Picture This Qoute

Creativity is a joke

Nowadays, whatever you read or look at, you would find the word creativity mentioned. I think that the word "creativity" is one of the most overused words out there to the extent that the word creativity has turned into a cliché just like "think outside the box" and "think different" have become. Everybody talks about creativity not only because it is an important topic but also because of human ego. Everybody wants to think of himself or herself as creative person including myself, Come on admit it, you do too.  Here I am jumping on the bandwagon and sharing my view on creativity.

So What’s the fuss all about?

The reason why creativity is important is because we live in the conceptual age as Daniel Pink calls this age in his great book "A Whole New Mind". It is no longer enough for a product to do the job. Therefore, mobile phones must be slick and neat; cars must be monster-like and hand made, and everything else needs creativity to be sold to people and to be sold to people it needs to touch or shock our senses. This is where creativity overlaps with humor. I believe that creative people must be funny or have a sense of humor. 

What do you think Einstein?
I think he agrees.
Why humor is part of creativity?
First, Read the following joke:

Two elderly men talking to each other, the first guy said moaning: Man, I am 83 years old, and my whole body hurt. How about you?

I feel great, I feel like I was just born.

The other guy furiously says: How #$%$# come?

The other guy says: I have no teeth, I have no hair and best of all, I just wet my pants. 

If you analyze the joke you can realize very quickly that it starts with something we are all familiar with otherwise we wouldn't be able to know what the funny part that's coming next is all about. Then, a buildup was given before a epiphany is reached with the punch line. The punch line is something that you didn’t expect and it has somewhat a connection with something totally new or forgotten. Now ponder the next philosophical question: If a funny joke is never heard, is it still funny? I don't know if an unheard joke is funny or not but a funny joke must be heard and laughed at. Finally, after the joke is heard many times it loses its humor and dies.

Now let’s examine creative thinking process, usually we would be working on an existing problem or a situation that needs improvement. We would mix and try different things until the “aha” moments comes and a connection is made. When a product or a solution is presented to people just like joke, you would get "That’s interesting" or "a smile" reaction. 

Another important similarity to consider is the product or the solution time, if iPad existed 20 years ago it would've been a complete failure because its time hadn't come. Also, a joke must be told in a right time and you mustn't tell a joke in a funeral  for example or else you will share the grave with the deceased.
So in a conclusion.. If you want to be creative you need to have a sense of humor and to have a sense of humor you must have a playful mind and look for connections where it is least expected.

We Wish You a Pleasant Plight

Few days ago I was watching a Youtube video of a young Saudi engineer who was addressing a distinguished audience at the lately established King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). He spoke about his dream and gave an excellent heart-touching speech and to make it even better he used Martian Luther King's famous words "I have a dream". His dream, as a proud Saudi, is that Saudi Arabia be ahead of the world and leads it in technology, research, and science. As a Saudi my self, I admired that engineer ambition and determination to change the world starting from his own country.

As I write this topic though I am in Ad Dammam airport waiting for my domestic flight to Madinah which was scheduled to take off two hour earlier with no clue or a word from anyone from the authorities about how long we are going to wait and why the flight is delayed. (The flight was delayed for 6 hours and we had to cancel our trip)

This is just one of the nightmares many of us face and at this time I don't have ambitious dreams, I just want to wake up from this nightmare and all the other that keep repeating since as long as I can remember. The most repeating nightmare we see everyday is on the streets while we are driving along with reckless drivers endangering our lives and theirs. What's troubling about this is the fact that these incidents keeps repeating and this indicates trouble for the future of our country because these nightmares are the results of malfunction of the country system.

Before our dreams can come to reality, we must prevent our nightmares from coming to reality. To leave Nightmare Land and go to Dream Land, there are few facts that we need to confront:

WE ARE in Nightmare Land. This simple truth is overlooked by many people because they are too optimistic and want to skip all the hard work of building the right environment for change. I am not pessimistic about the future but I believe we must not see the glass half full nor half empty. We need to see it half full AND half empty because being truthful to ourselves is the starting point.

Every thing lies on Leadership leaders in every organization must exemplify true leadership. Leaders must cast the vision and lead to the vision, and work the vision. This fact is too critical because without a vision we are headed to nowhere and direction to somewhere worth going is more important than speed. Leaders must fully understand that they are leading the organization's most valuable asset, that is people. People is what make an organization what it is and it is the leaders' responsibility to make these people great for the organization to be great.

Greatness is not a destination greatness is a process, a way of life, that is being shared by the majority. We can't be great with few individuals wining the noble prize for instant. We can't be great with a single dead. We are only great by moving from good to better all the time. This process of continuous change is a huge challenge. It is flight that usually turn into a daunting plight but the latter state is what makes it worth traveling.

As a country and individuals we ought to start the journey to our greatness, our countries need everyone of us greatness for it to be great.

With that I leave you, not wishing you a "pleasant" plight.

The Enemy Within

After the eruption of the latest revolutions in the Middle East, the world has been witnessing the honorable and the disgraceful, the courageous and the vicious, the good and the evil. As human we can feel others' joy, but we feel their pain more. As I watched and read about the people who were killed, injured, and tortured during this critical time, all I could think about is why? What would spur a person to kill or harm another human being especially people who have a lot in common? Why overlook what bring them closer and scrutinize for differences that set them apart?

Differences lump people in different categories; person A is an Arab, person B is English, Person C is a Muslim, and so on. Differences are not the problem,the world would be so boring if we were all from the same sect, but the problem is how people with power exploit differences to commit perversions. Do people have a choice in these differences? For instance, I have no choice of being an Arab as well as many other descriptions related to me. Sadly, minorities all over the world are suffering from mistreatment, discrimination, and harm for nothing but they way they were born and raised.

Albeit that most of people are dualist, believing in a body and a soul, they certainly do not behave per that conviction. Viewing other human being as soul rather than physical body shall compel us to be fair and good with him or her regardless of color, language, origin, social standing, and all other traits. Even if we omit the argument of the soul, simple physical perspective of putting ourselves in others’ shoes and judging from that standpoint shall make the world a better place.

Understanding others' needs and feelings is humans' specialty that can make us more empathic and kind people. Some people tend to be very empathic to the extent of feeling animals' pain and decide to be veterinarians. But sympathy and understanding requires reaching out to “different” people and celebrate their differences therefore turning “hot buttons” into chuckling spots.

People who do evil deeds are sometime described as animals and that is really unfair to animals. Even the most voracious predators are not described as evil because their motives to kill matter unlike humans whose perversions are irrational. What could be a worst irrational example than discriminating against women for being women! Or black for being black!

Rationality is another human specialty and failing to use our mind rationally especially during crisis make humans worst than animals that instinctively lack the thinking capacity. This is why we do not condemned animals for killing other animals. Thus, Humans are by far more dangerous to themselves and to other creatures than any other threatening weapon or disease as Psychologies Carl Jung said “The only thing we have to fear on the planet is man”.

Finally, Although our desires and thinking might fail us, our good and sincere "proactive" emotions can save the world. We have to believe we are loving to give love when needed, believe we are kind to be kind when needed, believe we are forgiving to forgive when mistreated, and most importantly we have to believe in saving humanity a person at a time from the enemy within.

The Power of your Conscious Mind

Self help gurus emphasize the importance of the subconscious mind capacities in our lives. The basic idea to use our subconscious is that we can make our thoughts (positive or negative) a reality by holding them in our mind long enough until they manifest around us. Nobody denies nor belittles the importance of the subconscious; In fact our subconscious make us who we are and it is the part that keeps us alive by controlling breathing and heart beat. Psychologist Paul Bloom answers "why do we have a subconscious?" by saying that this is not the best way to look at mental life as most of what we do is subconscious. The question we should be asking is "why do have that small part of mental life called consciousness since it occupies a smaller portion of our brain? We are immersed in our own routines to the point that we almost do not need our conscious mind at all. Maybe Leonardo Da Vinci can tell us more about us than what we can tell about ourselves. Leonardo once reflected sadly that the average human: looks without seeing, listens without hearing, touches without feeling, eats without tasting, moves without physical awareness, inhales without awareness of fragrance, and talks without thinking. Although our subconscious is vital for us to be alive, our conscious mind has what we live for. In the following points I will address the importance of reviving our conscious mind in relation to five subjects:

Design firm IDEO's General Manager Tom Kelley and author of The Art of Innovation, spoke of his favorite trait of an innovator which he calls "Thinking like a Traveler". When people travel aboard, their brain is "turned on" and they notice small details that locals don't usually notice. That means that we are currently surrounded by details that we are not noticing. Tom Kelley gives a beautifully metaphor to expose us to this truth: "I don't know who discovered water, but I am sure it is not a fish". Therefore, we can be more creative by simply turn on our conscious mind. A great tool for this trait is to log your thoughts and ideas in notebook. By doing so, you are consciously looking around for ‘something’ and eventually you will find it. Ponder this question: What kind of a world would we be in right now if Isaac Newton did not notice the apple fall of the tree?

Stress is a major factor of many health problems as it sabotages the immune system. Luckily, meditation and exercising come to our rescue. First, let’s take meditation, what is it? Meditation is a practice in which the practitioner self-induces a mode of consciousness in order to relax. Some common meditation exercises are: concentrating the mind on a particular part of our body, creating a sound such as "om" and "ah", and practicing deep breathing. Once more, focusing your mind on doing nothing or your daily activities can make you healthier person. In fact concentration can turn a usual activity into a stress relieve exercise. A study that was done by Harvard University shows that if you remind yourself of the invisible exercises that you do such as shopping, taking a shower, or even eating can improve your heath by only realizing that you are performing that exercise.

I have never read a self-help book about success that does not accentuate the significance of writing your goals. When it comes to personal success, setting and accomplishing small goals that lead to an ultimate goal is the road map to success. Goals must be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timed). This process of setting goals, measuring, evaluating, and timing them is another conscious exercise that shall be carried out with a pen and paper to confronting your subconscious self and giving it a reality check.

One of the most successful methods to lose weight is counting the calories you consume daily by keeping a diet journal. By doing so, you stay conscious of your food consumption and know exactly when to stop eating. Another proof of the importance of conscious eating is the fact that people consume more when they are distracted by, for instance, watching TV. One local custom that hinders our control of food consumption is "group eating", we sit on the same dish and eat, chat, and have fun which leads us to eat more than what we need.

I would like to share a story I once read that shall illustrate this point:
a happy aged woman was asked by a young girl of her secret of happiness.
"My dear," she said, "I keep a Pleasure Book."
"A what?"
"A Pleasure Book. Long ago I learned that there is no day so dark and gloomy that it does not contain some ray of light, and I have made it one business of my life to write down the little things which mean so much to a woman. I have a book marked for every day. It has the little things: the new gown, the chat with a friend, the thoughtfulness of my husband, a flower, a book, a walk in the field, a letter, a concert, or a drive. It all goes into my Pleasure Book, and, when I am inclined to complain, I read a few pages to see what a happy, blessed woman I am. You may see my treasures if you will."
"Slowly the stubborn, discontented girl turned over the book reading a little here and there.
One day's entries were: "Had a pleasant letter from mother. Saw a beautiful lily in a window. Found the pin I thought I had lost. Saw such a bright, happy girl on the street. Husband brought some roses in the evening."
"Have you found a pleasure for every day ?" the discontented girl asked.
"For every day," the low voice answered; "I had to make my theory come true, you know."
The young girl ought to have stopped there, but did not; and she found that page where it was written:
"He died with his hand in mine, and my name upon his lips."

Just as our subconscious is vital, having an employed conscious mind is crucial to our lives. The good news is that your conscious mind is under your command, unlike the subconscious that you have no immediate control of, the conscious mind mostly can be immediately controlled using a pen and paper.
So decide to be conscious and bring your conscious mind to consciousness.