One Squiggly Line Blog

Hand-drawn pictures can make things clear, simple, and fun in blogs, too!

Creativity: Failure & the Creative Life

Why are we afraid of failure?
 

It’s embarrassing. It’s humiliating. And perhaps it makes us feel weak and small inside.
 

When’s the last time you failed? How did it make you feel? Do you remember your reaction?
 

Perhaps it was a test. Poor performance at work. An interview. Suggesting a new idea.

Were you nervous? Did you cry? Get angry? Did you shy away and never try again?

Oftentimes these emotions are uncomfortable. Although difficult to experience, they lead to some of the most important lessons, opening up many doors for us later on in life.

We live in a culture where everything appears to be perfect and “normal” on the outside. Our social media accounts portray this.

The reality is that life is messy. We’re not always perfect people. And if we try to always stay within the lines, we’ll never know what lies beyond.

It’s important to allow ourselves to be open to failure and rejection, because on the other side is a reward - either a lesson to be learned, or you achieve what you intended.

This doesn't mean to be stupid with our failures, but rather, to be smart with our intentions and our reactions.

It’s not the failure itself that’s important. What’s important is that we learn from our failures and implement these lessons into our lives.

Ask yourself: If I fail at this, what’s the worst that can happen?
 

Failure is one of the most important tools for a creative life.
 

When we’re comfortable encountering failure and rejection, only then will we be able to experience results that we’ve never seen before.
 

A creative life is one that has experienced failure multiple times - not recoiling from it, but embracing, learning and implementing its lessons.

Failure is a steppingstone to personal success and creativity.

Learn more about Visual Thinking

Creativity & Visual Thinking: Love is Powerful!

Do you know what love feels like?
 

Does it make your heart skip several beats? Does it make you feel nervous? Excited? Content? Happy? Calm?
 

Love feels different for everyone - we each have our own love language. It’s our goal to identify how we respond and react to love.
 

In order to do so, we must become more familiar with ourselves.
 

This doesn’t just apply to romantic relationships. This applies to all aspects of our lives - our jobs, our friends, ourselves, as well as our significant others.


It’s important to fall in love with our lives, or at least certain aspects of them, as our lives are too short for mediocracy.  Our lives are too short for mediocre careers, hobbies and relationships.


We must not settle for something that doesn’t stir our heart. We must try and live our lives in accordance with our passions.
 

In order to find love, we must know what we’re passionate about.
 

This all takes takes time, experience, and even failure. We must not be afraid of encountering new experiences, as every new and unfamiliar experience is valuable in helping us learn more about ourselves.
 

How are you going to learn more about yourself and your love language? What experiences do you want to have this year? What areas do you want to grow in?

Learn more about Visual Thinking

Visual Thinking: Simple is Powerful

Friendly hand-drawn visuals can breathe new life into an old message. The topic of New Year's resolutions has been covered time and time again. So much so that people stop really paying attention to it. In effect, it becomes invisible. 

 

When that happens, a new approach is needed. Something to break the pattern and grab people's eye. No need to make it fancy or complex. Simple can be very powerful. Plus, when you keep things simple, they're less scary so you're more likely to follow through.

 Bring Visual Thinking To Your Next Project Or Event

Creativity: You ARE Creative

Many people don't consider themselves creative because they can’t “draw” or “paint”.

The reality is that creativity can take on a variety of forms - many forms beyond the physical realm. In fact, creativity starts and is born from our internal world. Our goal is to figure out which medium best portrays our personal creativity.

Thus, we must make sure we cultivate an environment that is conducive to creativity. But how do we do that? How do we know what that environment looks like? Isn’t it different for everyone?

Yes.
 

The first step, and the most important step, is to become more familiar with ourselves.

We must be able to recognize the types of things that stir our heart, set our soul on fire, and make us come alive. Because once we recognize them, then we can begin to replicate them.  
 

And the only way to find out is by trying out a variety of different things, as creativity demands quantity.  

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

-Howard Thurman

Learn More About Visual Thinking

Creativity & Visual Thinking: Go for Quantity!

Creativity demands quantity. Creativity comes from being exposed to a lot of different stimuli. It comes from having a lot of different experiences. It’s being able to draw from each of these experiences, and the unique reservoir associated with it. When we have a lot of different experiences, we can continue to build upon new and old ideas with the wisdom we’ve gained.

 

In order to come up with a great idea, we need to have large quantity of ideas to pick and choose from, and experiment with. It’s easy to pick the first ideas that come to our mind, and it’s oftentimes the case that we stop after the first few ideas and fail to go further. 

 

We need to open our minds to more ideas. We can’t stop at our first ideas. Our first ideas are typically generic, and already thought of before. The more ideas we come up with, and the more we suspend our judgement, the more novel our ideas are. We must stretch our minds to think further, and to suspend any judgement. 

 

This is particularly helpful with brainstorming - of trying to come up with a good idea, whether for a work project or a personal project. 

 

The creative mind is the mind that doesn’t stop at the first idea.

Visual thinking is a simple way to increase the amount of knowledge that sticks in your brain. And the more knowledge you have, the more building block you have to create with.

Contact me to bring the power of visuals to your next meeting, events, or project.

Creativity: We All Have It — Reignite Yours!

Think back to when you were a kid. Do you remember your personality? Do you remember any quirks you had?
 

And if you can’t remember that far back, think about the little kids you know, whether family, friends, or even strangers.
 

They all have one thing in common - they’re at the the most creative stage in their life.
 

Children are at a stage where they haven’t been conditioned to many routines and norms. They are completely themselves - unfiltered and raw.
 

...Always asking why

...Not caring too much of what others think about their appearance or their actions

...Saying whatever comes to mind

...Not holding back any ounce of laughter
 


As we grow older, eventually we don’t question as much
 

Eventually the routines of life become mainstream
 

Eventually our imagination grows stale
 

We hold back our laughter more and more
 

And eventually we lose the perspective of what could be in exchange for what is

Creativity gets taught out of us


Our teachers telling us to write in 12 pt. Arial font.


Our parents not having enough patience to answer all of our why’s.
 

Our own inflicted judgements
 

We become afraid of failure. Of messing up. Of saying the wrong thing. Of being judged.
 

To the point where we’ve lost ourselves in exchange for a mask that society has handed us.

We have unlearned creativity.

We all have the ability to be creative, but it's our job to learn it again.

Visual thinking is a great way to jumpstart your creativity, whether personally or professionally, alone or with a group. Simply watching someone else create something can inspire creative thinking and actions. Contact me to bring the power of visuals to your next event, meeting, or project and reclaim your creativity!

Visual Thinking & Creativity: Use something in a new way

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There's a myth out there that highly creative people just sit around and wait for inspiration to strike. Like a great big lightening bolt from the sky. Or a soft whisper from a mystical muse.
Truth is, creativity is not quite so passive. It is an active process. And there's a science to it, not just an art. There are even formulas, methods, and procedures for generating ideas and, equally importantly, evaluating them. One way to get a new idea or find a creative solution is to use something in a new way.

Sometimes, I take stacks of business cards with me, like if I'm working at a conference or event. Regular rubber bands seemed to rip several of the cards, which meant I had fewer to give out. So, I looked around and found something different to hold my business cards together — stretchy ribbon hair ties. Not only do they hold my business cards together, they look better, too!

When it comes to creativity, the best ideas can be inside the box, not outside of it. You just need to use them in a new way.

Visual Thinking & Creativity; Visualize it richly & colorfully

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Visualizing things richly and colorfully leads to more creative thinking. You probably visualize things more than you realize, without really thinking about it. So you already have some visual thinking skills. But how do you become better at visualizing things on purpose?
Try this:

Go to a hardware store or someplace that sells paint. First, pick a paint sample color card that matches your shirt. That's a warm-up, starting with something very concrete and right in front of you — your shirt.

Then, look for a paint sample color card that matches something at home. It could be a different shirt, a piece of furniture, your walls. Whatever you choose, you will need to picture it very clearly in your mind so you can "see" the color.

Paint sample cards are usually free, so you can take home the ones you think are the closest and see how well you did. The more you practice, the better you get!

Check out One Squiggly Line's About Visual Thinking page to learn more.

Visual Thinking: Visual Biography

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Abstract ideas can be fascinating, but our brains really prefer things to be concrete. That way, it's much easier for the brain to make sense of them. And remember them.
A great way to make your own short bio more memorable and engaging is to make it visual! Mine is above. As you can see, the key facts are worked into my logo. That helps folks remember a bit about me when they look at my logo, wherever it is.

A visual biography can be much more powerful than a paragraph or two listing your accomplishments. So if you need to give a quick bio for a speaking engagement or whatever, make it visual!

Check out One Squiggly Line's About Visual Thinking page to learn more.

Visual Thinking & Creativity: Timelines

Pictures are obviously a big part of visual thinking. So are words. But if you just throw a bunch of words and pictures on a page, you just end up with a mess. A visual mess that makes your thinking messy, too.
That's where organization comes in. It's the third essential component of successful visuals. It doesn't have to be fancy. In fact, it's often best to keep things really simple.

A timeline is a simple and effective way to visually organize information.The image above shows a simple timeline of the International Center for Studies in Creativity, where I got my master's degree. Of course there's a whole lot more to their story than shown in this timeline, but it includes the things that influenced or impacted me in some way. You get the idea, at a glance.

Check out One Squiggly Line's About Visual Thinking page to learn more.