Celebrating Mistakes

There are multiple mediums of artistic expression: oil on canvas, word on paper, film on screen, status update on Facebook.

Regardless of the medium, at times our initial vision may get distorted by a glitch (or two) during the creative process. The clay is too dry. The paint is low quality. Writer block. Fear. In the case of a Facebook update intending to be clever, the distortion emerges because of not proofreading.

The Pumpkin Roll Problem

A simple example, and yet it proved a point to me:

Our blunders often create something unexpected.

Isn’t that what we want as creatives? We love the unexpected. Something new. Something fresh. Something surprising and refreshing. Sometimes we must allow ourselves the grace to make mistakes during the process. If we don’t, we will never create. We will never share. Others will never enjoy our work.

Conversely, when we do give ourselves grace in the process, we enjoy the immense satisfaction of creating and sharing our work. It’s very refreshing. Very rewarding.

Isn’t it time to dive in? Time to make some mistakes? Time to blunder?

Who knows, the end result may be more interesting, beautiful, and unique with the mistakes than without them.

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New Favorite Word: Ideation

When I grow up, I wanna be an ideator.

Realization #1: I love and thrive on creativity, ideas, and innovation.

Realization #2: I get bored easily.

Are you like this too?

While at the gym today, I was listening to a podcast I’d downloaded nearly a year ago from Ideasicle.com. Gaurav Suri, a philosopher, author, fMRI specialist (no, I don’t know what an fMRI specialist is) was speaking on what happens in our brain when we create. The podcast, though a bit dry at times, was tremendously inspiring and made me forget my workout–always a good thing.

Listen to it here.

Suri, through his research and other smarty-pants things, deduced that the ‘ah-ha’ moment an idea is birthed in our conscious (though often unconscious) mind, massive amounts of dompamine are released into the brain. In normal people language: when we have a cool idea we feel awesome.

(Side note: cocaine and nicotine have the exact same effect on our bodies.)

People actually make a living of doing this idea-making thing. Some license products, or even ideas, to companies who desire to produce the ideas, market them, and sell them to the public. Apparently the process of formulating ideas and concepts is called ideation. And it’s my new favorite word.

Dreaming up ideas is a lot more fun, and healthy, that smoking a cigarette. Or using cocaine.

And it’s cheaper. . . not that I would know. Just guessing.


Dating Advice that Will Also Help Anyone in a Sales Career

While Sarah and I enjoyed a ‘Love Boat’ of sushi tonight, we couldn’t help but listen in on the conversation of the couple behind us.First date? Probably.

Possibly a set-up? Seems likely.

Will there be a second date? Not a chance.

Sarah pondered what it would be like if we just sat down and offered some basic advice. How brazen! Though we didn’t, we sure enjoyed discussing what we’d share.

Ironically, I’d just finished training some sales reps the past week and quickly realized that the advice I would give this guy is nearly the same advice I’d toss out to sales reps.

  • 1. Ask a good question. Shut up. Listen. This guy would not. Stop. Talking. He was only interested in himself and learned nothing about his date. He’s probably going to blame his friends who set him up with such a loser of a woman because she didn’t kiss him goodnight. No dude, you don’t know how to sell. Sales application: if one is excellent at asking questions the customer will naturally want to buy your product. The salesperson then learns about what kind of person their customer is and thus, learns how they like to be treated and how they like to buy.
  •  2. What’s in it for Me? If you’re saying something (and remember, that’s probably not a good thing–see point one on asking questions) it better matter to your customer. Dude, she doesn’t care about how you can discern a truck’s gas mileage by smelling it’s fumes. Sales application: when doing your ‘pitch,’ make sure it’s something that is going to matter to your prospect. Stop spewing meaningless information. You’ll end up sounding just like Charlie Brown’s Teacher, and you’ll also end up not getting the sale.
  • 3. Differentiation. Your date, like a customer, can smell your slimy desperation breath loud and clear. How are you different from any other guy? What makes you stand out? Why would she pick you over the other guys with receding hairlines? No really… why? She would pick you because you’re the type of guy that she’s going to tell her girlfriends about.  “He’s amazing. He’s not like all the other losers. No, really Sharon. This one is different! He really listened to me. He also makes his own clothing. Now that’s a little weird, but at least he’s different.” Sales application: if you are like all the other peddlers on the street selling the same product, why would I buy it from you? I’d buy from you because you’re different. Simple rule of thumb: people do not like salespeople. Don’t be one. Be different. Be a person who likes people, finds problems, and gives advice for solutions if it’s needed.

Sadly, I don’t think these two are going to enter into a profitable relationship. She’s far too nice and he’s far too enamored of himself to show any real and genuine interest in her.

He lost the sale.