Showing posts with label Creativity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Creativity. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Personal Strengths of a 12 Year-Old Boy

Ned, watching birds with his camera (photo by Charm Peterson)
Last weekend I was in charge of a bird-watching (aka “birding”) field trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The 100 participants ranged in age from 12 to 92. Talk about diversity!

Often when preteens or teens attend, they’re accompanying parents who are eager to introduce them to the world of birds.

In this instance, two 12 year-old boys brought their mothers along. I knew one of the boys, Ned, because he’s a member of our local bird club. He’s been an avid birder for two years and has accompanied my husband Lee and me for Audubon bird counts.

Ned is not like most boys his age. As I watched him in action over the weekend, I was awed by his maturity and the personal strengths he exhibited.

Ned doesn't use binoculars to look at birds. While this is a must-have piece of equipment for most birders, Ned uses his camera exclusively. He’s taught himself to expertly zoom in and out to view a bird and take a picture at the same time. Pretty ingenious. I've never seen anyone else do that.

People who are serious birders keep a list of birds they've seen. When they encounter a new species, they call it a “life bird.” Some folks count birds that they barely see because they’re eager to add to their numbers. Not Ned. He holds himself to a very high standard. He only counts birds that he can photograph. He wants documented proof that he’s seen a specific species. As handy as he is with his camera, he’s been able to get a shot of almost every new species he encounters.

The host hotel offered a hot breakfast every morning, starting at 6:00AM. My husband Lee and I arrived at 6:10 both days. Ned was already there, by himself (his mother and buddy slept in), finishing up his morning meal. No one had to prod this kid to get up. He wanted to make the most of his time, so he arrived at the earliest possible moment. After clearing his table off, he scurried out the door to stand on the large deck just outside the breakfast room, looking for birds and capturing pictures of the sunrise.

Unlike many kids who have the attention span of a gnat, Ned was able to be still for long periods at a time and just WAIT. Whether he was sitting on a bench waiting for the sunrise or out in the field waiting for birds to show up, he seemed to just enjoy the moment and relish in whatever came next.

Because of the number of attendees, we divided into smaller groups for the field trips. No matter which group Ned was in, he brought an infectious enthusiasm that spread to others. This young man LOVES birding. He’d rather do that than almost anything else. You won’t see him with any electronic gadgets, playing video games or texting his friends. When we’d mention species that we might see on a particular trip and it was a new bird for him, Ned’s excited face lit up the room.

Yes, Ned left quite an impression on everyone, a very positive impression. You might say he was a phenomenon.

He certainly inspired me to appreciate the beauty around me - and life in general - in a more profound way.

"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better." - Albert Einstein

Monday, March 25, 2013

Jake Davidson and Kate Upton - Taking a Chance

Jake Davidson and companion in the opening scene of his video

Have you ever thought of doing something audacious but talked yourself out of it because you were afraid of failing...or concerned about what other people might think?

Recently two young people took a risk and it paid off in ways they never expected.

Talia Myers, a USC student majoring in film-making and daughter of my colleague Gordon Myers, created a YouTube video that garnered more than 2 million views in less than a week.

How did she do that?

It’s all because a young man named Jake Davidson decided that he wanted to invite supermodel Kate Upton to his high school senior prom. But he had to find a way to get her attention. That’s where Talia’s expertise came in.

Together they created a two-minute video that resulted in instant celebrity for Jake after Kate responded with this tweet:

The news media got hold of the story and during the next few days Jake was featured on several national TV and radio programs. He became an overnight sensation.

This is the video that started it all…

I know it’s unlikely that you’ll be making a video to invite a famous person out on a date, but Jake and Talia exhibited three personal strengths that you can use, too.


The video stood out. Talia and Jack took a unique approach – incorporating an engaging story and humor into a compelling invitation – and it got Kate’s attention.

Sometimes we base goals on our past experience or what we’ve seen those around us do. Let your imagination run wild. Think BIG. Brainstorm the most fantastic outcome you could hope for, and ask yourself what you need to do to make that a reality.


Jake had no idea if Kate would even respond. But if he hadn’t asked, he would have remained unknown to her. And these publicity opportunities would certainly never have happened.

Examine what holds you back from stepping out of your comfort zone and taking a risk. Think about the worst that could happen. Often, it’s not that bad! Even if you fail, you can learn from the experience. And you’ll realize you can do far more than you originally thought possible.


I think another reason Jake got Kate’s attention was the self-assurance he displays throughout the video. Based on her tweet above and her phone conversation with him on the Today Show, she was clearly taken with him and his approach.

People can sense when you are confident…and when you’re not. Give yourself credit for what you’ve done in the past. You have prevailed in the face of many difficulties in your life. Let those successes remind you to remain poised when presenting your ideas to others.

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop and look fear in the face.”
Eleanor Roosevelt, American diplomat (1884-1962)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Use Your Creativity to Get Different Results

It was the last day of a conference for entrepreneurs and small business owners, and eighteen people were competing for Marketer of the Year. Each person had just 15 minutes to describe the marketing strategies they’d implemented in the previous year. I was amazed and inspired as I listened to all the creative ideas they’d used to attract, acquire and keep customers.

At the end of the presentations, the audience members cast their ballots, and I was thrilled when my friend Charlie McDermott with StandOUT Video was announced as the winner. Charlie has developed an ingenious way to use video on websites to grab the attention of visitors. He stars in a web TV show that he writes and produces, and he applies dozens of other non-traditional approaches to promote his business. He’s done a phenomenal job of growing his company’s revenues by thinking outside the box.

Now you may be saying, “Yeah, well, Charlie is a unique case.” But you’d be wrong.

I was in a mastermind group with Charlie for two years, and I saw first-hand how he started his business from nothing. He simply took action on the ideas he got, and he learned from his successes and his failures.

The truth is, each one of us has the ability to come up with creative solutions. It’s just that most of us don’t tap into this potential as often as we could. Why is that?

For one thing, it’s easy to get stuck in a specific way of thinking and rely on what’s worked for you in the past. After all, it’s familiar. You don’t have to change your patterns or learn something new. Besides, if you do experiment with something different, there’s a chance you’ll make mistakes and end up with nothing useful to show for it. Along the way, you could get a lot of criticism and questions from others. So it’s perfectly natural to feel uncomfortable when you think about moving into uncharted territory.

If you’re facing a challenge and need a new solution, a good first step is to relax and take time to picture new possibilities and your ideal outcome. When you allow yourself the freedom to imagine something better, you’ll be surprised at the ideas that come to you. Focusing on the “doing” of things can cause you to neglect scheduling time for visualization, but it’s actually one of the most important daily practices you can establish.

Be sure to get input and ideas from people who don’t think like you do. Read magazines or books outside your field. Study elements of websites and videos that draw lots of visitors. Get involved in a mastermind group. You’ll discover different perspectives that stimulate your thinking and help you come up with solutions you wouldn’t have developed otherwise.

And don’t judge or compare yourself to others. Creativity takes different forms. You have the ability to bring fresh ideas to almost anything you do, and your approach may not look the same as someone else’s. Trust yourself and trust the process.

Burn into your mind the truth embedded in this wisdom from Napoleon Hill’s classic book, Think and Grow Rich:

“What the mind of man can conceive and believe, 
it can achieve.”

Monday, December 20, 2010

CREATIVITY - Think Outside the Box to Come Up with New Ideas

It can be tempting to stick with the “tried-and-true” way you’ve done things in the past. But you can discover something better when you use your mind to imagine new possibilities. This video explains how creativity can help you find solutions to any challenge you face.

How can you apply the suggestions here to a situation that requires a new solution?
"A pile of rocks ceases to be a rock when somebody contemplates it with the idea of a cathedral in mind." - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, French author

"One sure-fire way to stay creative: force yourself to learn something new."
- Harvey Mackay, American author

“Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” -
Oliver Wendell Holmes, American author

“Genius, in truth, means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way.”
- William James, American psychologist