Tag Archives: Ideas

Do You Have Ideas? Great, Write About Them

I came across a great post recently that you might say, is one of my guiding principles here — everyone should write:

You don’t talk about these ideas, even in your own head, because you’ve never put them into words. […] We’re all brimming with opinions on these topics that we may never discuss, even with ourselves. […] Writing crystallizes ideas in ways thinking on its own will never accomplish.

[…]

Sometimes writing is encouraging. You realize you understand a topic better than you thought. The process flushes out all kinds of other ideas you never knew you had hiding upstairs. Now you can apply those insights elsewhere.

Other times it’s painful. Forcing the logic of your thoughts into words can uncover the madness of your ideas. The holes. The flaws. The biases. Thinking “I want this job because it pays a lot of money” is bearable. Seeing the words on paper looks ridiculous. Things the mind tends to gloss over the pen tends to highlight.

These are exactly some of the reasons that I write. Sometimes, you think you have this grand idea and you’ve been carrying it around for months. You think, “if only they would have done it like this, things would be so much better.” However, when you take 10 minutes to sit down and try and write about this thought, you realize, there are a thousand different reasons why they didn’t do it the way you thought and are instead, doing it the way they are doing it.

Of course, there are also those times that when you do sit down to write, you realize that your idea is even better than you had originally thought. OK, maybe that doesn’t happen as often, but fleshing out ideas is an important step in the creative process.

Another important reason why I like to write is because I find that if I keep the ideas in my mind, they continue to swirl around. By extension, this doesn’t leave “room” for other ideas to float in. I know this is kind of limiting, but sometimes, I feel like I need to get the ideas out of my head and onto the page, so that new ideas can make their way in. It seems absurd that there is a “finite” amount of space inside one’s mind, but as it happens, we tend to think about the same stuff over and over. Additionally, I thought I had come across something from Einstein, Franklin, or one of the other famous creatives on the importance of writing everyday (for this very purpose), but I can’t seem to find it. Either way, that’s not what’s important. What’s important – writing something. So, get on with it – write something!

You don’t have to publish what you write, though I find that it helps me to be a bit more focused. If I know that there’s a chance that someone might read what I’m writing (eventually) I’m motivated to be at least a little polished. I know errors will still make it through, but on the whole, the meaning still gets through.

Alright, your turn…

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Women Read More Fiction: Is That Why They’re More Empathic?

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a rather informative tweet:

 

When I first saw that, I was a bit surprised. Statistics tells us that for every 100 females born, there are 105 males born. So, there should be more boys than girls and as a result, we might expect that more boys would be reading than girls. Of course, there are so many other factors involved, but from a volume standpoint, I’d think that more boys would read than girls. I thought I’d click-through and read the report, but it’s behind a wee bit of a paywall to the tune of $799. As a result, I won’t be able to (maybe you or someone you know can?) read over the statistics. Nonetheless, I had a different direction I’d like to take this post. Empathy.

I’ve written before about how reading fiction can boost empathy. This very important human skill needs to be cultivated and one of the ways to do that is to read fiction. In addition, we all know the ‘stereotype’ that women are more empathetic than men. However, when there’s data to back it up, I suppose that it’s not so much a ‘stereotype’ as a likelihood. So, in putting these pieces together, my thought was that maybe this empathy gap has grown because women are more likely to read fiction than men. Sounds plausible, right?

In doing research for this post, I came across something from the Greater Good Science Center at Berkeley. That post was talking about whether women’s empathy is the result of nature or nurture. It cited a few studies supporting both sides of the debate. I wonder if we could then add the data point of women reading more fiction to the nurture side… or the nature side? Nature side, you ask confused? Well, in saying that women read more fiction leading to greater empathy, we’d have to test whether women reading more fiction leads to a greater empathy or if women having greater empathy prefer to read. If you know anyone doing empathy research, this might be an interesting study.

Disruptive Innovation… in Music?

Pitch PerfectOver the holidays, I had the chance to see a number of movies. Most of them were with the intention of enjoying awards shows, but some were meant to just be, well, fun. I had heard really good things about one movie in particular and I enjoyed one of the actresses (Anna Kendrick) in another movie (Up In The Air), so I thought I’d give it a chance. The movie I’m talking about: Pitch Perfect.

This is a movie about a couple of different things, but I want to focus on two aspects of it. The first, is that Beca (Anna Kendrick) wants to produce music. The second, the a cappella group, the Bellas, sing. The plot of the movie centers around the second point, the Bellas, and their attempts to makeup for their embarrassing showing at the prior year’s championship. Beca gets recruited to be part of the Bellas and comedy ensues.

While singing for the Bellas, Beca has lots of great ideas for how the Bellas could be better, but because of the dictator-like leadership style of the person in charge of the group. Towards the end of the movie *spoiler alert* the leader of the group and Beca have a reconciling of sorts and Beca is able to infuse the group with her ideas. Naturally, this allows the group to impress at the championship and finish in first place.

There’s nothing immediately out of the ordinary about this plot, but if you look closely, you’ll see that there’s a bit of disruptive innovation happening. That is, Beca, with her off-the-wall ideas and new style, brings a dash of flavor to the group’s old ways of doing things. As a result, the group has a wowing performance because no one had ever heard those kinds of sounds mixed together or seen someone perform in that way (in a cappella). The key part of that last sentence is — in a cappella. Sure, people have been mixing music for quite some time in other areas, but no one had seen it before (at least in this movie) done in a cappella.

So, why is this important? Because some of the best solutions to problems usually don’t come from within the field. There usually has to be some kind of cross-disciplinary flavor to the solution. Disruptive innovation is everywhere today. Your idea may just be a million-dollar one… but you could be applying it in the wrong field.

Be Yourself: Erring on the Side of Authenticity

I’ve had very spotty internet connectivity over the past week or so and that’s why you haven’t seen any new posts from me for a while. I’ll continue to have spotty internet connectivity probably until next week, but there’s something I wanted to say before I got back into writing regularly here.

Just before the new year clicked over, someone passed along the trailer for Seth Godin’s new book. I’ve included it below:

After watching that trailer — it made sense. While I’m not necessarily an artist, I think the message that Godin is promoting is important: there is a bias for the middle road. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with that, but that bias to the middle road does come at a price. I’d say that this is something that I certainly have been mindful of with the things I’ve written about online. Some may point to my series on psi phenomena (telepathy, precognition, etc.) as evidence that I’ve long since blown past the middle road, but when I wrote those posts, I was careful to make sure that I cited a litany of scientific studies supporting the existence of such phenomena. Others may point to posts like the one I’ve written about hugs instead of handshakes, but that doesn’t seem like it’s too far from the middle road.

Regardless of who points to what, I wanted to say — today — I’m declaring that I’m going to err on the side of authenticity. What does that mean? Well, in the past, I may have shied away from sharing his opinion or that opinion — especially because it’s online! — ‘and things online are forever.’ I’ve come to realize that this is silly. Yes, I’ve read all the things out there about how the pictures you post online or the things you write about online could prevent you from getting job-x or job-y. I understand that, but I still think it’s important to strive to learn. How can I expect myself to grow/learn, if I don’t share some of my sensitive ideas and open them up for discussion and debate? How can I expect to have these ideas challenged and improved? I certainly can’t.

When I started writing on the internet, I had this idea in mind. That is, I was mindful that my ideas in this moment, on January 8th, 2013, might not be the ideas that I have on January 8th, 2014. As a result, I wrote a bit about it in my disclaimer:

I am the creator of this blog and my perspective of five years or five minutes ago do not necessarily reflect my views right now. My thoughts, opinions and viewpoints will change as I learn, grow, and develop my understanding of the world. Therefore, I reserve the right to allow my viewpoints to evolve and to change my thoughts, viewpoints and opinions over time without assigning any reason for such changes.

I truly believe this and hope that those who may look to things I’ve written in the past and try to hold it against me will realize that I fully expect that my ideas will grow, shift, and change. This seems important to make note of because who knows, I may yet one day run for public office and I could totally imagine a clever reporter digging up things I’ve written in the past with glee showing that I was, in fact, on the “other” side of an issue that I may be staunchly for (in that present day). Who knows what the future holds.

I know one thing’s for sure, the kind of change that I want to be part of on a global scale certainly won’t be made by me (or others) erring on the side of the middle road. So long as I’m true to myself — authentic — and keep to my ethics/morals, I feel confident in standing up for whatever I’ve said.

So — this is not to say that I’m going to start advocating some extreme positions in tomorrow’s post (or even the next day’s), but I will, as the title suggests, err on the side of authenticity. I hope you’ll join me in this learning experience — maybe we’ll be able to teach each other something.