Sunday, October 18, 2020

What I’ve learned about Creativity and Entrepreneurship thus Far…

  • Ideas are the seeds of entrepreneurship, but they need to be properly nurtured to grow into anything.
  • Creativity comes easiest when I’m having an in-the-moment great experience, doing fun things, and I’m in a go-with-the-flow mindset.
  • Creativity DOES NOT flourish when I try to force it and plan it. It’s by chance and from the heart. The key to creativity is to begin to realize when I’m in the right space to be creative and own the moments.
  • How I create a creative space if I’m at home….
      • I clean my apartment. 
      • I listen to uplifting music and I sometimes dance or move to the music to get a full-body feeling of positive emotion. (I like the 10+ minute versions of positive music most… these are very helpful for getting into a state. I’ve linked an example at the bottom of this article). 
      • Watch a movie or youtube that evokes emotions (informational-based watches don’t seem to work for me to get into a space of creativity though). 
      • Bake or cook something I love. 
      • Look around my apartment and cherish and awe the space I’ve made for myself.
      • Think of anything positive. 
      • Look for beauty. 
      • THEN, I sit in a positive space. Hold onto it, and I begin from this state.
  • Focusing too much on building a following or being liked will destroy my creativity and motivation faster than a cheetah looking for its next meal! So, if I get into this space mentally…. I have to change it the soonest as possible.
I’ve started to structure my marketing and space to analyze this into a designated time-frame to this and only this. Then, I try to be really objective and goal-driven afterward. I try NOT to let myself overthink and worry afterward. It’s really hard for me to do because I’m overly critical of myself and just want so badly for things to progress.

Being go-with-the-flow, learning to toot your own horn, NOT care what others may or may not be thinking about what you do (hint: they probably don’t even care…. because people are usually focused on themselves and their goals), and learning how to evoke and work from emotional spaces is important for entrepreneurship and creativity.

Note: I’ll be continuing to update this article with more lessons as they come. This is a nice start for this morning. :-)

Example of a 10+ minute version of positive music that is very helpful for getting into a positive, creative state: 

By the way… if you’re creative — Fractured Atlas provides fiscal sponsorships for creative projects that could help you to get started with funding your creativity for a good cause.
Check out the link below for more info:

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

My Summary & Thoughts of Angela Duckworth’s Harvard Business Review Talk on Finding Your Grit during a Crisis

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash 
You can find the full 35-minute talk by Angela Duckworth on YouTube now at the following link (also in the references below):

I recently watched the Harvard Business Review talk by Angela Duckworth about finding your grit during a crisis. I feel that this most correlates with our module in the class so far about handling stress at work. It’s all about being resilient during a time of high stress like the pandemic.

Angela Duckworth is a professor of psychology at The University of Pennslyvania, and she studies grit. She also published an extremely popular book called, “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance”, and she has been popularized as well by her TED talk. Grit is the perseverance and passion over a long term time frame for a goal. Duckworth believes this is the number one thing that separates people who achieve success and those who don’t. Grit is most associated with resilience in positive psychology.

Duckworth talks about the emotions during a crisis, and how it’s normal to experience stress and emotions in a variety right now. She says to allow yourself to experience them and to know this is ok. This is neat to learn and it goes back to understanding our natural reactions to stress. This is all human nature. This ties directly with the “Coping Strategies for Success” article we read when it said, “Give yourself permission to fall apart, feel rotten, and cry” as well as “Don’t berate yourself for having these reactions. After all, they are signs of your humanity.” All of what she says in the talk is actually giving people permission to feel bad and icky about what is going on and normalizing that this is totally acceptable, normal, and okay. She says also that what can help during the crisis is we can choose to focus on our positive response to stress and the crisis vs. choosing to be focused on what happened and the negative aspects of the crisis. We need to focus on what we’ve learned from the crisis and continue to use these our lessons to improve our life and our stress response.

Another thing she discussed is goal setting, and how those goals tend to be hierarchical… so, when we quit goals, it may not be that we’re falling off course but rather helping our higher-level purpose and goal in life. She says we need a higher-level purpose to help with grit. With so much uncertainty with the pandemic, it is really hard to have grit and be resilient about hierarchical goals, however. So, we need to pivot…. Try to do something different than normal, but that will still lead to your higher-level goal. I would say this is comparable to thinking outside of the box because of the new situations the crisis has provided us. It’s an opportunity to try different things, but still, work towards are higher-level goals. All of these things she said directly relate to what the “Coping Strategies for Success” article said, “Commit to something personally meaningful and important every day” as well as “Take initiative for action when it is appropriate”. This is an appropriate time TO take action is what her point is. You just need to figure out how maybe do that a little differently than normal, but you’ll still be moving towards your higher-level goals.

In the workplace, she says company’s that want a culture of drive and perseverance should also have a hierarchical set of goals. Organizations need to have clarity about their mission statements as well as their goals and objectives to achieve their mission. The same is true for individuals. This helps with resiliency and grit. Every day, management needs to keep driving about what the mission, goals, and objectives are and how their part fits into the greater whole. It’s not fine enough to have an annual meeting and talk about the organization’s mission statement and expect everyone to remember everything from the meeting.

Lastly, another thing she said which correlates to our readings about coping with stress is she said balance is key to a happy and wholesome life. Grit isn’t grinding all the time. She says even the most successful people, they find the time to turn off and have balance. This is what our module about coping with stress talks about. We all need ways to relax and have recreation.

Overall, what I learned most from the talk by Duckworth about finding grit during a crisis is to understand it’s okay to feel bad right now, but you can and should still continue on your path towards your higher-level goals by using the crisis to do things you wouldn’t normally do in order to keep moving forward. Also, I learned that companies who want to encourage grit and be gritty as a company culture should reinforce their mission and the goal and objectives of achieving the mission just as anyone should do individually. Management needs to reinforce and ensure its employees grasp and are passionate about how they fit into the large picture and higher-level goals in the organization. This is fundamental to building a culture of grit, resiliency, and perseverance. We should be, as well, focusing on how we reacted positively from the crisis vs. remaining stuck on the negative part that this happened and the awful pieces of everything. It’s good to keep a positive outlook and keep an eye out for learning opportunities EVEN during a crisis. This will help all of us and society to grow and continue to achieve our dreams and desired outcomes.

We’re all in this together, and there are clearly ways we can use the crisis to be a positive tool for us and find our grit in the process. Thanks, Angela Duckworth for your wisdom during these trying times.


Full Talk: 

Angela Duckworth

Grit (personality trait)

And… “Coping Strategies for Stress” article from our Module 10 homework

What can Managers do to help ease the psychological work-performance effects due to our growing autonomous, social media-driven society?

Is the increasingly popular contemporary management style effective given our changing society?

The contemporary management style has been increasingly growing more popular over the traditional management style.
At the same time, we have been experiencing a growing autonomous and social-media plugged-in society.

The vast benefits of contemporary management styles can clearly be seen. However, when you look at the concerns and potential negatives associated with our growing automation and social media use, we begin to see problems in contemporary management theory.

The movement to a contemporary management style that calls for employees to make decisions for themselves and be more innovative while working in cross-functional teams is arguably a good thing. Employees can now have a work-life balance and be free of the bureaucracy that comes with a hierarchy of management. Information is free-flowing and available readily at our fingertips. (The differences between traditional and contemporary management styles can be found below in Table 1 if you need a refresher.)
However, how do we expect employees to have a larger focus on self-direction and making their own work-life balance while still getting things done… when there are so many negatives on their mental health in these growing autonomous and social media focused times?

Growing anxiety about automation such as a loss of place in society and loss of control, fear of change, job insecurity, and a loss of joy in craftmanship from non-autonomous work among many are at play in our society now and ever-growing. At the same time, we have social media usage that affects us negatively by causing us to compare, have less well-being, and more triggers on our emotional health. (The negatives and positives of automation and social media can be found in Tables 2 & 3 below respectively.)

Just how much do all of these negatives affect our employee’s ability to perform without the traditional management structure of an 8–5 mandated work schedule, hierarchical management as a sense of control to rely on for direction and order leaving us less mentally flexed, and a reliance on being told what to do vs. having to think for ourselves about WHAT we should do?

Is vast information available in a contemporary management style challenging for employees to know what to do with?

For some, management outlining what they need to be doing and by when, etc could be the reprieve they need mentally during times like this.
I believe the negatives of our growing autonomous and social media hyper-driven society could create issues for employees to perform well in a self-directed and innovative way.
From this point of view…
Some of the structure, orderliness, and hierarchy of traditional management styles might be more beneficial to combat the negatives of our changing society.
So, what can managers do?
Ensure there is still available an 8–5 structure if the employee so chooses.
Create templates of work-life balance best approaches and structure that could be used if the employee so chooses.
Be in touch with what the employee is going through at the time with their mental health at this time as they may need a more traditional management approach at times. It may not always be feasible and best to leave your employees with so much room for self-management and cross-functionality that they are at a loss on how to get things done effectively and efficiently.
Ensure your employees understand their role and importance to you and your organization while giving them the right space they need for their emotional well-being.

The links from the sources above are below.

Mental health strain from automation research:

The links from the sources above are below.

Forbes article on social media negative effects on health:

Benefits of social media:

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

20 Ways to Make Your Life Rich and Beautiful

1. Find contentment and see the beauty in the way things are now.

It’s ok to have goals and ambitions, but not at the detriment of finding contentment in the here and now.

Yes, this is very hard sometimes. There is, especially now it seems, a constant urge to do more and be more. We should be able to separate our goals and ambitions from the current life we have and know each one’s place in our lives in a beautiful balance. It will make life so refreshing.

While we may want to fix or improve our lives, our lives are what they are NOW and that’s ok. We all have a unique beauty in our current lives however they may be right now.

Learn to accept, be content, and find beauty in the here and now. However, have goals and ambitions while embracing change.

Balance is key.

2. Read

Subscribe to blogs, newsletters, publications, magazines, or other reading sources that inspire, teach you wisdom, and/or bring beauty into your life.

The key is that they must be of value to you in some way.

Omit and stay away from those that aren’t of value to you. If you don’t, they will become burdens in your life.

3. Reflect on your experiences — at least weekly if not daily.

Start out with weekly to get you started.

What has happened this week? How is this helping me to become a better person, help others to become better, and what are the key takeaways for my life?

These observations and reflections are truly beautiful. They will add to your life.

4. Learn and remember what your simple pleasures are in life.

For example and help with this, visit my Medium article “Life’s Simple Pleasures”.

Quoted from the post, simple pleasures “…are simple things we like and are passionate about in life. This can even be as detailed as the smells, sights, and foods among many other simple and sometimes overlooked details in our life that evoke happiness and joy.”

5. Learn how to eat, drink, and live healthily.

While hard, this will add tremendously to your life.

Why do YOU want to do this? — that is what you need to find out for yourself as it’s different for everyone.

Understanding yourself enough to know why you want to live healthily is the component that makes this most beautiful.

6. Understand your childhood and how it has impacted your adult life.

Many things we don’t understand are linked back to our childhood and the way we learned.

Some can do this on their own and some may need the help of a professional. It’s nothing to be ashamed of or fear.

Learning from our childhood so that we can become the best version of ourselves is one of the most beautiful things we can do in life.

7. Learn about your family and friends.

Don’t build relationships that only skim the surface of what they could be. Learn about and understand those you cherish in your life.

Learning about them will add to your life and also theirs.

Ask them questions, spend time together in-person if you are able, and make sure they know how much they mean to you.

8. Learn to manage your finances well.

Don’t overspend.

Learn to budget your money and live within your means.

Your mind will thank you and so will your wallet.

9. Learn from people who inspire you.

Who are you inspired by? Figure this out as it holds a lot of value in understanding yourself more.

Once you know who you are inspired by, learn from them the most you can.

10. Learn what to cut from your life.

How do you do this? You figure out what kind of life you want and who you are so that you know what to surround yourself with and do.

The key is to know yourself… Knowing yourself doesn’t end once you are sure you do either. We are constantly evolving and changing.

Be in touch with who you are NOW and who you want to become.

11. Travel.

Traveling is nice because it really immerses you in a different culture if you allow yourself to fully experience what the traveling is offering you, but you don’t have to get that full emersion to get the same benefits elsewhere.

If you can’t travel because you either don’t enjoy it for whatever reason or maybe you don’t have the funds to do so right now, then talk to people who have and learn from them.

Talk to and get to know people who are different from you and/or have different cultural backgrounds.

Many people don’t allow themselves to fully experience travel and learn the different views and ways of life that are such great mind-opening experiences. Then, traveling doesn’t offer quite the beautiful learning that’s so great.

Oftentimes, what I notice is that people want to use travel as a way to get attention and feel better than others. That’s not the reason to travel. Your 1,000 photos from Europe don’t make you a grand human being.

Use travel as a means to learn. The world is beautiful.

12. Figure out the career(s) you love.

Yes, a job can just be that — a job. That’s ok and dandy if you want it to be that way. If this is the case, then I would go the mile to ensure that what you’re doing outside of your job at least brings you joy and happiness in some way.

Really the point here is that the term career can mean many things. A stay-at-home mom, for instance, has a tough but rewarding career.

Find what you love, what you feel is rewarding, and what brings you happiness and joy. Then, try to do more of it.

What career(s) we love, find rewarding, and bring us happiness and joy can change throughout our lives, however. Notice what new things you’re loving and what old things that once brought you happiness and joy but no longer are doing so.

Make a career out of going after the things that you love, whether you get paid for them or not. If you’re lucky enough to find this in a typical career, that’s great. If not, don’t sweat it and find it elsewhere.

13. Stop the negativity and complaining constantly.

Yes, we all can get into this rut if we allow ourselves to, but it’s really not healthy or nice to think so negatively.

Look at what you’re having a hard time with and either accept it, move on, or change it. I struggle with this sometimes; I think we all do.

Don’t let it become your life or whole being. It’s ok at times to feel this way, but to constantly be like this isn’t a good thing.

Change your mindset to a positive one or at least make small action steps to try and try again until you get into a better mental habit.

14. Explore any creative side you may have.

If you’re feeling an untapped creative part of you that wants so badly to be explored, explore it without fear.

Some people don’t care about creative passions and maybe they know they aren’t the creative kind. That’s fine. Good, they know themselves. But, even so — I would still ask them to evaluate if they really don’t or if they could be simply ignoring their creativity. No harm is done though if you don’t have any single itch in your entire soul for creativity.

If you do have a creative itch… Let your creative side come out.

Be a kid again making some shitty first-drafts (we do that as adults too — FYI. It’s ok. It’s normal.) or artwork or crafts that only your mother would love. Haha.

Do it and do it again and again… you’ll get better. I promise. And if you don’t get better, well it’s still a lot of fun, isn’t it?

Do it even if you don’t think you’re all that great at it. It’s ok. Pablo Picasso didn’t make a masterpiece overnight. It takes work to create skill and success.

Don’t be afraid to explore all parts of you. You can be more than what you think you may be… explore it all. Every beautiful piece of you.

15. Figure out your style.

Find the fashions that allow you to express yourself the best possible way to the world. I know… clothes shouldn’t matter. But, they do.

Your clothes and the way you keep yourself groomed are some of the first things that people see when they meet you or even look at you across the coffee shop. (As I’m sitting here in a coffee shop today, I thought that was most fitting.)

You don’t have to dress like Beyonce to have fashion or style either. If you find jeans and a t-shirt is your style…. Own it! The key here is that you want to know what styles and fashions you feel most comfortable with and love.

People can sense when your style and your heart don’t match.

16. Learn that relationships (all do, but here I want to focus on romantic partner relationships) take work and commitment.

If you want everything to be easy and the greatest thing since sliced bread in your relationship or future relationships at all times… you’re in for a rude awakening.

Relationships have highs and lows just the same as we do in our own lives.

We aren’t always going to feel grand whether in a relationship or not. We shouldn’t expect pure perfection in our relationship or future relationships (future — if you’re single and thinking about your ideal relationship).

Everything ebbs and flows. If we didn’t have the ebbs and flows, it honestly wouldn’t be as beautiful or as grand. Those highs and lows make up our lives.

17. Learn to be happy alone, if even for a short amount of time. (And I don’t mean for you to become a loner!)

What I mean is for you to learn that you can make your own company and do things on your own and actually enjoy them.

Some people think they need someone with them or talking with them at all times. Mostly, it’s because somewhere deep down they might be afraid of being alone or don’t know how to handle their own presence.

Quietness is ok sometimes. Being alone is ok sometimes. Not to excess, but some time alone to yourself is ok and needed.

If you find being alone hard to do, just start out slow and increase your confidence with time. You’ll thank yourself for giving yourself this opportunity.

18. Figure out everyone who helped you to become who you are today. Thank them.

No more explanation needed. Give thanks to those who helped you.

19. Learn what environments and spaces you thrive in.

Can you work well in a coffee shop surrounded by people or do you work better alone at home?

Do you need your office in the basement or your office on the main floor beside the windows that give you that natural light you so desperately need to feel even more you and refreshed — ready to show the world all you got?

Figure out the environments and spaces you need to do your best and be your best. The little details matter.

20. Take notice of all the beautiful things in life and in yourself.

Not only those in this list but also or instead those that you find beautiful.

There’s so much to learn and so much beauty in this life and in yourself that we take for granted.

Notice. Learn. — This is beautiful.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Let go, freely and beautiful…

Taken in a park in downtown Montreal, Qu├ębec, Canada

Life is but moments. Each moment unique and in its place, for the right reason, we may not know now, later, if ever.

Much like the birds come and go, freely and beautiful…

We should learn to let go, freely and beautiful.

They’ll come when we are meant to meet and leave when they are ready.

Let be.
Beauty is around us and in us.