Category Archives: Creative Process

Could World Safety Be One Conversation Away?

Created March 23, 2021

The press and late-night TV comics had a field day when the Esalen Summit was announced by the White House. Backstory: Joe, Kamala and Chuck had a running joke about the subject and then one day, started to take it seriously.

It turned out that Vlad and Jinping liked the idea. Just the three of them, Joe and his counterparts, without aides, in the hot tubs overlooking the Pacific. No press. No guards visible. Just three men having a good time and talking shop or whatever they felt like. Aimed at visioneering the future together, if it should turn out that way. Otherwise, just a fun thing.

Naturally when they got there each of them took the full most deluxe spa treatment. Vlad did that every night at home anyway. They steamed, saunaed, swam, meditated, yogaed, got massaged, and then met in the hot tubs on the deck just before sunset. Nature was making its contribution in the sky as the pelicans began their evening hunt. A dolphin breached. The three men happily watched it.

Joe asked Vlad, “He wasn’t one of yours, was he?” and the three men chuckled. All three countries had enlisted dolphins into their military and paramilitaries.

The other two men were very relaxed and had no agenda so Joe got to say something else.

“Wouldn’t it be nice if it could always be like this?”

Both men are urbane and smiled good-naturedly, while shaking their heads to indicate it can never work. Joe poured for them. An excellent Russian vodka bottle in ice. All three had agreed in advance to start with vodka. A few steps further away was a bottle of Moutai chilling, and Jack Daniels setups sat in a corner. Joe poured himself a water.

“You remember that Bogart movie where Sidney Greenstreet says he would never trust a man who doesn’t drink?” Jinping asked mischievously.

“Maltese Falcon,” Vlad supplied.

“That was right before they slip him a mickey and then kick him in the head,” Joe recalled. They all laughed. Their respective guard squads had tested all the foods, beverages, the air, and everything else. The amount of air traffic high above was constantly audible.

“See, that’s why it can’t be like this, nice, all the time,” Jinping philosophized. “We know for a fact we can’t trust each other, none of us can afford to be trustworthy, I can’t see the present situation ever ending.”

“How can we be nice all the time while calling each other soul-less killers?” Vlad asked levelly.

“And thugs?” Jinping added with a smile.

Joe had been told to expect those questions. “Look, you guys are pros, you know how the game is played. You had to expect some kind of hard talk from me after you wiped the floor with the Donald and slipped all kinds of unthinkable things past him. The last time anyone got away with daring the US so blatantly was the Cuban Missile Crisis.”

The two Eurasian friends looked at each other and tacitly gave Joe the point.

“So,” Joe went on, “I apologize and will do so publicly when we announce something positive together after this is over. But let’s get back to the future, one in which we talk things over just the three of us, and try to settle everything amicably in advance. Have you wargamed it?” Joe asked both of them. “I mean peacegamed it. Scenarios…” They both nodded ponderously. This promised to be a boring conversation for them. However, as professionals they both enjoyed looking for the advantages they could gain from something he might say.

“We have too,” Joe confided, “it comes down to four things: whether we each feel we have elbow room, how much our behavior at home offends one of us, what to do about everybody else besides our three countries, not making aggressive moves against each other, and a load of details our people can work out.”

“Like the trade deals,” Jinping complained mildly, “just one of the little details?”

“And like what we base world currency on,” Vlad added studiously.

“Say it comes down to a trillion things, still, those top four are the ones to solve, the rest is like a zipper,” Joe pitched them. Both men sat back and pretended to be getting their backs done by the jets. Meanwhile their minds went into overdrive envisioning how they could turn this to their own advantage. Soon all three men were smiling, concocting their own visions of what might be achievable from the springboard of this summit.

Interestingly, all three gave some time to thinking about their people as well as about themselves.

To Be Continued…

Best to all,

Bill

Improve the Creative Result by Taking a Break

Updated on April 10, 2020

Now that we are all cloistered, looking inward is happening by itself, to everyone. Getting something positive out of the nightmare is therefore possible. By following your mind into your own depths, and gaining back the full complement of strengths nature gave you. To bring these powers not only into the present challenging situation, but to also allow you to see where you really want to go when we all come out of this crisis. One aspect of this self-renewal process involves the management of creativity.

In our present culture in which multiple jobs are held by most people just to keep up with their latest Jones, and in which Acceleritis™ necessitates massive multitasking, the creative process tends to become shortened into a two-step process of absorbing information (never enough), and implementation. In other words, no Aha! Moment.

Pfeiffer Beach at sunset in California courtesy of Craig Colvin Photography

Take a break, a mini-vacation at the right moments in your creative process, and the Aha! Moment reveals itself. 

The absorbing of information part was easier before the Internet. One saw the logic of not going too far because it would cost too much time. Now one can keep drilling down further and further without an apparent end in sight.

Finding information however, continues to be the major complaint of executives and their teams. You know you have it somewhere and you can go searching for it but it is so boring and annoying given the time pressure. Give me a dashboard where I don’t even have to remember what it is called and yet can still find it in a second. Until then, just send that thing to me again, please.

When you break down how much time goes into the absorption (including searching) and other aspects of the process, the two middle stages — turning away (“sleeping on it”), then the Aha! Moment — take almost no time compared with absorbing and implementing. And yet those two middle processes account for the quality of the outcome or creative result. With only the bookends and no middle the result may be passable but it does not rock. Are we here just to do stuff that’s passable, without the satisfaction of Flow state-level outcomes? No way — makes no sense. Life is about living large, not just robotically coping.

Are you letting your mind go wherever it wants?

The creative process goes through four stages: absorbing information, turning away, the Aha! Moment, and implementation.

A third of a second before the Aha! Moment — a type of Flow state experience happens. Daniel Goleman explains it as a burst of gamma activity, signifying the rapid creation of a new network of neural connections in the neocortical right temporal cortex of the brain. Simply put, the Aha! Moment is a scientifically measurable event, i.e. it’s real.

However, this only occurs if your mind is in a certain state receptive to the sense of Aha! That state can be described as the indirect observation of undirected mentation. Let’s break it down.

Undirected mentation is when you let your mind go wherever it wants. Indirect observation is (by my definition) the alert watching of something as if seeing it for the first time.

So you get the Aha! to the degree your mind can do whatever it wants to do with no pressure to perform or achieve anything, while a very alert part of you is watching your own mind, as if from outside.

When you do this, the tendency is for the Observer state part of yourself to go to sleep. That is, your point of view tends to get reabsorbed into the part of the mind that is just playing and you forget to look at it from the detached Observer point of view. You get caught up in some attachment motivation, some feeling/emotion, which identifies you with the relaxing, playing, wandering mind. This may feel wonderful; however, it doesn’t help you if the objective is Observer and then Flow states. “Identification with” leaves the attachment turned on. “Detachment from” is the goal. Stay in, or keep returning to the detached Observer state.

So how do you increase the Aha! Moments and improve the creative outcome? Take a break, a mini-vacation at the right moments in your creative process, and the Aha! reveals itself. Trust that if you remain the scientist, the objective observer when goofing off, Aha! Moments WILL come more often.

Best to all,

Bill

Photo credit: “Pfeiffer Beach” courtesy of Craig Colvin Photography

Read the latest post at my media blog  “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com.

Originally posted 2015-02-24 12:20:08. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The Regenerative Method for Stimulating Innovation

Volume 2, Issue 2. Originally posted April 12, 2012

This blog takes a shortened form optimized for Acceleritis™ conditions

Listening to you readers, I have enjoyed writing this blog more than ever. Everyone I’ve talked to has said it is something totally different and therefore worth reading. Thank you all again for the encouragement.

Habit is the biggest obstacle to innovation and adaptability. The number of repetitions in our ingrained mental habits is in the millions by age 30. Each repetition reinforces many synapses thus increasing their automaticity. This is your challenge in breaking out of mental ruts, which is something you must do if you aspire to Flow state. And something you must do simply to innovate and adapt yourself and your company/organization to an accelerated treadmill of inputs, questions, challenges, and opportunities.

Imagination is the best tool we have and the one that is the most fun to use. Use of imagination regenerates synapses that have fallen into disuse and dials back the automaticity of the ones you use all the time.

Take your company, for example. Imagine the wildest scenarios you can — radical changes in partnerships, a totally different pricing model, an impossible dream of a new product you’d love to have — you make it up. See if this mental exercise doesn’t give you some imaginative yet prudent immediate actions. I bet it will.

Do the same for yourself. Think the unthinkable. Every seven years every cell in your body is different, the old ones are gone. We are a new self every moment. Daydream your near-term and far-term future, knowing you are purposely being unrealistic and perhaps grandiose — it’s allowed because it’s only an exercise.

Or is it?

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog contribution, “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com under MediaBizBloggers.

Originally posted 2012-04-12 10:56:39. Republished by Blog Post Promoter