Think About It

Posted from the Kohala Coast,Hawaii

I have been confined to quarters. It is my own doing. No, I did not get arrested nor fall ill. On Tuesday I got this brilliant idea I was going to take a run. Now mind you, heretofore I might take a two or two and a half mile jog but this day I was going to do more. I ran 4.6 miles and didn’t feel too bad. Of course when I got back I had to do my weight routine. Then to finish things off nicely I played 18 holes of golf. You get the picture. Most of my major muscle groups are frozen in place.

Looking for the most comfortable chair I could find, I chose the veranda off our room. I settled in with nothing more than my notebook. I looked out over this resort and marveled that a couple of decades ago someone saw these acres of lava and envisioned greenery and villas and homes. This whole concept of creativity got in my brain. It seems to me it is not especially new ideas but a different way of looking at things. Kind of like Leonardo’s Curiositae. I was going to give things a closer look.

DaVinci’s best exercise is to see how many different shades of green you can see in a landscape. There are a bunch. Then I heard the sounds of birds. Not just the loudmouth outside our window but all sorts of shrill tweets and perhaps a melodious coo here and there. What were they saying to each other? Was it romance or a dire warning of predators nearby. My senses piqued and I began to just look and listen. The cacaphony was stunning and the vista came alive in a totally different way.

Scribbling frantically I happened to think of my little environ. I looked at the chair I was sitting in and wondered where it came from. It was a plastic rattan and that alone made it a product that was formed from a petroleum derivative. How many people and materials went in to manufacturing and transporting this one object on this porch. The cushions? How was the material woven and who made the dye to form the pattern. There were designers and factory workers, middlemen, shipping clerks and loaders and drivers. Jeez Louise this is getting nuts.

I continued on as I had a new insight into construction and supply chains. The windows, doors, door hardware, bannisters, counters, appliances, appliance parts, phones, TVs. All were the fruits of a bunch of different people’s labors. Probably thousands of mere mortals had some hand in this condo and I dare say I was one of a infinitesimal group of people whoever gave it a thought. When I looked down my scribblings already consumed four pages and this was after no more than 15-20 minutes.

I would go on to think of the tourist industry. The hotels, buses, planes, flight crews, ground crews, controllers, executives, marketing, reservationists, golf carts, golf clubs. Yadda Yadda Yadda. It is astounding how many people I come into contact with and never give a thought as to their whereabouts or welfare. Never stoped to say hello or thank you. Imagine if we did? We are so short, impatient, demanding, obtuse and uninterested. Perfectly understandable in our frenetic world but still sad.

Now some will say I am creative but I would like to tell you that we all are. I can prove it. Several years ago Kathy and I went to an Italian restaurant in Vail with some old friends. They were teachers in a local school and they would laugh at the start of dinner waiting for one of TTG’s leading questions. The tables were covered with white butcher paper and every seating got an ample supply of crayons. Perfect for kids just like us.

This time I decided to put a word in the middle of the paper. It could have been Vail or mountain or Italian. It didn’t make any difference. Then in rapid fire I asked each one to give me a word that came to mind. I started drawing strings of words at a feverish pace. We might go back to the center and try a whole new track. This went on for about fifteen minutes and of course now fueled by some vino we could probably use some more paper. In the long run we had been creative and just let our imaginations run loose without any fear of judgment or retribution.

As I cogitate about this we might be onto something. Get a large piece of paper and try it yourself. Bring other members of the family or perhaps a work team. Kids are the best because they are totally uninhibited. There are no economic boundaries. Rich man, poor man. Mansion or hovel. We are talking paper and crayons and nothing more except our God given brains. In a school or office we don’t have any expense except for a white board and some markers.

Two things happen here. There is a sense of collaboration that we all did something. Almost as if we were making a tapestry, mural or mosaic. We can look at it and take pride. We break down walls between us and get a new appreciation of the other person. The fantastic part is that is in there and we now have a perfect way to get it out. Granted there will be naysayers and stick in the muds but hey, they will miss out on all the fun.

Now all of this started by my looking around and trying to see better what had been there all along. I am not special. It does not take an MBA or PHD. The marvelous thing called our brain just needs to be brought out of cold storage. It is exhilarating and doesn’t require a computer or game console to reach those heights. The world is a fantastic place all on its own. Just think about it.

As always
Ted The Great

Factoids:

3M Corporation is the epitome of creativity in the business world. One of its strengths is how it treats promising employees: give them opportunities, support them, and watch them learn and thrive. They literally sit around and bounce ideas off one another. Trial and error is encouraged. Probably 90% of their ideas are shelved or trashed but it is the process that makes them great.

We are actually thinking about 50% of the time. Most of us are plagued with thoughts that arise seemingly without cause.It’s not ADD but part of our multi tasking, intrusive world. It’s rare to experience more than a few moments without some thought arising. Many of the thoughts that arise in the mind are supportive of emotions of anxiety, ill will, neurotic craving, and self-doubt. Ugh!

Our mind plays tricks on us. We tend to gravitate towards ideas and concepts that we have been exposed to and accept. There is a natural tendency to go to a comfort zone. It is only through experiencing alternate points of view that our observations and judgments become more valid.

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