This is a clock I designed tonight with a nifty urban modern look to it.
After writing the last blog post a couple hours ago and thinking about all that negativity that people have said to me, I wrote this statement down on a card and then came in, made it into a design for a clock using Zazzle and posted it. That is Can Do Thinking and what the magic of creativity does. It creates something, makes things happen, constructs something new, re-creates something already done into something else, energizes ideas and applies them, innovates and moves forward on goals. It is amazing – and I like the clock, too.
At Christmas, I and my granddaughter who just turned 8 years old, set up our Christmas tree in the living room, placed the lights and then used every Matchbox and HotWheels car we could find in the house as its decorations. There are a lot of them from years of my seven children having lived here at various times in my parents’ house.
We put Christmas hangers on the underside from the front wheel on one side and carefully placed each miniature car and truck throughout the entire tree until it was covered in lights and cars. We added iridescent snowflakes of white acrylic and glitter that had been bought at the dollar store or WalMart at some point which we did find among the Christmas decorations.
Then, we added fan-folded skinny strips of red metallic wrapping paper and little curls of silver holographic and red metallic papers thrown on top of branches here and there. Eventually, I let my granddaughter completely drape the tree in tinsel and it was all amazing.
It turned out that the lights were blue that we had found and then we found another box of lights with multi-colors which we added as well. So, half the tree was blue (on the top half) and then it was all colors when all the lights were on. We set up the plug-ins for the lights, not in series accidentally, but separately, so that when one switch was turned on, only the blue lights lit up and it seemed the tree was lit in blue. When both switches were on, the tree lit up with its bottom branches predominantly multi-colored and the top two-thirds only blue. It was interesting and very fun.
The first person to see the tree like this and the person who had been steadily watching here and there on the sly, was my daughter and she didn’t want to hurt our feelings about using these cars on the tree or our making do with half a tree of blue lights and the other half multi-colored, so most of what she said to us about it was in the “well, that’s really kind of nice that way” variety of comments – a little held back, a little patronizing and very thoughtful, really.
The next person to see the tree was my oldest son when he came over a couple weeks before Christmas and just after we had everything on it except the tinsel. We had it all lit up for him to see it and I thought he would be thrilled to see many of his little cars on the damn thing but no, I don’t know why I thought that. At least he was playful when the first words out of his mouth were, “What the hell is wrong with you? You can’t use those for that!” And, this only other comment about it after first seeing it was, “That is the worst use for HotWheels cars I’ve ever seen,” or something close to that.
My first feelings were – he thinks I’m crazy to use these little cars as Christmas ornaments on a Christmas tree and my feelings are hurt. I told him not to say any of that stuff in front of my granddaughter because she is really proud of it and then I saw his face and realized he was only partly being playful about what he said and partly didn’t really think it was an appropriate use of his little cars. Too funny.
Negative comments are easy to make and every one of us do it, including me. Being on the receiving end of those comments, it is hard to figure out if it is meant intentionally, if it is a playful barb, or if it is intended to convey something whether intentionally meaning to be negative or not.
How we deal with all that matters since the hurt feelings that can happen in those vulnerable moments when creating something, brainstorming something and inventing things will carry into future choices and current projects to get in the way and cause stumbling blocks.
The first thing I do is to think about what was said and try to understand what the overall moment was like between me and the person who made the comment. Sometimes that just isn’t possible, because I can’t see the playfulness that was intended or the light jovial interaction that way when it is a very negative barb that came from someone’s mouth and mind in the midst of that moment.
However, I’ve learned that regardless of how jovial or cute the moment was intended to be, what the person tells me about me in that moment and whatever negativity they convey can hurt my feelings just as if they meant to throw a blow at my self-esteem on purpose. Surely that is partly my own issues getting in my way at times, there is no doubt. And, each time I process those moments like this, I’m working through those issues and becoming emotionally and intellectually stronger.
The second thing I do, is to note what my own thinking is telling me about all that. Unfortunately, I can interpret meanings into things by what I’ve been taught that they mean, when maybe that isn’t even what it means today with the people I’m around now and the situation where I live today. Sometimes, I write down this part until I can understand what was said and how my mind and subconscious translated it to mean something.
For me, this technique works and it isn’t journaling – it is writing what was said by the other person on a 3×5 card with a fat black Sharpie pen where I can see it good, then writing what my mind is telling me it means or thinks it meant using another color Sharpie marker and color post-it notes or 3×5 card backs without the lines. That was I can see them side by side when I pushtack them to a wall or piece of wood or board of some kind.
By seeing the two communications side by side, I can genuinely ask myself – well, if the person really meant that and what if it is true, how does it feel? Then, I write that down where I can see it separately from the communication and what my mind tells me about that communication.
Then, I work to feel those feelings and let the wash through me and accept them as my own. Usually, it doesn’t matter if the person meant any of it or not, in the way it conveyed to me since the feelings that were stirred by it are what I need to deal with effectively and process properly.
The third part of what I do, is to talk to the person about it – usually, but not always. I can make a written or video commentary about it, talk to them about what they said and how I felt about it either on the phone or in person. Or, I can write a debated argument about why do people say that damn negative stuff anyway (but that helps a lot less than the other two). Or if I’m still heated up about it, I can work with a friend to take a walk with them and cuss about it at the top of my volume range until I’m calm enough to do something else, (which works very good.)
Really, it is easy to be the brunt of negativity and negative comments when the thrust of what I’m doing is to create or invent something new or different. People around me are often judgmental in very negative ways when I am working on ideas that might work, brainstorming solutions or new business ideas, or inventions, creating artworks or sculptures, making models and drawings of ANYTHING, or writing, blogging, making, video-ing and photographing things for online publication and broadcast.
Maybe it is just part of the package to have an assaultive barrage of negative, why it won’t work efforts come from the people around us when it is time to imagine solutions to a problem or invent new things and create diverse approaches to innovate new options. Maybe that process invites those around us to take time from their day to express vehemently why we should know better than to think any of it can work.
The most negativity that comes from others when I’m brainstorming and creating happens more often at the beginning of the project when it is easy for my subconscious to shutdown the process of generating any more ideas or options or creating any solutions at all.
That is the worst, because it aborts the entire process and then nothing goes forward from me at all. It just stops. And the thinking about, why bother to create new things and invent solutions when the world is filled with nothing but people like this anyway – let them fix the damn stuff their own selves – starts to fill my head instead of creating solutions or inventing of any kind.
But, what did the person gain who took the time to shut down, demean and deride my efforts to create solutions, invent something new, innovate and make those innovations apply to make our lives better? They gained nothing and cost me a lot considering the overly short amount of time in anyone’s life, including mine.
To deal with that kind of negativity, I do three simple things and ignoring them isn’t one of them. My subconscious isn’t going to ignore them whether I do intellectually or not.
One, I deal with the fact that the person is telling me certain things about myself that hurt my feelings whether they are right or wrong about those things. To deal with those, I use the processing my feelings method described in last few paragraphs above.
Two, I deal with whether or not the project and its possibilities, its solutions, its efforts required and its merits means something to me that is more important than the person who is shooting down those efforts. This is the most powerful tool I have about this.
Three, I deal with the negativity itself through rigorous and candid honesty with the person by speaking to them about honestly. For me, that means saying things like, it sounds like you are saying that nothing I might try is going to work. And, did you really mean to tell me that I have no right to try and create solutions for this problem or to invent something that might work to solve it?
I repeat back aloud some of what it sounded to me like they are REALLY SAYING – which in our family is rather a no-no to say aloud honestly, and then let the person tell me if that is what they meant or realized they were saying, which sometimes it isn’t. And, sometimes – it was what they were saying and did mean, but on hearing it out loud – the person who was deriding me for even thinking about things that I could never hope to ever create anything to solve for it, in their judgment of it – decides maybe that wasn’t real helpful and not appropriate to the person they want to be. Sometimes.
Often, and in most cases – believe it or not, people don’t want to help brainstorm or create solutions or something new because it isn’t worth their “valuable time and efforts” which could be used to play a video game or watch cable instead.
But, the same people feel compelled to get up once I’m brainstorming and writing down those ideas or talking with them about it if they let me or creating something with those ideas that I generated, and that person will tell me every single reason they can imagine that it won’t work, can’t work, doesn’t work, isn’t going to work, has never worked that way, has never been done that way, could never be done that way, doesn’t make sense to do it that way and isn’t done that way by anyone else.
And, my least favorite of all – the thirty minutes these same people always seem to use up to explain to me why historically it isn’t done that way and if it would’ve worked that way, somebody besides me would’ve already done it.
It is hard to want to create anything by the time I’ve heard all of that, and often screamed at me by those who choose to tell all that to me – including various family members, my grown children, best friends, friends and sometimes done by even acquaintances that don’t know me that well, when I’ve worked with others and teams in situations to brainstorm solutions with them.
Having read a lot about inventors, inventing, making, creativity, brainstorming, creating, doing art, writing new music, writing and about writers and other creatives – it is apparently part of people’s general reactions to things that are new or different that is affecting them when confronted with someone brainstorming new ideas or working to create solutions and invent things that either haven’t been done before or were done in some other way in order to innovate them. It must be dealt with effectively too, because this kind of negativity is damaging, mind-numbing, often cruel and a complete waste of time – it destroys and creates virtually NOTHING.
By the way, staying completely away from others is not a good answer either.
This amazing article from The Guardian was on my twitter timeline and I went over to read it. Well worth checking it out. The article is about creativity, creating and inventing.
An Excerpt from the Article –
“One of the barriers to creative thinking is the ease with which common, unoriginal thoughts swamp the mind. Some people in the study could not get past these. For example, when asked for creative uses for a sock, soap and chewing gum wrapper, less creative people gave answers such as “covering the feet”, “making bubbles” and “containing gum” respectively. For the same items, more original thinkers suggested a water filtration system, a seal for envelopes, and an antenna wire.”
from – Ian Sample, Science Editor
The Guardian, Science Section, 01-15-2018
Conveying information visually – I made a list for my own use and then thought to share it here on my blog. When I’m writing a blog, it is easy for me to forget the many ways to convey and share the information in visual formats that go along with the written information. So here is a list of them –
Venn Diagrams –
“A schematic diagram used in logic theory to depict collections of sets and represent their relationships.”
from – Wolfram MathWorld (online)
Cause and Effect Charts – (the ones with the arrows)
” It graphically illustrates the relationship between a given outcome and all the factors that influence the outcome. This type of diagram is sometimes called an ‘Ishikawa diagram'”
from – Basic Tools for Process Improvement, Module 5: Cause and Effect Diagram, AU.AF.MIL (online)
Yes, I am an inventor, innovator, creator and maker. Yes. I’ve done a lot of all those things since I was like 5 years old and especially over the last 50 yrs, nearly daily on a vast array of things. But no, can’t think of a thing today about any of it.
Sometimes I stumble over something I’ve designed, made or built, invented or created and remember what the process and occasion was in vivid detail, including the problem-solving at various stages and seeing it to completion with some measure of pride about accomplishing it. But today – it all seems very distant and unimportant to try and remember any of it to simply share with others on my blog in a way that is fun and entertaining to read.
Maybe my mind is too over-shadowed with the questions – Why would anyone want to read about that? Why would there be an audience for any of that when people seem to want nearly anything else but not this? There isn’t any respect for it where I live or in my family although they’re enjoying the fruits from my doing these things. I don’t know. Maybe today is just a bad day for thinking about any of it.
This old-fashioned game teaches children to focus and takes about 5 minutes, a couple times a week. After all, what if to some degree, focus and focusing the mind’s attention is a skill set that must be learned? Inventing this game must have been fun, whatever thousands of years ago – and it works!
This attention focusing game is one you probably know and just never thought about this way. Put a quarter, a dollar or a cookie in your hand, get your child to see which hand it is in and then put both of your hands behind your back and ask them to guess which hand it is in.
Of course, it could be in either one – but children love the attention you are giving them to make this fun and sneaky cute playful game work and will focus their attention as if nothing else is happening in the room they’re in. Kids can outlast you too in this game, so you might want to say how many times they get it right to get the quarter, dollar, cookie or donut. (I’m adding donut because I like donuts and they work too. But so do toys and night-night kisses for getting it right along with the best hug.)
And yes, the child gets to eat the cookie, or have the dollar, quarter or toy when they have guessed it right. But watch how much their attention is now focused – on what your body language says your hands are doing behind your back and how many times your elbow moved indicated you switched it up again, and every time they get it wrong or right – they’re learning to focus attention when it is right now and desirable to do so.
Attention focusing is an important skill set to have and maybe our parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and strangers sitting in the lobby of the movie theater where we were all waiting just about forever to get in to see the movie did something good for us playing that silly little game that works so well!
This is a great skill game for learning to learn, learning to focus and increasing observation skills too.
P.S. Don’t stick the dollar in your pants pocket, waistband or use unfair advantage when playing this thinking skills game with children because they won’t try to genuinely focus their attention on it the next time.
Playing this old-fashioned focusing game with your child for about five minutes every so often and it is surprising how much more focused their attention becomes in other situations going on at school or at home.
Also – there are not studies on this claim about this game. I’m offering it because I’ve experienced it personally and seen how it works to increase focused attention skills in both children and disabled adults who are re-learning their thinking skills.
Ok, that’s it. Go play.
Screw-ups are inventors’ delight or horror depending on how it happens, when it happens and how it is used thereafter. Murphy’s Law says that, “What can go wrong, will go wrong.” And in engineering, it is used as a point of perfect, that the more closely anyone works to get something “perfect”, the greater the chances of errors, mistakes and irretrievably disastrous results become likely.
You can read more about Murphy’s Law at Wikipedia’s entry about it. In art, in music, in writing and sculpting, the same thing is obvious – mistakes happen. And, in engineering, science, math, creating, designing, making, building, inventing and innovating, mistakes can and do happen as well.
Knowing that errors and goof-ups happen is valuable, not project stopping.
Most people know about brainstorming and have used the process at school, at work or at home to create possible solutions and to create ideas. This process is valuable to know and easy to use, once it is learned. Brainstorming for inventing, creating, making, building, innovating can be applied to virtually any area where it can-do solutions are needed.
There are only a couple rules to follow when brainstorming and it is easy to get side-tracked and forget them. They are very important for the process of creating ideas to flow successfully and generate possibilities.
Reserve the critical and especially, negative barrage until some other time and that includes the thinking in those negative and critical terms, as well.
Letting go of preconceived notions of what can’t be done, won’t work, can’t work, doesn’t work and why it won’t work. Those valuable and critical analysis skills are hindering to the brainstorming process rather than helpful although AFTER the entire process has created possibilities, those analytical skills will come in handy.
Judgmental and limiting constructs of thinking are not helpful in brainstorming real solutions to real world issues, nor to designing and inventing new things that have never been done before.
Letting go of what won’t work together, what must be used for specific purposes and nothing else, what can’t be used for that, what can’t be bought, what has never been done that way, can’t be possible for this and what MUST be used ONLY in certain ways.
Not only does thinking and speaking this way at every turn in the process, deplete the energy for creating solutions, it does nothing else of value either because in doing so, no other solutions are generated or created by it either. Set that kind of thinking aside and put as quick a stop to it as possible or the process of brainstorming might very well miss rather than produce results.
It doesn’t prove anything nor help anything when creating new ideas and innovations through the brainstorming process, to express or think through WHY IT WON”T WORK or WHY IT DOESN”T WORK THAT WAY or WHY IT CAN”T HAVE THOSE THINGS USED IN A DIFFERENT WAY or WHY IT ISN”T RIGHT TO PUT THOSE PARTICULAR THINGS TOGETHER for a possible solution.
Not only distracting, these expressions don’t prove how much better one person is thinking than another in this situation. It is a waste of time – until much, MUCH later in the process of inventing and creating and well after the brainstorming portion of the inventing process is well over.
From the Oxford Dictionaries –
The use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.
Synonyms: imagination, innovation, innovativeness, originality, individuality, artistry, inspiration, vision, enterprise, initiative, resourcefulness
Powered by Oxford Dictionaries
Creativity – Wikipedia
Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and somehow valuable is formed. The created item may be intangible or a physical object.
Notes on the Process of Brainstorming –
In those three simple steps, the brain / the mind can begin assessing a problem, critically analyzing what it will take to solve the problem and generate possibilities for solutions.
Throughout the process of brainstorming, no matter how outlandish, silly, unattainable, ridiculous, insane, crazy, new, never done that way before or STUPID an idea or thought may be – WRITE IT DOWN ANYWAY without judgment. DON”T exclude ANY of them.
The reason for this is because the mind and subconscious will generate more rather than shutting down, if EVERY single idea is given the merit of recording it by writing it down, saying it aloud for a video or audio record of it and by putting it on a whiteboard, post-it note or on a chalkboard,
The fact is, some of those ridiculous, crazy and unattainable ideas end up producing other ideas or combinations of ideas – and sometimes, they even turn out to be the ideas and solutions that do work.
To not record those ideas which are judged along the way as stupid, silly or crazy, only serves to hinder the process, thwart the generating of more possible solutions and maybe even cheat you out of real solutions that can and will work in the real world.
Brainstorming is only one facet of generating solutions and creating ideas that will work as part of the inventing process. Among a group of people, focus groups and teams of people, brainstorming often yields surprising solutions that would not have been considered nor created at all.
Creative brainstorming is an amazing process and quickly delivers to the individual inventor or teams of people, large groups of possible solutions and novel approaches to create something new, to innovate something or to solve an existing problem. It also awakens the intellect, the subconscious and the creative mind to continue applying what is known and unknown to create solutions to the problem and to invent new ways to approach it.
Happy Inventing and Innovating!
– cricketdiane, 01-09-18
Made this tonight using a photograph of my watercolor palette. I’ve been photographing and creating designs today, writing on my blog and designing the new blog pages about inventing. Still working on organizing and cleaning at my Dad’s house – will be making some short videos about how to organize absolute clutterholic messes later tonight, I hope. From disorder to organized – yeah, that would be good. I’ve been working on it for four months so far and it is far from finished but much farther along than it would’ve been if I’d never done any of it. That’s good, I suppose.
Inventing is fun and sometimes the yield is a solution that has not been done before. Whether inventing makes a new thing or an innovation of an existing thing, the process of inventing is enriching and rewarding. Inventing strengthens thinking skills, creativity, problem solving, resourcefulness and improves the abilities to apply many other skills to real life situations and things. It is well worth doing.
There are several ways to approach inventing. One way is to start with a problem that needs a solution and invent solutions, products, processes, systems and innovations that improve or solve for that particular issue.
Another way to approach inventing is to start with nothing in particular as a goal, sit with an array of mismatched miscellaneous things and simply starting playing with them until something else is created. Sometimes it can solve an existing problem or provide a solution that is needed and sometimes it creates a non-utilitarian outcome that is unique and interesting. Often this process itself is valuable because it helps the mind to find other solutions and inventions that awaken along the way throughout the process.
The trick in either approach is to capture, not only the end product and enjoy the process of inventing and resourcing that happens, but also to grab those interim ideas, solutions, thoughts, applied knowledge and other inventions during the process. This can be done by quickly writing down a note here and there or by doing video of the process and speaking aloud those thoughts and ideas or by setting aside those interesting interim steps as they are, when they happen as the inventing is underway.
Step One – Decide to invent something. Set aside the next hour to be involved in inventing something. It can be 30 min. and for that matter, it can be the next break of ten minutes, if the idea generating part of the process is separated from the action steps to play with actual making. It doesn’t require absolute quiet. Inventing does not require zero distractions. It doesn’t need everyone else around you to stop what they are doing and let you invent something.
Step Two – Give merit to some ideas that you’ve had about things that you’d either like to invent or that need an invention to solve them. It doesn’t matter how big an idea it is or how large an issue it solves. Just because you aren’t a bridge builder, doesn’t mean you won’t be the one who comes up with a sustainable, workable solution to some existing problem with building bridges that still exists today. Even small ideas and small issues that creates headaches for everyone are call for solutions and inventions. Some of these are worth thinking about too. Write them down as you think of them. That starts the inventing creative juices and intellectual skill sets into action.
Step Three – Draw on your knowledge and experiences to bring information to the process. If you don’t know something, google it or look it up in the books around your home that you’ve noticed without opening. Drop those books open at the point your hand opens them and see how that information starts folding into the process. Check details on the internet, but don’t get lost in trails of information. Keep referring back to your paper and pencil, tablet doc or video talk it out loud process to get the new info into the mix. Talk into a tape recorder or a facebook live video, if nothing else to get the idea and information flow recorded as the stages of inventing progress. Later these highlights can be used to trail off into other projects, other inventions, resourcing for networks of other possibilities and possibly, for markets once the invention is at the final stages.
Step Four – Put your hands on something. It can be drawing the ideas, writing them down, but even better is to start touching things and trying them together in different ways towards a solution to make your invention ideas come alive. White boards are great, but getting some items from around the garage or attic into a box and fiddling with them is almost magic in the ways it stirs the inventing process. Make sure and write down, photograph, video or record those ideas and interactions with things during this part of inventing – or they will be lost, because they will change and keep becoming something else or something more as the process of inventing continues.
Step Five – Check what you’ve done. Look at what you’ve created, ideated, modified, innovated, invented along this way and start matching how those ideas and inventions could solve certain problems you’ve had in mind at the start. Would they? Or have they solved something else that you had not really thought of directly but it could do that? Have there been nifty, interesting creations and inventions from throughout the inventing process that could be their own outcome and interest you? These can be either set aside for later or take a moment and decide that there is the direction you’d like to see to conclusion first.
Step Six – Depending on the ideas and inventive avenues you’ve decided to pursue, the next stage of inventing is about making something with those ideas and determining what things from the real world would be required to create it. That can be as simple as determining whether it could be made in wood or metal. And, it can be as complex as looking online to understand carbon composites and where to buy small quantities for creating a prototype of the invention. More drawings help at this point, keep taking notes and recording ideas as they occur. This part of the inventing process is not as mundane as it may seem. The mind will create more solutions here that could also work, will problem solve for lacking access to the exact perfect materials by accessing and resourcing options that could work and will create ideas for getting your hands on materials or pieces of other machines and salvaged or reclaimed things that could be used to make you invention or innovation.
Step Seven – Go create the damn thing, if you haven’t already. Create the inventions and solutions that have come along in the stages of inventing too. Make them. Build them. Invent the same thing again and take one of the other avenues you had considered to see where it leads and how it approaches the problem solving in a new or different way. It will yield surprising and often, astonishing results as your mind draws on the previous experience to refine the invention in new ways. Build a prototype and make drawings either by hand rendering or on the computer using things like SketchUp and drawing apps. Save the interim sketches and ideas as you use those, by the way – and then continue modeling and rendering. Those interesting elements at various stages will remind you of other avenues to pursue as well and serve as part of the inventing process that is extremely valuable.
By the way, check around and there may be a makers space near you where the prototype can be made by you as a member using the tools and resources available there. Most of the makers spaces are reasonably priced and use of some areas / tools / time there if commonly priced ala carte as well as through the membership pkg.
Also check out the Makers Magazine sometime. It is filled with resources for inventing and making.