Word-Of-the-Week #659: Stamina

March 23, 2017 by  

Stamina enduring energy, strength, and resilience.

What creative ideas were spurred last week? Are you willing to take the risk and experiment with your creative ideas no matter what? Do you feel compelled to wait until you have a perfect finished product to put your ideas out into the world?

2nd half – from Tap your well of creativity by Alene Dawson from The La Times. “For really creative people … your biggest enemy is procrastination,” says Tom Kelley, who with his brother, David Kelley, wrote the book “Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All.” He’s also a partner at the lauded design and innovation firm IDEO (it designed the original mouse for Apple) and speaks on creativity across the globe. The good news? You can fight back that tendency, with practice. “Nurture your own creativity. It’s the combination of the natural creative ability and also the courage to act and stamina to keep going on things.”

  1. Relax constraints. –“I was working with a spirits company recently,” Kelley said, “and I said, ‘Try to imagine you’re a brand new 22-year-old employee in your company. It’s 10 years from now, which means you can relax technology constraints, and now imagine the most innovative bar in Los Angeles in the summer of, let’s say 2026.’ Wow, with the distance of time and age they came up with amazing ideas. It’s about getting mental distance from the problem, relaxing constraint — it’s not about you anymore, it’s not about the present. When you get people out of their heads, out of their normal thought patterns, it unlocks more creativity.”
  1. Embrace diverse perspective. –“I wrote a whole book about this, ‘The Ten Faces of Innovation,’ ” Kelley says. “One secret ingredient for innovation in a group setting is actually respecting the other disciplines and teaming up with them well. Not thinking, ‘My discipline is the most important thing.’ … If I say, ‘Look, I’m really good at what I do, but what I do has a greater chance of succeeding if I team up with you,’ then the real collaboration starts happening. There’s a lot of good in that.”
  1. Improve your tolerance for failure. –“The truth is that we’ve all got ideas,” says Scott Belsky, author of “Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality.” “We seldom feel welcome to take risk and experiment with the ideas we come up with. You must put something on the line and be willing to stomach incremental setbacks to push your ideas forward.”
  1. Minimize “reactionary workflow.” –“In the era of email, Facebook, Twitter and a dozen other sources of flowing information — coupled with the devices we carry around with us — we are liable to spend all day, every day reacting to what comes into us rather than being proactive in what matters most to us,” says Belsky. “I call this the era of ‘reactionary workflow’ because we can easily react 100% of the time and never make a dent in our long-term goals. … It’s critical that we force ourselves to unplug more often and focus on the long term, the list of two, three things we’re trying to do for our business and in our lives over time.”
  1. Stop ‘selfie stalking.’ – “We spend too much time obsessing over what the world is saying about us. Whether it is checking your site’s traffic, your number of followers on social media or your bank account, these small repetitive actions don’t help you make ideas happen. They just help you feel safe,” Belsky says . “‘Insecurity work’ is stuff we do that (1) has no intended outcome, (2) does not move the ball forward in any way and (3) is quick enough that you can do it multiple times a day without realizing. … Try restricting all insecurity work to a specified 30 minutes every day.”
  1. Get influential. – “Nothing is completely original. All creative work builds on what came before,” says Austin Kleon, author of “Steal Like an Artist.” “So run toward influence instead of away from it: Read tons of books, go to museums, concerts and movies, take long walks, etc. Be always on the lookout for inspiration and carry a notebook with you wherever you go so you never lose an idea.”
  1. Commit to a daily creativity practice, no matter how small. – “Find a special distraction-free place and go there at the same time every day. Set a timer, let your mind go, and do your thing,” says Kleon. “A page a day doesn’t seem like much, but stick with it for a year, and you have 365 pages, enough for a book. Little bits of effort add up over time.”
  1. Show your work. – “Don’t wait until you have a perfect finished product to put your ideas out into the world,” says Kleon. “Start a blog, a newsletter or a social media account and start sharing your influences, works-in-progress and things that you’re learning. When you share things you love, you find a community of people who love those things too.”

This week’s focus is stamina. Are you willing to commit to a daily creativity practice? Have you ever teamed up on a project and found that you had more energy? Is procrastination an issue that is keeping you from realizing your creative potential?

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