Monthly Archives: August 2013

Malcolm Gladwell: Albert O. Hirschman and the Power of Failure : The New Yorker

“Hirschman was interested in contrasting the two strategies that people have for dealing with badly performing organizations and institutions. “Exit” is voting with your feet, expressing your displeasure by taking your business elsewhere. “Voice” is staying put and speaking up, choosing to fight for reform from within. There is no denying where his heart lay.”

Working from within can be a long, messy,  frustrating process; but, of course, the insights, leverage, and potential satisfaction gained may be worth the effort.

Iron sharpens iron

When sharpening, a few variables produce the desired result:

  1. The quality of the sharpening steel
  2. Angle of approach
  3. Pressure

Most large group education uses:

  1. a lowest common denominator sharpening steel (so no one gets hurt),
  2. a sharp angle (a rigid, methodical approach)
  3. high pressure (homework, drill, grades and standardized testing).

I use the finest quality sharpening steel (Aristotle, Plato, Newton, Jefferson, Franklin, Emerson, Thoreau)

An angle of approach suited to you, today.  

What will light the fire of curiosity and love of learning right now?

Low pressure, in fact, my life’s work is to create a safe, exciting bridge between your heart and mind and the great hearts and minds of our civilization.

What steel have you found most formative in your sharpening process?

I’d love to hear in comments below.

John Cleese on Creativity

Advice on creativity from the master of so many things, John Cleese.

Essentially, give yourself time in creatively open mode.  Here are five keys:

1. Space –  away from the trivial urgencies of “normal” life.

2. Time – about 90 minutes is ideal and a clear endpoint will create a useful forcing function to focus your endeavors.

3. Playfulness – don’t short-circuit your creativity by jumping to a decision.  Linger in creative discomfort until  you must decide so that the best ideas have time to rise up through the molasses of your mind. Stay in the what if and why mode as long as possible. Try to determine when you must decide before you start into the creative process so that you can avoid deciding before you have to.

4. Confidence – to be playful with what if’s, illogic, and seemingly wrong ideas knowing that a better solution is more likely the longer you can linger there.

5. Humor – is the fastest way to move from “closed” (rational, decisive, task-focused) mode into “open” (relaxed, playful, creative) mode.

Watch for yourself and for  your creative endeavors: