If you desire youth, you first have to learn how to live…

“Curiosity, creativity, discovery and wonder; they aren’t traits of youth, they’re traits of learning. If you want to feel younger and you want to replicate the conditions of youth, do that.”

Author Unknown

There is nothing like the joy which comes from learning and growing. As the parent of a 3-year old, I am reminded on a daily basis of the power of seeing things for the very first time and approaching the world with an attitude of curiosity and discovery. Literally, everything he observes is new and wondrous. I can see his mind working as he processes some amazing new revelation and wraps his brain around a new process.

What is the last thing you learned? Did you learn something new based on a conscious choice to seek out knowledge or did it come by chance or happenstance?

The key to learning isn’t to simply add new data to your mind. The key is to approach the world with curiosity, discovery, and wonder. The key to learning is to fully understand and recognize there is so much yet to learn and explore.

When you embrace life as outlined above the RESULT is a feeling of youth. Feeling younger isn’t the goal, it is the result of how you choose to live…

boy running during sunsetman in black jacket wearing black headphones

Fostering a “what if” mindset is the key to creativity.

“Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.”

Edward de Bono

Things look different when you see them through a different lens or perspective. The ability to be creative requires that one find a way to let go of the known, the safe, and the established ways of doing things. Instead you have to be relentless in looking for connections that aren’t there yet. Opportunities to build a bridge between seemingly unrelated items and create value that didn’t previously exist.

One of the best ways that I have found to accomplish this is by simply observing and asking questions. One must view the world through a lens of intense curiosity and a “what if” mindset. It is equally important to have a mindset of humility that allows one to ask questions and listen for both what is said, and unsaid in response.

The bottom line is that creativity requires one to surrender the desire to keep things the way they have always been. What if has to become your favorite way of thinking.

top view photo of white bond paper near coloring materials
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What state do you choose?

“Either you defend the status quo or invent the future.”

Seth Godin

I love this sentiment. It’s a very clear demarcation point on how you choose to live your life. You are either focused on what was, or what will be. There is no in between or middle ground.

Personally I have always tried to live by an ethos of “relentless discontent with the status quo.” That spirit has driven me my entire life. Granted it hasn’t always led to the most optimum decisions or outcomes, yet I would rather live forward with anticipation of a better tomorrow than under a constant state of fear that my world is going to be disrupted. Because guess what? It is. Never has that been more apparent than right now…

So one can either live in a state of fear, or in a state of creativity. I choose the latter.

Willing to fail…

“There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.”

Brene Brown

Steve Jobs is the first person that comes to mind for me as a great innovator and creator. But he had many many failures along the way, and learned from each of them. Those failures are what allowed him to become great.

The great innovators are willing to take risks because they know they will learn from both failure and success. Not everything they attempt will work, but they are willing to fail.

Are you willing to fail? Are you willing to fall short and then figure out why? Are you able to set aside ego and fear long enough to stretch outside your comfort zone? Are you willing to fail in order to learn?

If you aren’t willing then you won’t stretch, you won’t grow, you won’t create. If you want to innovate you have to be willing to fail because failure will happen and that is when the real magic can occur.

What is the forecast today?

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

Alan Kay

What do you want your future to look like? Can you imagine it? Taste it? See it so clearly that it is almost real? Does it feel like a prediction or a just a dream?

There is a big difference between those that predict their future and those that only dream about it. Dreamers might see their dreams come true, but only after they step forward into creating the necessary effort to make it possible. Once a person makes that critical step they move from dreaming into the world of prediction. Prediction says “I believe this will happen based on my knowledge, experience and the action I am taking.”

Does this guarantee every prediction will come true? Of course not. Sometimes things just don’t work out the way we think they will. Sometimes this is for the very best. Because it allows us to recenter, dream again and predict a new and even better future. We control our own forecast through the choices and predictions we make.

What is your forecast today?

Today will be the foundation…

“My future starts when I wake up every morning. Every day I find something creative to do with my life.”

Miles Davis

Today might be the day that one day you will look back on and realize was the foundation of everything. Since that is the case what will you be doing today to make sure it is one that you are proud of?

Don’t be the boat anchor…

“We have enough people who tell it like it is—now we could use a few who tell it like it can be.”

Robert Orben

We all know people that are eternal optimists. They find the good in every situation, every circumstance, every opportunity. The challenge with these folks sometimes is that they can’t see always see when they need to make a change to adjust to a changing situation.

The perpetual pessimist is on the opposite end of the continuum. This is the person that is cynical and negative 100% of the time. These types are the boat anchors of progress and will standing in the way of change and progress through their constant negativity.

What is the right type? I would argue that the ideal is a person that lives on the optimistic side of the spectrum but isn’t so far out on the continuum that they can’t and won’t listen to reality. These are the folks that see the future for what it can be and have the ability to look past the current state without being blind to the challenges ahead.

No matter what, don’t be the person known as the boat anchor!

Under pressure…

“I love leaving the door open to good ideas. I love the collaborative swirl. I get charged by problem-solving, usually under some kind of stress – the sun is going down, and we have eight minutes, and we have to solve it. Great things come out of it.”

Ron Howard

I will fully admit that I like pressure. I enjoy, and feel I do my best personal work, when I am under pressure to perform. There is just nothing like a crisis or a time crunch to really drive creative problem solving. My challenge, and the leadership challenge, is to ensure that the need for the time pressure problem-solving isn’t created because we simply waited until the last minute to start…

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