Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

Harness Naïveté: Overcoming “Impossible”

When new engineers joined the incandescent lighting group of General Electric in the 1930s, the director of the division liked to play a joke on them.  He assigned them the task of inventing a coating for light bulbs that would remove the hotspot in the then current state-of-the-art-design.

The joke was that this uniform glow bulb was “impossible” to create.  Engineer after engineer tried and failed at this task.  When each newbie admitted failure and was told the task was impossible, the scene brought out laughter from the rest of the engineers.

This was a wonderful initiation rite until around 1952, when a new engineer brought in his creation, screwed it in, turned it on, and asked the director if this was what he was looking for.  Upon seeing the “impossible bulb,” the director said, “Ah, yup.  That’s it.”

In a way, this is a corollary to thinking different: “Find someone who has not yet thought about the problem at all or someone who doesn’t ‘know’ it’s impossible.”


Most things are impossible not because they are in fact impossible but rather because of the limitations we place upon ourselves.  Much like the engineer at GE over 50 years ago, you have the capacity to accomplish the impossible.  But the first thing you need to fix is your mind.

Your mind is what tells you that you can’t do something.  It will tell you it’s too hard.  Or it will make excuses for why it’s not a good idea.  You have to train it, so you can look past those limitations to the possibilities that the world has given you.

It doesn’t matter what it is.  Maybe it’s losing 20 pounds, maybe it’s getting a new job, maybe it’s moving to a new country or maybe it’s doing something that you’ve always dreamed of doing but for one reason or another never took action on.  Maybe if you stop “knowing” that something is “impossible” you can focus on the doing – which is where all great things are accomplished.

As Google founder, Larry Page, once said, “Have a healthy disregard for the impossible.”

Happy Wednesday!


* Hat tip to Rules For Revolutionaries by Guy Kawasaki and The Weekly Q

The Power Of One Idea

In an era where there is more information than any of us could ever know what to do with, we need a filtering system.  That filtering system is the power of one idea.  Take out a piece of paper.  Write “all you need is one idea” on it and put it in a place where you will see it every day.  This is the way you need to start thinking.

Information overload and paralysis by analysis may be the biggest reason why no one ever gets anything done.  When you shift your focus to the goal of finding one idea, you’re able to start blocking out the useless noise around you and start focusing in on what’s really important.  Right now, as you read, you should be thinking about this one idea.  What am I saying?  Is there a message in here that you can translate into your life?  This is the way you need to think.  Don’t just mindless read or listen to or watch stuff.  Turn your brain on!  The more you use it the better it runs.

I think this way all the time.  Even if I’m reading a book that isn’t knocking my socks off, I stick with it and finish it, because maybe on page 285, of 290, is the one idea that I’m looking for.  It could be the one idea that changes my perspective, my career or my life.  And that’s how you have to think.  You have to be hungry for that knowledge.

The power of one idea can be as big or as small as you make it.  But the first step is recognizing the one idea.  Like the one idea to make it easy for friends to connect: Facebook.  Or the one idea to organize information on the internet: Google.  One idea to inspire and nurture the human spirit: Starbucks.  One idea to deliver happiness to its customers: Zappos.

You have to have an open mind that is ready to find, and do something with, these ideas.  It doesn’t matter where you’re at or what you’re doing, every day of your life gives you tons of ideas.  The problem is that you’re not in the right frame of mind to see them.  And subsequently, you’re not in the right frame of mind to do anything with them.  Can you imagine this: one new idea every day for the next year?  That’s 365 new ideas.  Imagine the possibilities!

The funny thing about all of this is that nothing around you is really going to change, you’ll simply start recognizing things that have always been there, but you didn’t have the right mindset to see.  To think there are hundreds of ideas floating around you that could improve your life.  Time to put new glasses on.  You have to start seeing them!

So what is your one idea?  And what are you going to do with it?

Happy Wednesday!


The Man Who Chases Two Rabbits Catches None

On the June 18, 2010 edition of The American Entrepreneur radio show, Ron Morris talked with Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh.  One topic of conversation was poker and the parallels that Tony drew between it and business (and life).  This is the gist of Tony’s comments…

In poker: if you never lose a hand it probably means you’re not playing enough hands.  If you only play the safe hands, then yes, you won’t lose a lot, but you also won’t win a lot.

In business (and life): you have to be willing to take risks and make mistakes and learn from those mistakes.

The opposite of these two statements are also true:

In poker: if you play every single hand, you’ll actually, in terms of number of hands, win more than anyone else, but in terms of actual money you make at the end of the night, it’s going to be a lot less and in many cases you’ll end up losing money because you’re playing too many hands.

In business (and life): often times the hardest part is saying no to opportunities, that are still good opportunities, but if you try to do too many things you’re going to end up not doing any of them well.

Ron follows Tony’s comments by mentioning an old Chinese/Russian proverb: the man who chases two rabbits catches none.

What all of this really translates to is how well you manage/spend your time and how focused you are on your goals.  It’s something you’ve all battled with at some point.  What eliminates this problem is a clearly defined vision and a clearly defined focus.  There are a ton of opportunities out there but unless it fits into the life that you want, it’s a waste of your time and energy.  Realize that no matter who you are, you have the same amount of time as everyone else.  That is a resource that is non-renewable.  Can’t get it back.  Won’t get it back.  So you better start doing something meaningful with it.

Take a step back and look at your life from a bird’s-eye view.  Start thinking about your life like a business.  Where do you spend all of your time, energy and resources?  Like a business, you want to get the biggest return on your investment.  Be aware that if you try to do everything, you will likely end up doing everything average.  But also realize that if you don’t do anything, nothing will ever improve and you’ll probably not create any new opportunities in your life.

At some point in your life you will hear someone say that someone got “lucky” or they were at the “right place at the right time” but honestly that’s all a bunch of bullshit coming from someone who probably doesn’t do anything but sleep, go to work and watch television.  Instead, if you focus on doing things right and by maximizing your time, energy and resources you put yourself in the position to be “lucky” or to be at the “right place at the right time”.  Then you’ll realize that it has nothing to do with luck and everything to do with YOU and how good YOU are at choosing what rabbits to chase.

As a side note, Ron and Tony’s talk centered around Tony’s book Delivering Happiness – which I highly recommend you click on that link, buy it right now and then read it in the next week because it is a phenomenal story that everyone should hear.

Happy Wednesday!


What Are People Learning From You?

“Every man I meet is my superior in some way.  In that, I learn of him.”

That should probably be one of the Ten Commandments.  It’s true, everybody is good at something… some people are good at business, some people are good listeners, some people are good at seizing opportunities and some people are good at sitting on the couch wasting their life in front of a television.  The key is to recognize that you can learn from every one of these people.  First step is to change your mindset.  Don’t just think, “that person is a great listener”, instead think, “why is that person such a great listener?”  When you know the “why” it opens up the doors to possessing those qualities too.  If it’s a quality you want to have, aspire to learn more about how they got so good and then do more of it.  If it’s a quality you don’t want, you still have to recognize how they got so good at it, the only difference is instead of doing more of it, you have to do much, much less of it!

Recognize that if you want to be the best version of yourself, which I can envision no reason why you wouldn’t want to be, then you must constantly learn.  You can learn from everything in your life, it just depends on how you view your world.   See what people do well and see what people don’t do so well.   Why are they so good?  Why do they suck?  That knowledge, in and of itself, is probably worth more than the money you spent on your college degree.   And it’s FREE!  Everyone can do it!  You just have to change your perception of the world around you.   Ohh, and you have to ask lots of “why’s”!

So for every person you interact with today you have to ask yourself the question, “what can I learn from them?”

Happy Wednesday!


How Winners Are Made

Success has been, and continues to be, defined as getting up one more time than you’ve been knocked down.  Nothing in life is free and living surely ain’t easy.  Life is hard.  Real hard.  You fail more often than you win.  And no one is handing you anything.  It is up to you to overcome what you’re up against.  If you want more… prove it!  If you want to be the best…get out there and earn it!  Dream bigger.  And don’t stop pushing forward until you get there.

Happy Wednesday!


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