff

THE BACK STORY

Prentiss Uchida, born in San Jose, California, grew up on a farm and then, with his family, for three and a half years, was imprisoned in a War Relocation Center, before moving back to San Jose. He received a BA in Mathematics from San Jose State University and, upon completing college, worked for the Lockheed Missile and Space Company. During the next 50 years, Prentiss held a variety of management positions in both private and public companies. He was one of the Founders and CEO of Vector General (a pioneer in 3D graphics and CAD whose system was used in the original Star Wars movie), CEO of the Inner Game Corporation (a training and development company founded by Tim Gallwey), CEO of Secom General (a NASDAQ mini-conglomerate of automotive component manufacturers), Director of Instar Infomatique (a French medical software company), Director of Kahootz (an enterprise software company), and Managing Director of VanderBolt GmbH (a German technology transfer company). He has also crashed and burned as a commodity trader -- one more source of humility.

Prentiss is currently a mentor for SCORE, a member of the Board of Directors for the Heart Mountain Foundation, and a member of the Board of Directors of WAFA, a Denmark NGO. Previously, he has served on the Advisory Board of Stanford University's WEMA Executive Institute and on the Los Angeles Board of Directors for the United Way. Prentiss currently lives in Moorpark, California and has three grown children and four grandchildren. When he's not coaching and provoking aspiring entrepreneurs, he is practicing yoga, playing his guitar, and writing songs.

CONTACT: puchida@mac.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:08 PM | Comments (0)

May 01, 2021
THE YEAR OF LIVING CREATIVELY: The Underground We Cover

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This just in! You have a big, beautiful idea that you want to manifest -- a cool project, venture, or aspiration you want to get out of your head and into the world. Maybe you've been hatching this egg for years or maybe it's just made itself known to you. But no matter how long you've been noodling on this grand possibility, it's likely that you... er... uh... sometimes feel doubt, disengaged, discombobulated, or despair.

Welcome to the human race! Your resistance comes with the territory of trying to birth something new and wonderful. Which is precisely what The Year of Living Creatively is all about -- a two-month online course for anyone committed to transforming their creative aspirations into reality. Like YOU, for instance.

Selected topics below are addressed in the course. And while you're at it, feast on the quotes from some extraordinary people who know what it takes to navigate the often mysterious and crazy-making creative process. Ready? Fasten your seat belt...

1. Follow Your Calling: "Every moment of your life is infinitely creative and the universe is endlessly bountiful. Just put forth a clear enough request, and everything your heart desires must come to you." - Mahatma Gandhi

2. Embrace New Beginnings: "Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

3. Clarify Your Vision: "A pile of rocks ceases to be a rock pile when somebody contemplates it with the idea of a cathedral in mind." - Antoine Saint-Exupery

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4. Cultivate Patience: "The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones." - Confucius

5. Go Beyond Self-Doubt: "The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt." - Sylvia Plath

6. Discover Your Real Question: "There are no right answers to wrong questions." - Ursula K. Le Guin

7. Trust Yourself Deeply: "Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts." - Rita Mae Brown

8. Let Go of Perfectionism: "And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good." - John Steinbeck

9. Make Friends With Uncertainty: "The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning. Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers." - Erich Fromm

10. Rethink Success: "Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful." - Albert Schweitzer

11. Acknowledge Daily Progress: "Research has shown over and over again that the more you acknowledge your past successes, the more confident you become in taking on and successfully accomplishing new ones." - Jack Canfield

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12. Embrace Polarities: "The greater the contrast, the greater the potential. Great energy only comes from a correspondingly great tension of opposites." - Carl Jung

13. Honor Thy Intuition: "Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next." - Jonas Salk

14. Go Beyond Your Obstacles: "The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it." - Moliere

15. Transform Your Limiting Assumptions: "Begin challenging your assumptions. Your assumptions are the windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while or the light won't come in." - Alan Alda

16. Attract Alchemical Collaborators: "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." - Helen Keller

17. Let Discipline Be Born of Love: "Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius." - Mozart

18. Be Willing Not to Know: "By not knowing, not hoping to know and not acting like we know what's happening, we begin to access our inner strength." - Pema Chodron

19. Create More Time: "You will never find the time for anything. If you want time, you must make it." - Charles Burton

20. Reframe Failure: "I have not failed once. I've just found 10,000 ways that didn't work." - Thomas Edison

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21. Find Your Courage: "I have not ceased being fearful, but I have ceased to let fear control me." - Erica Jong

22. Take Some Risks: "If I had to live my life again, I'd make the same mistakes, only sooner." - Tallulah Bankhead

23. Experiment! Pilot! Try New Things:
"I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it." - Pablo Picasso

24. Be a Divine Maniac: "Whenever anything is being accomplished, it is being done, I have learned, by a monomaniac with a mission." - Peter Drucker

25. Act As If: "By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The non-existent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired." - Nikos Kazantzakis

26. Originate Bold, New Ideas: "I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones." - John Cage

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27. Learn from Feedback: "Average players want to be left alone. Good players want to be coached. Great players want to be told the truth." - Doc Rivers

28. Establish Your Creative Workspace: "There is no ideal condition for creativity. What works for one person is useless for another. The only criterion is this: Make it easy on yourself. Find a working environment where the prospect of wrestling with your muse doesn't scare you, doesn't shut you down." - Twyla Tharp

29. Embrace Solitude: "Nothing will change the fact that I cannot produce the least thing without absolute solitude." - Goethe

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30. Be Playful: "The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect, but by the play instinct arising from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the object it loves." - Carl Jung

31. Simplify: "It is the essence of genius to make use of the simplest ideas." - Charles Peguy

32. Be In the Moment: "I'll play it first and tell you what it is later." - Miles Davis

33. Persevere: "Every strike brings me closer to the next home run." - Babe Ruth

34. Ask for Help: "You can do anything, but not everything." - David Allen

35. Dream Big: Blue Sky Thinking: "The gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge." - Albert Einstein

36. Complete What You Started: "Genius is infinite painstaking." - Michelangelo

37. Let the Old Forms Die: "Every act of creation is, first of all, an act of destruction." - Pablo Picasso

38. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway: "I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life -- and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do." - Georgia O'Keefe

39. Honor What Makes You Unique:
"There is a vitality, a life force, that is translated to you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium, and will be lost." - Martha Graham

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40. Change the Old Story You're Telling Yourself: "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." - Maya Angelou

41. Tune Into When and Where You Get Your Best Ideas: "Why is it I always get my best ideas while shaving?" -- Albert Einstein

42. Maintain Your Positive Momentum: "An object at rest tends to stay at rest. An object in motions tends to stay in motion." -- Newton's First Law of Motion

43. Incubate! Lay Fallow! Let It Be! "It takes a lot of time to be a genius, you have to sit around so much doing nothing, really doing nothing." -- Gertrude Stein

44. See Through New Eyes: "It's not what you look it. It's what you see." -- H.D. Thoreau

45. Embrace Messiness, Awkwardness, and Frustration: "Confusion is just a name for an order that is not yet understood." -- Henry Miller

46. Honor Your Crazy Ideas: "If at first the Idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it." -- Albert Einstein

47. Boundary Alert: Know When to Say No: "When you say yes to others, make sure you are not saying no to yourself." -- Paulo Coelho

48. Develop a Practice of Creativity: "There was a moment when I changed from an amateur to a professional. I assumed the burden of a profession, which is to write even when you don't want to, don't much like what you're writing, and aren't writing particularly well." - Agatha Christie

49. Establish Your Creative Workspace: "Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can." -- Arthur Ashe

50. Diffuse Your Inner Critic: "If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?" -- Maya Angelou

51. Pause and Reflect: "We do not learn from experience. We learn from reflecting on experience." -- John Dewey

52. Get Out of the Box "He who jumps into the void owes no explanation to those who stand and watch." - Jean-Luc Godard

OTHER TOPICS

53. The 12 Traits of Highly Creative People
54. Nurture or Fracture: Doing the Significant Other Dance
55. Persevere No Matter What
56. Play the Long Game
57. The Relationship Between Haha and Aha

58. Tap Into Your Subconscious Mind
59. Act As If
60. Discover the Elegant Solution
61. Increase Your Focus and Attention
62. How to Be a Creative Catalyst
63. How to Identify Your Blind Spots

64. The Wisdom of Rumi
65. The Wisdom of Albert Einstein
66. The Wisdom of Leonardo DaVinci
67. The Wisdom of Georgia O'Keefe
68. The Wisdom of Elon Musk

69. The Wisdom of Pablo Picasso
70. The Wisdom of Helen Keller
71. The Wisdom of Frank Zappa
72. The Wisdom of Nicola Tesla
73. The Wisdom of Michelangelo

74. The Wisdom of John Lennon
75. The Wisdom of Mahatma Gandhi
76. The Wisdom of Martin Luther King
77. The Wisdom of Prem Rawat
78. The Wisdom of Amadeus Mozart

79. The Wisdom of Frieda Kahlo
80. The Wisdom of Steve Jobs
81. Where and When Do You Get Your Best Ideas?
82. Spark Your Creative Imagination
83. The Power of Immersion

84. The 12 Traits of Highly Creative People
85. After the Honeymoon: The Messy Middles
86. Innovation Is All About Making New Connections
87. Let the Old Forms Die
88. Freely Express Yourself
89. Let Go of Attachment to Results

The Year of Living Creatively
Testimonials
The Year of Living Creatively Manifesto
Who Is The Year of Living Creatively Really For?

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:03 PM | Comments (1)

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Idea Champions is a consulting and training company dedicated to awakening and nurturing the spirit of innovation. We help individuals, teams and entire organizations tap into their innate ability to create, develop and implement ideas that make a difference.

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