Recapping 2012 Part 5 of ??


Now this is funny. I began writing the introduction below in order to recap a post about failure but changed my mind. The introduction below remained but even though I selected a different post. Now the introduction doesn’t make sense but it is an excellent example of my good intentions not being executed well. Read on, it’s still a favorite post of mine!

I began this series to resurrect some of my favorite posts of 2012, to give new readers an opportunity to see what could easily have been lost to the archive. With more than 12 days before Christmas I figured I would have been much further along than the fifth installment. Oh well, my intentions were good but my execution, not so much. That’s a common thing with me, good intentions, bad execution and that is sometimes perceived as failure by others but more importantly by me. In 2012 I learned that failure is not a bad word, that much can be learned from failing and that if you never fail you aren’t attempting big enough goals.

Creativity Begets Creativity

Creativity begets creativity. If you want to be more creative then hang out with creative people, or read about them, or watch them on TV. If you want to be creative find a way to experience other people’s creativity.

I’ve seen a few tweets about something called World Creativity and Innovation Week. I’m too busy to look up what that is because I’m exploring how it can help me. A friend tweeted this:

Creativity Tweet

Curious exploration

Being a curious person I clicked the link and then clicked the second story in the list which took me to a post by Mike Brown. In his post Mr. Brown told a story about seeing a poster called Peter’s Laws which he modified and turned into questions to spark creativity.Peter's Laws

Again being curious I wondered what the origin of Peter’s Laws was. A Google search later I had my answer with this webpage. Peter Diamandis is the founder and chairman of the X PRIZE Foundation which is most famous for their $10,000,000 Ansari X PRIZE for private space flight which Burt Rutan won.

Back to Peter’s Laws

A couple of the laws caught my eye because they fit so nicely with the concepts in What Next.

One law reads “When given a choice…take both!!” and that is an essential part of asking What Wext. You can walk multiple paths in life – we all do it as spouses, parents, employees, business people, and friends. What successful people do is excel on multiple paths and that takes dedication and work. If you aren’t dedicated and/or aren’t willing to work, then you won’t succeed.

The Peter’s Law that immediately follows the one above is “Multiple projects lead to multiple successes” and again we have the key point of What Next. The do one thing well concept is just as wrong as the jack of all trades master of none concept. Who says you can’t do lots of things really well or at least hire people who can?

Back to Creativity

I wasn’t sure what I was going to write my next blog post about but reading Mike Brown’s post and being curious enough to do a little research sparked my creativity and led me to write this, proving that creativity begets creativity. The same can be said about the other traits of What Next: curiosity begets curiosity, adventure begets adventure, action begets action, and success begets success. If you want any of those things then get to know people who exhibit those traits and start spending time with them.

As another of Peter’s Laws states “When faced without a challenge, make one” this is your challenge, to succeed, so what are you going to do about it?

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The Q*bert Way of Life

The internet is built for curiosity, for following different paths and discovering new things. It’s called surfing the internet because you ride a wave of information that takes you in different directions. If a page you’re looking at has links to something else you might click them and the new page probably has links of its own and you might click them too. By the time you’re done you may have ventured far from where you began.  But what did we do before the internet?

Successful people have always viewed the world like an internet of tangible items. Successful people hyper-link through life because they want to understand, to learn how things work. My recent post about Leonardo da Vinci is a perfect example of that kind of thinking. Da Vinci’s notebook reveals that he wanted to learn about proportion, how the sun is measured, understand hydrolics, and draw Milan, among other things. Who knows what sparked those interests but he pursued them just as today we simply click a new link.


Remember the game Q*bert? The goal was to hop from square to square on a pyramid, changing all blocks to the same color. That’s how curious people approach learning, hopping from interest to interest. Unlike Q*bert, however, we can linger on something that really interests us.

When I read a book or magazine article, whether online or in print, anything that interests me becomes a link I can “click” on by doing my own research. If I’m driving and see some web site posted on a car (and I can’t figure out what it is on my own) I’ll check it out. It might be cool, it might be dumb, but it’s worth the two seconds it takes to find out.

OK, so here’s how the Q*bert theory of curiosity works for me. A person I follow on Twitter tweeted a link to an article on I clicked it and read it, but didn’t think it was that good. There were several links in the article, though and I clicked on two of them. One was for Academic Earth where you can watch videos of very smart people saying really useful stuff. I clicked on one video but didn’t like it much so I went back to poking around. Then I found another video and this one was great. It was from 2007 but who cares as long as I found something relevant in it. Now I’m going to tweet a link to this video and who knows who will watch it next. Then I turned my attention to the other link from the article and I spent about 20 minutes watching videos about probability. That is the definition of curiosity and the difference between me and someone else is that I clicked and others don’t.

So how many links in this post did you click on before reading this sentence? Be honest and let me know by adding a comment below.

Be curious!

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