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

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: 10 Ways to Shake Things Up!

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  • Take a cold shower

  • This will likely be an unfamiliar experience, allowing you to create new neural connections.

  • Make a new meal without a recipe

    • This will force you to be comfortable without all of the answers in front of you

  • Try a new hairstyle

    • A new change could inspire you!

  • Create a new outfit that you’ve never worn before

    • Mixing and matching will help you form new styles. A new outfit can give you a new vibe, which can inspire confidence.

  • Journal about your day

    • This reflection time will allow you to absorb what you’ve learned throughout the day. Journaling will also allow you to look back on old memories and see patterns in your life.

  • Take a new route that you haven’t taken before

    • This will give you a new perspective. This will take you out of auto-pilot mode, and force you to think in different ways.

  • Rearrange your room or living space

    • This can create a fresh environment and get you out of a routine feeling

  • Ask more questions

    • The more curious you are, the more you will learn.

  • Limit or eliminate social media for a day

    • You can use the extra time gained from eliminating social media to be more productive. You can spend this time in silence. It will likely be an unfamiliar experience.

  • Exercise your body and mind

    • Whether working out, doing yoga or meditating, this will allow your body and mind to relax and take a break from life.

    • Giving your mind a break allows creative ideas to flow naturally.

    Hire me to shake things up for you!

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: Get it! Grab it! Go for it!

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While visual thinking makes things simple, it certainly does not dumb them down. Part of the simplicity comes from removing unnecessary parts, leaving behind only what you need to work with. That allows you to really see exactly what it is you do have to work with. This often leads to that, "Oh, now I get it!" moment when everything finally seems to fall into place and make sense.

Once you can see things more clearly, you are able to make better decisions. Sometimes, things become so obvious it doesn't even really feel like you're making a decision at all. The right choice just jumps right at you. Or if you do need to think about it for a minute, it's much easier for you to grab it and run with it.

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

Visual Thinking & Visual Notes: Live Graphic Recording

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 Hand-drawn visuals are far friendlier than standardized fonts and stock photos. And hand-drawn visuals are even more inviting when created live, right there where everyone can see.
The drawing above was created during the opening remarks at the Women in Cyber Security conference the end of March. It was then displayed near registration to welcome late-comers. Not a high resolution file shown here, just taken with my iPhone in the moment.

To see the whole set of visual notes from the Women in Cyber Security conference, check out this Flickr album.

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 & Creatvity: Make the common new

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We look at letters every day. Online. Text messages. Street signs. Starbuck's coffee cups. Letters are everywhere.
When we see things all the time, we often stop really looking at them. Common things can become invisible.

When that happens, it's a great time to get creative with them. That causes you to look at things in a new way. Explore them from a bunch of different perspectives. Really look at them. See them in a new light. That's where a lot of new ideas are often found — sitting there right in front of us, in plain sight!

Visual Thinking & Visual Notes: Live Graphic Recording

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People often think I do a lot of drawing while taking live visual notes. If you really look at the image above, you'll see there's really not much drawing there at all. Just some squares, a couple of circles, and an arrow. That's it!
When you write words inside simple shapes, those simple shapes start making your own notes a bit more visual. They become more dynamic. More interesting. The image and the message become more unified. And far more powerful. 

A great way to make your own notes more visual is to write some of your words inside simple shapes — circles, squares, triangles, arrows, etc. Give it a try!

The image above is a close-up of a 4'x8' drawing, created live, in real-time during a Design Thinking workshop. Be sure to check out the entire image!