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Inspiration comes from a myriad of places… It can strike you beautifully out of the blue when you are gloriously absorbed in something else.
But since I know that I can't rely on those Eureka moments to happen by themselves, I surround myself with tools, resources, and strategies to spur, prolong, or capitalize on various forms of creativity. By courting creativity, I find that those moments of inspiration tap me on the shoulder more frequently but just as delightfully.

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Remember that whoopee cushion story I promised you in my last post? Well, get ready to meet the crazy creative guy behind it: Doug Hall of Richard Saunders International. Naming his company after Benjamin Franklin's pseudonym is perhaps the least zany thing Doug has done in his bizarrely successful career getting what he calls "Real World Adults" back in touch with their childhood creativity in order to become truly successful and productive. I'm currently reading his absorbing and wacky book Jump Start Your Brain, which means you all get to share the experience!

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Along with reading like a kid (particularly Dr. Seuss), Doug is adamant about the importance of playing like a kid...literally. He gets executives down on their hands and knees pretending to be dogs. He surprises Dutch clients by having his team start a Nerf war in the boardroom with hidden weapons. And, as promised, he gets 132 Anheuser-Busch executives to collectively set up and plop down on those cushions of whoopee. 

I would have thought that the corporate culture of Anheuser-Busch would be a bit laid back…(don't they basically try to relax people for a living?) But Doug found out when consulting for their top research and marketing executives that this is basically the opposite of their reality. So, his whoopee cushion bit became that much more brave. While wearing a strait jacket (right?) and lecturing about the dangers of the necktie, Doug presented a medical device that would help expel the hot air trapped dangerously by their ties. That medical device? You guessed it - the whoopee cushion. (Great story...but let's just say I won't be using that method anytime soon:)

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You don't have to be a world-famous consultant to utilize the creative flow of play. You don't need to be an executive to benefit from fun. And you don't even have to like whoopee cushions (I'll have to admit I don't:) But you DO have to get outside of your crusty adult self and PLAY! Doug recommends borrowing a kid between the ages of 4 and 7 and doing whatever they think is fun. (I recommend making sure the distinction between borrowing and kidnapping is clear:) 

Here are a few of Doug's "prescriptions for restoring the spirit and innocence of your once childlike mind-set:"
  • Inhale the contents of a helium balloon, then abuse your company's intercom system.
  • Climb a tree.
  • Fly a kite. Pretend you're the kite.
  • Hang by your knees from monkey bars.
  • Roll down a hill.
  • Swing as high as you can.
  • Write a letter in crayon.
  • Visit a fun house.
  • Play catch in the office or in the hallway.
  • Go wading.
  • Make a dart board of negative thoughts and shoot them.
  • Throw water balloons, shoot squirt guns, get wet.
  • Spin until dizzy.
  • Hold a pie-eating contest with yourself.
  • Assemble a company kazoo band.
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What do you think of that list? Are you brave enough to try any of them? I personally am a big fan of bouncy balls, bubbles, and Play-Doh. (I often carry a small rubber ball in my purse - you never know when you will need a toy:)

And just like my confession about the bouncy ball (or the slideshow of my brother's and my crazy antics below), sometimes you have to take the risk of feeling, looking, or being silly in pursuit of creativity. I hope you do all three... 

Photo Reference List: (Or Where to find these lovely images:)
  1. Kayak Typwriter Photo Credit: http://www.etsy.com/listing/47117424/kayak-photograph-antique-typewriter
  2. Guy Monkeying Around Photo Credit:  http://m.active.com/fitness/Articles/Playground-Fitness-6-Cross-Training-Games.htm?cmp=17-7-4122
  3. Henri Matisse Chalkboard Photo Credit:  http://scrapstudio.tumblr.com/post/394198817/p-s-from-my-archived-files-if-you-know-who-this
  4. Girl Watercoloring in the Rain Photo Credit:  http://littlepageturners.blogspot.com/2010/05/rainy-day.html
  5. Happy Skating Little Girl Photo Credit:  http://elviestudio.blogspot.com
  6. Nick & Megan Hendrix Playing with Toys Photo Credit: Hendrix Family Archives:)
 


05/27/2013 9:33am

I will roll down a hill. :) Again--great article! Thanks for writing!

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