Why Brainstorming Rarely Works


Brainstorming is popular – way popular – especially in corporations and nonprofit organizations. But the truth is, research has shown over and over that people produce better quality ideas when they start by working alone. And yet, companies, nonprofits, and churches have enshrined “brainstorming” as the #1 go-to method for coming up with new ideas. Why?

Why Creativity Isn’t Always Sweetness and Light


One of my favorite lines in film is when Orson Welles improvised a scene while playing Harry Lime in “The Third Man” in 1949: “In Italy, for 30 years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had 500 years of democracy and peace – and what did that produce? The Cuckoo clock.”  As creatives, we work hard trying to

How To Overcome The Five Greatest Fears


What are you afraid of? You may not be a wimp, but the truth is, everyone is afraid of something. And chances are, when you get to the root of your fear, you start discovering what’s holding you back. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich, poor, successful, unsuccessful, famous or not famous, fear is a problem for everyone. David Sanford has written that the five greatest fears of professional people are:

Why You Should Stop Complaining About Being Busy

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I met three different people today, and each time, when I asked, “How are you?” The reply was exactly the same. “I’m Busy”. Honestly, I hear the same answer from the vast majority of people I meet. So I started to think: “Guess what? Everybody’s busy!” I’m busy, you’re busy, everybody’s busy. So you know what? You being busy doesn’t make me sympathetic at all. Because

Here’s What’s Keeping You From Accomplishing Your Dream Project


Why aren’t you writing your book, creating your film, starting your business, launching your ministry, or otherwise making your big idea happen? Probably because of what writer Steven Pressfield calls “Resistance” – that urge to do anything other than sit down and do what you actually need to do. I’m working on my next book, and yet every morning I have an almost uncontrollable urge to do something – anything – else: check my email, re-arrange my closet, organize my desk, take a walk, or a million other things. The idea of “Resistance” is far more powerful than we think, and unless we

Your Boss Won’t Listen? Then Quietly Make Changes On Your Own


I met someone recently who heard me speak at an international conference a few years ago. She was managing the local office for a major American media ministry in that country. She told me that after hearing me speak at the original conference, she was excited to go back and start using the ideas I shared, but when she talked to her boss, he

The Greatest Secret for Breakthrough Creativity

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While I believe that everyone is creative, the truth is, real breakthrough creativity is rare – because it takes work, skill, and courage. But many pursue it, and as a result, there are thousands of websites, social media feeds, books and other resources on creativity. But from my perspective, the greatest secret for breakthrough creativity can be taken from a quote from novelist Kingsley Amis:

Some Distractions Can Actually Help You Be More Creative


Today, the world is filled with distractions. Email and social media are two of the biggest culprits that rob creative people of focused concentration. There’s also listening to music, watching TV, or allowing people to interrupt your work. I’ve written plenty on this blog about how to avoid distractions, but to be fair, I need to mention that certain distractions can actually help creativity. The fact is,

Be Careful of the “Failure Fad”


There’s something happening out there that I’m starting to call a “failure fad.” Social media is being flooded with quotes about how great failing is, and how much it can teach us. Quotes like: “Failure is success if we learn from it” by Malcolm Forbes or “Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t waste energy trying to cover up failure. It’s ok to fail. If you’re not failing, you’re not growing” by H. Stanley Judd. I don’t disagree with their sentiments. Learning from