Playfulness is an essential part of creativity. In the book I suggest some games, but here I’d like to mention a few more. Part of your playfulness can be to make up your own games, just as you did when you were a child. The best ones don’t require any equipment, game boards, or rules—just your imagination!
The next time you’re walking along the street, or on a bus or the Underground, pick the first person that catches your eye and play one of these games:
Remember a fairy tale from your childhood and imagine a different ending. What if Little Red Riding Hood had realised that her grandmother was actually the Big Bad Wolf? How would she have gotten out of that situation? What if Jack hadn’t fallen down the hill? What were he and Jill really up to on that hill?
When you’ve seen a film or a TV show, imagine you had been the main character. What would you have done differently? What would have been the outcome?
Your life as a fairy tale. Tell your life so far in the form of a fairy tale, starting with “Once upon a time…” Then make up the rest of the story, the way you’d like it to be (bring in a fairy godmother if necessary).
Pretend you’re being followed because you’re a spy. To lose the people who are following you, take a different route to work or to the store. Or pretend that you’re the spy-catcher, designate someone you notice on the street as the spy and follow them unobtrusively for a little while. (Note: failing to be subtle about this may result in police involvement, embarrassment, and restraining orders.)
Buy a toy for a child you know but make it one you like and play with it first. Choose something that can be easily re-packaged without arousing suspicion.
Go to a park early in the morning and and create your own tai-chi type movements. If you wear the appropriate gear and look serious, you may end up with a following and a new source of income. If you’re shy, do this at home.
The first relates to my Breakthrough Strategy Program. This is a new program that helps people to reach their most cherished goals and it puts together everything I’ve learned from NLP, hypnosis, cognitive behaviour therapy, Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, and the years of teaching my “Create Your Future” workshop.The page was just a rough drawing of the first stages that I had in mind. First, a beta-test with 30 people, half in London, half in the rest of the world. The idea was to test the whole program and give it to people in exchange for their feedback. This phase happened in August-September 2009 (the program is 60 days long). As I write this, I’m gearing up for the next program, and on the diagram you’ll see my goal is to have 26 people sign up for the (paid) Gold version, which features group coaching, and 3 sign up for the Platinum version, which features one-to-one weekly coaching.
My main target group for the Breakthrough Strategy Program is writers and people who aspire to write, partly because that’s the field I have been in for more than 20 years, and partly because I have built up some credibility in teaching in that field based on my workshops and my book, “Your Writing Coach.”
Therefore, one of my other goals is to become the world’s top writing coach (hey we're talking Big and Audacious here!). On the BHAG page I wanted to explore what will be the signs that I have achieved that (when you have a goal, it’s always a good idea to know how to tell when you’ve arrived). As you’ll see, the indictors I came up with include high levels of book sales, a certain number of keynote speeches at major writing events, etc., a high level of popularity for the YouTube videos I’m planning on producing, etc.
YOUR BEHAG PAGESYour own BHAG pages don’t have to look anything like mine (in fact, some of mine look different from these two samples). You can paste up pictures that represent one of your goals, inspirational quotes, or anything else. If you’re willing to share some of yours, I’d love to see them—send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Creativity Now, I discuss the ‘imposter syndrome’—that feeling that at any minute the world may discover that we’re actually not qualified or not talented. That’s just our fear coming to the fore, but there have been some amazing imposters for real. Here are a few of my favourites:
Frank Abagnale, who was played by Leonardo
diCaprio in the film, “Catch Me If You Can.” He started when he was only 16 and
posed as an airline pilot, a lawyer, a prison inspector, a doctor, and passed
bad checks worth more than $2.5 million in a period of five years. He escaped
from custody multiple times, once posing as an FBI agent.
Abagnale may have been inspired by
Ferdinand (“Fred”)Waldo Demara, who posed as (among other things) a surgeon and
actually performed quite a few operations on a Royal Canadian destroyer during
the Korean War. None of his work was fatal to the patients. Apparently he had a photographic memory
and a very high IQ, and by simply reading about the surgical procedures was
able to perform them. But he was using the identify of a real doctor, whose
mother read a newspaper account of one of these operations and knew her son was
in Korea at the time. That led to his exposure, although the Canadian Navy
didn’t press charges.
Another fraudster who inspired a movie was
David Hampton. The film (first a play) was “Six Degrees of Separation,” by John
Guare. Hampton’s main con was pretending to be the son of actor Sidney Poitier.
In that guise he got free meals and convinced a number of celebrities to give
him money or let him stay with them. The victims included Melanie Griffith,
Calvin Klein, and Gary Sinese.
However, a private eye found out that Rampa had never been to Tibet. Confronted with this fact, Rampa changed his story. He said he’d been up in a tree, trying to photograph an owl, and fell down. When he came to, the soul of the original Lobsang Rampa transmigrated into his body. Despite being exposed, he continued to write another 18 books, including “Living With The Lama,” which he said was dictated to him by his cat. He left Great Britain and settled in Canada, where he died in 1981. He still has fans who defend his stories (if you're one of them, don't write to me, you could be right.)
In this video, I show you my mind/brain machine (this is the Sirius model) and how it works. To find current stockists of mind machines, I suggest you do a search on Google for "mind machines UK" (or wherever you are).
That harsh voice you hear may be your own! Most of us do have a harsh inner critic who says things like “What makes you think THAT will work!?” or “Who do you think YOU are to try to do something like that?” It can instantly drain us of our enthusiasm and energy.
If your Inner Critic is REALLY strong, you may be interested in my more comprehensive Tame Your Inner Critic programme. You can find out all about it by clicking: TAME YOUR INNER CRITIC.
Here's a demonstration of mind juggling and other ways to balance your brain. Give them a try--you won't look any sillier doing these than I do!
LAWRENCE OF ARABIA
Seven Pillars of Wisdom is brilliantly written and if the politicians of the time had listened to Lawrence’s advice regarding re-drawing the boundaries of the Arab world, the Middle East might not be the center of turmoil it is today. Part of Lawrence’s continuing appeal is that he was a shameless self-promoter even as he claimed to want to be out of the spotlight. There is also speculation that masochism accounted for his enjoyment of the harsh conditions he endured and that he was gay. He came to be friends with many of the major figures of his time, including George Bernard Shaw, Nancy Astor, and Winston Churchill.
SIR RICHARD BURTON
best-known achievements include traveling in disguise to Mecca, The Book of One Thousand Nights and A Night,
an unexpurgated translation of One Thousand
and One Nights (also commonly called The Arabian Nights in English after Andrew Lang's
abridgement), bringing the Kama Sutra to
publication in English, and journeying with John Hanning Speke as the
first Europeans led by Africa's greatest explorer guide, Sidi Mubarak Bombay,
utilizing route information by Indian and Omani merchants who traded in the
region, to visit the Great Lakes
of Africa in search of the source of the Nile.
Burton extensively criticized colonial policies (to the detriment of his career) in his works and letters. He was a prolific and erudite author and wrote numerous books and scholarly articles about subjects including human behavior, travel, fencing, sexual practices, and ethnography. A unique feature of his books is the copious footnotes and appendices containing remarkable observations and unexpurgated information. He was a captain in the army of the East India Company serving in India (and later, briefly, in the Crimean War). Following this he was engaged by the Royal Geographical Society to explore the east coast of Africa and led an expedition guided by the locals which discovered Lake Tanganyika. In later life he served as British consul in Fernando Po, Damascus and, finally, Trieste. He was a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and was awarded a knighthood (KCMG) in 1886.
As with Lawrence of Arabia, part of Burton’s enduring appeal is the mystery and hints of scandal around his person exploration of sexual practices and his willingness to defy the prudery of his era. My favorite book about him is The Devil Drives: A Life of Sir Richard Burton, by Fawn M. Brodie.
Huxley was a humanist
and pacifist, and he was
latterly interested in spiritual subjects such as parapsychology and
He is also well known for advocating and taking psychedelics. In October
1930, the occultist Aleister
Crowley dined with Huxley in Berlin, and to this day rumours persist
that Crowley introduced Huxley to peyote
on that occasion. He was introduced to mescaline (considered to
be the key active ingredient of peyote) by the psychiatrist Humphry Osmond in 1953.
On 24 December 1955, Huxley took his first dose of LSD. Indeed, Huxley was a
pioneer of self-directed psychedelic drug use "in a search for
enlightenment", famously taking 100 micrograms of LSD as he lay dying. His psychedelic drug
experiences are described in the essays The Doors of
Perception (the title deriving from some lines in the book The Marriage
of Heaven and Hell by William Blake), and Heaven and
Hell. Some of his writings on psychedelics became frequent
reading among early hippies.
By the end of his life Huxley was considered, in some academic circles, a leader of modern thought and an intellectual of the highest rank.
think if you could mix Brave New World
with George Orwell’s 1984, you’d get
a pretty good picture of where we are today and where we’re heading. But you’d
objected strongly to being described as a Catholic novelist rather than as a
novelist who happened to be Catholic, Catholic religious themes
are at the root of much of his writing, especially the four major Catholic
novels: Brighton Rock,
The Heart of
the Matter, The End of
the Affair and The Power and
Later works such as The Quiet American, Our Man in Havana and The Comedians
also show an avid interest in the workings of international
politics and espionage.
As a novelist he wove the characters he met and the places where he lived into
the fabric of his novels.
left Europe at 30 years of age in 1935 on a trip to Liberia, that produced the
Without Maps. His 1938 trip to Mexico, to see the effects of the
government's campaign of forced anti-Catholic secularisation, was paid
for by Longman's, thanks to his
friendship with Tom Burns.
That voyage produced two books, the factual The Lawless Roads
(published as Another Mexico in the
U.S.) and the novel The Power and
the Glory. In 1953 the Holy Office
informed Greene that The Power and the
Glory was damaging to the reputation of the priesthood; but later, in a
private audience with Greene, Pope Paul VI told him
that, although parts of his novels would offend some Catholics, he should not
pay attention to the criticism.
Greene travelled to the Haiti
Duvalier, alias "Papa Doc", where occurred the story of The Comedians
(1966). The owner of the Hotel
Oloffson in Port-au-Prince,
where Greene frequently stayed, named a room in his honour.
Greene suffered from bipolar disorder, which had a profound effect on his writing and personal life. In a letter to his wife Vivien he told her that he had "a character profoundly antagonistic to ordinary domestic life", and that "unfortunately, the disease is also one's material”
Although critics don’t rate it as his finest work and it was made into a mediocre film, my favorite Greene novel is “The Comedians.” Judging by the news reports coming out of Haiti, not too much has changed since Greene wrote the book—Papa Doc is gone but the island’s violence and grinding poverty live on. Most of Greene’s books seem to have been written when he was in the depressed phase of his bi-polar condition, although “Travels With My Aunt” and some of his short stories are exceptions.
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