Archive for June, 2011

Creativity and Success

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

This week I volunteered at an arts camp for kids. I handed out sandwiches and wiped off tables and absorbed the children’s joy as they painted pictures, took photos, and improvised dance moves. Leaving my comfort zone and entering a room packed with 33 squirming grade schoolers spiked my energy level in ways I hadn’t anticipated. Now I’m thinking about how I can better apply my writing and marketing skills to help others. I learned a lot this week, but here are the two best take-aways:

  •  Stirring things up–new places, faces, activities–stimulates creativity.
  •  Applying your talents to help others succeed is the real meaning of success.

The camp’s founder, Rob Levit, made the latter point in a pep talk with the kids, and he demonstrates it every day . A jazz musician and artist, Levit founded a nonprofit organization, Creating Communities ( that seeks to connect all kinds of people and improve their lives through the arts. What a creative idea.

Abrams’ Mystery Box

Monday, June 13th, 2011

The blank page can be intimidating. Why not think of it as a “mystery box”? 

This suggestion comes from writer, director, and producer J.J. Abrams in his lively 18-minute talk on TED, the nonprofit group that sponsors annual conferences featuring the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers. Decades ago for $15 Abrams bought a box containing $50 worth of magic tricks, which he’s never opened, and he loves the way it represents possibility and potential. As you write you wonder what comes next and you answer questions–which is akin to solving mysteries.

Listening to Abrams, who co-created the TV show Lost and directed he movies Star Trek, Mission: Impossible III, and Super 8, got me thinking about creativity in a different way. I need to focus on the excitement of producing something rather than the fear that my effort will fall short of my hopes.

The blank page–a mystery box waiting to be filled.