Thursday, March 19, 2009

Today’s creative thinking exercise

Many motivational experts have little ways to get you thinking creatively. Take a different route to work, have breakfast at a different place. That’s for amateurs.


My creative thinking exercises can sometimes be out of this world.


Today’s exercise - here’s how it works. You must physically get out a pen and paper, no computer here, and write this down. Great for those who use mass transportation or insomniatic Bedouins in the Sonoran Desert listening to Danny Bonaduce on WYSP – Philadelphia at 4 a.m. Thank God for Internet in the middle of the desert.


Now, with the pen and paper, I want you to report, not science fiction, but write a newspaper account of one of two things. You choose:


The sun has gone out. How cold does it get, what do people do? Is it like earthquakes where animals know first?


The earth quits spinning. Do buildings topple? Do we lose our Internet connection? Miley Cyrus quits making $400,000 per day?


These exercises – which are a daily part of my life – have made a difference. I’ve been doing it since I was 11, about the time I was riding my bike and ran iinto a saguaro. There’s something you’ll never forget as you flinch while your best friend’s mother pulls spines out of your leg, stomach, even your forehead with tweezers


You thought living in the desert was easy? Try being creative while a herd of javelina are trying to have your leg for lunch and you’re kicking them in the nose – and you’re 10 years old.


These exercises resulted in me becoming a reporter. They’ve resulted in meeting some of the most fantastic people in the world, like Eric Burdon at 15 and 20, Abbie Hoffman at St. Mark’s Church in East Greenwich Village cooking food for the homeless, where you go claw-to-claw at 16 realizing how similar you are – at that age. Stand next to Eunice Shriver and her son-in-law on Muscle Beach in California, interview Angela Davis and Nelson Rockefeller. Take Jimmy Carter’s photo with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. End up backstage with John Mellencamp, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Pig Pen and the Grateful Dead, Lynda Carter, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. Run with Mohammad Ali. So many more. Everyone but Jessica Simpson (darn).


Thinking creatively will help you kill a good public relations business in 2007 when you start recommending clients have a YouTube and Myspace presence and they go running into the arms of quacks who don’t foresee newspapers closing and media shrinking. These quacks recommend “press release” public relations and get the clients you lost; watching your business fold for thinking creatively.


A year later, you re-invent yourself with a new business, the world’s first marketing sociologists, only to see the world beating down your door. You’re in demand as a seminar speaker and panelist. This is how you use creative thinking. You get mentored by some of the greatest people in the world – Chester Burger (prmuseum.com), Tony Hillerman, Jim Meiggs (you may not know him, but one of the best).

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