Tag Archives: Creativity

From Intent.com: Inspiration

Intent.com is some of my favorite inspirations: people who are moving and shaking, trying and risking.
They are experts at giving inspiration and receiving it.

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It’s Tuesday, you have most of the week ahead of you and maybe you’re needing a spark to make it through, so why not take a minute to share some of my favorites:

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What are your words of inspiration?
Photos? Movies? Songs?
What opportunities are you needing some extra spark to push through?
What spark do you have to provide?

From Intent.com: A Work of Art

My friends and I used to have an Art Club. We would get together and work on crafts and eat snacks. As I typed that last sentence, I couldn’t imagine a get-together that sounded more girly, but alas, it was. Art Club is home to some of my fondest memories, but it was also a surprisingly polarizing experience. Some people don’t consider themselves artists. If you’re not creative, what are you? If you have no imagination, what are you thinking about?

My argument (which has been added to greatly by some really great authors and speakers) is that all humans have the capacity of creativity. Whether you’re a painter or a small business owner, you know it requires imagination, even if your job involves numbers. We invent. We create. We process how we feel and where we’re going through those acts.

I wanted to take a minute to give a shout out to yet another Intent user, BeachGirl.
Along with her intents, comments and updates, she shares beautiful original artwork inspired by not only her intentions, but also her back yard and it’s inhabitants.

doact lookup peace stevejobs try

If you want to cement your intention for yourself and for others, find a way to make it tangible.

Drawing is just another way to do that!
Maybe you journal.
Maybe you decide to keep some sort of visual reminder of your commitments.
Maybe you create and stick to a schedule.

Whatever you choose, I say find a way to give life to your intentions.
So what will be your medium?
Canvas or graph paper?
It all works. Make it come alive!

5 Simple Ways to Make Your New Home Yours

If you’ve just purchased a home, or moved into a new space, you’re most likely looking around trying to figure out the best ways to make it truly feel like your own. There are many ways that you can put your personal touch on a home. Consider some of the following options to make the house feel like home.

1. More Than Just Paint

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Image via Flickr by MissMessie

One thing that many homeowners do when they first buy a house is start envisioning new paint. However, there is more to coloring a home than simply slapping on some paint. Think about the other places in the home that you’ll add color. Throw pillows are a great way to add your personal touch and some of your favorite hues. They don’t have to match the wall colors – just make sure that they match your personality.

Another place that you can add color is with the appliances and furniture pieces you choose. These all make a statement about you within your home. Are you into retro styles? Consider a bright red cooking set for the kitchen. If you’re more subdued, you may want to color the home with more earth tones. Keep in mind that adding color to the house requires more thought and effort than simply painting the walls.

2. Make The Walls Your Canvas

Image via Flickr by Webb Zahn

Some people love to have pictures of the family on the walls. Others enjoy beautifully painted art. Some prefer to hang shelving that has collectibles or delicate items on display. Whatever your preference, make sure to take a look at the wall space you have in the home. Hanging items on the walls helps the space feel more comfortable. On top of this, it puts your personal stamp on the home. Wall hangings can be quickly and easily changed, allowing you to change the look of the home with your mood.

3. Change the Floors

Image via Flickr by Christopher

When you buy a new house, you’re not always going to get everything you want all at once. Instead, you may find the perfect layout, but feel the need to change other things in time. One way you can truly make your house feel like yours is to ensure that the flooring is everything you want it to be. Is the house full of carpet, but you really wanted wood flooring? Pull up the carpet and make the change. Another option is to change carpeting or tile to a newer, better style that fits your preferences.

4. Feel More Secure

Image via Flickr by penelope waits

Safety is something homeowners often gloss over. After all, if you don’t feel secure in your own home, you may never feel truly relaxed. Set up a checklist of everything to be aware of before you begin moving into your new home. Here are some things it should cover:

  • Finances (budget for home inspections and insurance)
  • Electrical (check circuit breakers, switchplates, washer/dryer units for possible electrical hazards)
  • Set up emergency contact numbers
  • If you have little ones, be sure to take the necessary steps in baby-proofing the home
  • Develop and practice an escape plan in case of fires
  • Consider investing in a home security system

5. Incorporate Personal Touches

Image via Flickr by margaretshear

There are little things that you love and that are a part of who you are. Whether you love candles, or you collect baseball cards, these things are personal touches that you can add to the home. When adding little things, you make the house really feel like it is yours. Do you love spring? Add a bouquet of spring flowers to the kitchen table. The little things that you do will make all the difference in the feel of the home. Make yourself feel welcome with a batch of cookies. Though you may not want to bake cookies every day, if you’re feeling out of sorts in the home, this can be a helpful touch.

Whether you’re buying your first home or your fifth, there is always a period of adjustment in a new house. There are many ways to make sure you feel just right in your new digs. With just a few pieces added to the walls and some color splashed about, you’ll start feeling right at home in no time.

Find Your Success by Finding Your Tribe

Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.

– Oprah Winfrey

springfriendshipsWhen I first moved to California my aunt and uncle were kind enough to let me live in their guest room rent-free until I was able to find a job. The arrangement was not supposed to last more than three months. Instead, it lasted nine.

They lived 45 minutes north of Los Angeles, which was a lot more convenient than my parents’ house 3,000 miles away, but it still felt like a world away from where I wanted to be. Every day I spent the morning sending in job applications, trolling the internet for more places to apply to, nagging every contact I had to see if they had heard of any openings. There were a couple of interviews but they were weeks apart and it was becoming obvious that none of them were going to work out. I started applying for local retail part time jobs as well, just to get some cash coming in but with the unemployment market the way it was they knew better than to hire a recent college graduate who was trying everything they could to get their “dream job.”

Needless to say, it wasn’t long before the depression set in. My aunt and uncle were amazing and so generous during this time, but I still felt separated from all of my friends back home and I knew no one in the place I wanted to be. There were one or two people from college living in LA but if I was being honest, their success while I was struggling to figure out exactly what I wanted to do just made everything more frustrating. I felt so alone.

Then I made the most important decision that I’ve made since moving to the west coast. I decided to take an intro-level improv class at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. At first I naively thought I could take one class, prove to be an improv messiah and be hired as Amy Poehler’s assistant before the whole thing was over, or at least get a hook up for a page job at NBC – not to mention it’d force me out of the house and into the city for three hours a week. Of course, I’m still waiting for my call from Amy but what I did find will be more instrumental in my success than any job interview or fancy contact will ever be. I found my tribe.

Suddenly I was surrounded by people exactly like me. They were all at varying points on the road to being able to pay rent by entertaining people, but we were all traveling together. They were people who cared about being funny. About performing. About writing. And as we learned to “Yes, and…” and listen together, we began to care about each other. Improv is entirely about support, after all. It’d still be another two months before I found employment, but taking that class and making those friends gave me a whole new outlook on my journey in Los Angeles. I felt a renewed energy and motivation. I listened to their stories and soaked up their wisdom. I went to their shows and clapped the loudest. For the first time in almost a year since I uprooted my life to go after this ridiculous dream, I felt like I belonged here.

Last summer when comedian/writer Katie Dippold released her first written feature length movie The Heat, her old friend and fellow comedian Chris Gethard wrote an essay about it, and how Katie had been a fundamental part of finding his own tribe.

Now maybe you think you have a shot at being a creative person who pays their rent by being creative. Maybe you’re scared to go for it, like I once was. Maybe you have something you want to do and you don’t know if you can really do it. My suggestion, based on experience, is to find someone else who might be uncertain of themselves, and be brave enough to tell them what you see in them. Be brave enough to hear about the belief they have in you. Be the lighter fluid for someone else, and let them fan your flames too. Find your tribe.

Finding your tribe is not at all about finding the people who are the best connections to get you to the next level. No, those are contacts and you should keep them separate. Your tribe are the first people you call when you land the big job because they were the people you cried to all the times you didn’t. Your tribe are the people who tell you that you’re being an idiot and you need to focus when you blow off a writing a deadline. They are the people that pick you up and take you to the movies the morning after you’ve had your heart broken to give you something else to think about. Your tribe are the people that hold your hand when things are messy and they are the ones that clap the loudest when all of it becomes clear.

After that first class I started taking more and over the past year I’ve been steadily adding more and more people to the tribe. This advice isn’t just for creative people because it’s not just creative people that need support. Everyone participating in life needs a tribe. So do yourself a favor and look at the people you spend the majority of your time with. If any of them make you feel less than deserving of all the things you want, tell them to beat it. Make the conscious effort to surround yourself with people that not only support you, but have the strength and integrity to call you out when you’re being ridiculous. As Oprah said, you need the people who will ride the bus before they’ll ride the limo. These people are your magic potion, your cheat sheet, they’re the key thing you need to get you to where you want to go.

If you’re in need of finding the right people for your tribe, take a risk and put yourself out there. You can follow my footsteps and take a class. Or you could join a book club. Peruse MeetUps.com for people that follow your interests. Put yourself in a room with people you don’t know but who have a common interest or goal and see what happens. And don’t disqualify the internet as a great place for meeting those people. Message boards and social media sites are great ways to meet people you otherwise wouldn’t have who share your passions and can be a great resource as you start to figure yourself  out. 

Find your tribe. Find your happiness. Find you.

Student Eloquently Points Out What’s Wrong with Education System in Five Minutes

It seems you can’t go five minutes without hearing about how apathetic today’s youth is about education – that they only care about getting famous or doing things that make them happy rather than learning. We are consistently bombarded with statistics about lower test scores, op-eds on why today’s college students aren’t ready for the demanding rigor of the current work force and the reminder that the United States is constantly slipping in rank when it comes to world education.

One Knox County, Tennessee student is going to tell you why. And you know what? It’s not because of apathetic students or lazy teachers. In five short minutes he breaks down the history of the “common core” and why it is failing America’s students, its teachers and the overall system. He explains the problem with treating education like a fortune 500 business and how a student’s success and quality of learning can’t be accessed by the percentage score of a scantron test. He stands up for his peers, their desire to learn, and for the hard working teachers that try to give them that opportunity to do so against seemingly impossible odds.

I come from a family of teachers. My mother just retired from teaching second grade. My father has been teaching at a community college for over 15 years and this fall my brother started his first year as a fourth grade teacher. When I go home for the holidays I will spend most of my time listening to conversations about lesson plans, parent teacher conferences and a rundown of all of the tedious paperwork that has to be filled out just to get a student diagnosed with ADD. When my mother was teaching she would often be at the school until 6pm, and when she came home she would be up until 10 or 11 grading papers, tweaking lesson plans or responding to parent e-mails. Every child of a teacher knows that it is a 24/7 job and that as the years go on it becomes more and more impossible. As the video points out, our teachers today are graded by percentage points on quarterly standardized tests rather than the desire to learn they inspire in their students. It doesn’t measure the important things like the amount of time spent helping struggling students or thinking outside the box. For the sake of their own jobs teachers today are forced to teach their students how to think like a multiple choice question rather than creating their own original ideas.

If we fail our students in learning how to think for themselves, how do we ever expect them to succeed in life?

If you know a teacher that could use this video as encouragement, share it with them to show your support! Or tell us what you think about this student’s speech in the comments below.

From Intent.com: Making Things Happen

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When I was in the 2nd grade I wrote a poem about the seasons that made it into a printed book.

I remember that the poem was four lines and included the word “bare”. I don’t even know how that word got into my vocabulary at the age of 6, but I do know having my poem about summer, winter, spring and fall helped seal my dreams of wooing people with words at an early age.

Flash forward a LOT of years and I live in Los Angeles doing just that in a variety of ways.

This week (and next week’s actually), my intent will be to finish my 1st feature length screenplay. This means the script for a regular-length movie you might see in a theater (fingers crossed, you’ll be seeing this one one day).

“Two weeks? Is that enough time to write an entire screenplay?!” I have no clue.
A little bit ago, I got to do a super fun interview with my friends at Faith Context about comedy writing, social media, and space ships. I talked about how much I loved Stephen King’s book “On Writing”. Don’t worry, it’s not scary so you should read it if you have any interest in being a writer or just developing good disciplines for getting pretty much anything accomplished. The trick with making pretty much anything happen is you have to do it. Simple. You want to write? You have to sit down and do it. You want to lose weight? You have to walk and stop eating cheeseburgers*. Just do it.

I also know that we have this weird tendency of giving ourselves WAY too much time to complete a task and the majority of that time is spent procrastinating. People say “I love painting” and then make a goal to paint once a month. No need to set the bar too high, right? What if you fail? But if my math is correct, this means you’re setting yourself up to do the thing you love most only 12 times a year. What else are you doing with all that time? If I decide I’m going to paint at least 3 times a week, even if I don’t hit my goal, I’m building parameters to do what I love with a lot more frequency. So, if I like to write and I don’t want to give any more wasted time to Facebook stalking former popular kids from high school, then two weeks for a screenplay seems like a good place to start.

So what are you working on? A screenplay? A cookbook? A new business?
Maybe you’re wanting to finally repair some relationships or start brand new ones?
Set goals. Two weeks. Imagine how different your life could be in two weeks.
In two weeks, I’m going to have a screenplay.

Tell us what your goals are this week on Intent.com. Tell us what you intend to do, no matter how fantastical or absurd you think it is. We’re into it. We support you. Let’s support each other.

*Please know that I’m not a medical doctor. I have no idea how much weight you, the individual, will gain or lose based exclusively on your cheeseburger intake. It was meant to be a funny, general example. Please forgive my ignorance if cheeseburgers are a staple of your healthy diet.

photo by: -Jeffrey-

Once Again: 6 Tips for Writing from George Orwell

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Last week, I posted six rules for writing from George Orwell, but that post was swallowed up by the internet. I was quite pleased by the number of people who wrote to ask where the list had gone, so I’ve decided to re-post it.

I loved rules for writing: for instance, here are rules from Mindy Kaling, Kurt Vonnegut, Henry Miller, and Flannery O’Connor.

In one of his most famous essays, “Politics and the English Language,” Orwell writes that “the following rules will cover most cases”:

1. Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which are used to seeing in print.

2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.

3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.

5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent. (I’m charmed by his example: use “snapdragon,” not “antirrhinum.” Snapdragon is so much nicer.)

6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

I find these rules to be enormously helpful. It’s so easy to use tired, shopworn figures of speech. I love using long, fancy words but have learned–mostly from writing my biography of Winston Churchill–that short, strong words work better. I am ever-vigilant against the passive and against jargon, both of which are so insidious.

However, I have to be cautious with #3. I love to cut so much that I have to be careful not to cut too much. My writing tends to become very dense, so I have to keep some cushion. Sometimes, words that seem superfluous are actually essential, for the overall effect.

One thing that makes me very happy is to have a complicated idea and to feel that I’ve expressed myself clearly. I remember writing the ending to Happier at Home. I wrote the entire book to build to that ending–”now is now”–and what I had to say was very abstract, and yet, I felt satisfied that I managed to say what I wanted to say. One of the happiest experiences I’ve had as a writer was when I typed the final lines,  “Now is now. Here is my treasure.”

How about you? Do you use these rules–or any others?

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  • The holidays approach! May I self-promotingly make a gift suggestion? Happier at Home or The Happiness Project. Both New York Times bestsellers. Buy early and often!If you’d like to make a gift more special by personalizing it, I’m happy to help. Would you like a free, personalized, signed bookplate for copies of The Happiness Project or Happier at Home? Or signed Paradoxes of Happiness signature cards or Ten Tips for Happiness in Your New Home signature cards? Request as many as you want, here. Alas, because of mailing costs, I can now mail only to the U.S. and Canada–so sorry about that. And request quickly, if you want these for the holidays. I can be kinda slow.

Wordplay Wednesday: To My Dear Child

Submitted by Sophie Badami, from Pune, India

I love you if you reply to my mail

But if you don’t reply to my mail, I love you even more.

I love you if you acknowledge my e -message,

But if you don’t I love you even more.

I love you if you acknowledge my existencce

But I love you more if you dont

I love you if you have to say something nice about me

But I love you more if you say something not -so- nice about me.

I love you if I know that you are happy

But I love you more if I know you are unhappy.

I love you if you are successful

But I love you more if you are not successful.

I love you if you are hale and hearty,

But I love you more if you are sick.

I love you if you are physically fit

But I love you more if you are not.

I love you if you are friendly to me

But I love you more if you ignore me

I love you if you phone me sometimes

But I love you even more if you don’t.

I love you if your share your thoughts and feelings

But I love you more if you cant.

I love you if you follow my advice

But I love you even more if you cant

I love you if you achieve something in life

But I love you if you fail to do so

I love you if you help me out

But I love you even more if you overlook my request for help.

My child, I used to think that love is two-way-traffic.

But now I know, one-way is bliss.

And all my love- you-more are indicators,

That I share your pain, your hurt and your suffering like my own.

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Do you have a favorite or original poem you would like showcased on Wordplay Wednesday? We’d love to share it! Email the poem to editor@intent.com, and we will feature it in the series. Click here to view past Wordplay Wednesdays.

photo by: legends2k

Watch: 6 Year Old Creates Superhero Short Film with Help From Dad

6-year old Elliott Worley likes art, superheroes and his baby sisters. Elliott is an artist with a filmmaker father, Seth, and when the two combined their own super powers, Super Lion was born.

Super Lion is a character invented by Elliott who fights crime (specifically the evil Dr. Hyena) with the help of his trusty sidekick, Bumblebee. Seth took Elliott’s drawings and narration and turned it into the best movie trailer about lions we’ve ever seen. To top it all off, Seth recruited his own brother Ben Worley to create an epic theme for Super Lion. We not only get Super Lion’s origin story, but meet his sidekick Bumblebee (who has horns on his head so he can hear good!) and see them face off against Dr. Hyena.

Though his dad and uncle helped, Elliott is clearly on his way to an illustrious illustration/animation/filmmaking career. Really, the choices are endless, right? This is what happens when we notice our children’s creative potential and help them explore it in interesting and fun ways!

So moms and dads: what are some ways to collaborate with your children? Whether it’s making cookies or turning their random doodles into a movie the world can’t wait to see, amazing things come from spending time being creative with your family!

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Elliott Worley’s SUPER LION from Seth Worley on Vimeo.

 

Need more?
You can watch Elliott’s first film “The Three Little Pigs”.
You should watch Seth’s most recent short, “Spy Vs Guy”.
You can download uncle Ben’s Super Lion score HERE, including the super awesome Super Lion remix.

Watch: Adorable Girl Creates Her Own Fireworks

Sometimes you want to see fireworks even when it’s not the Fourth of July or New Years. Such was the case with this little girl who couldn’t sleep because she was sure she could hear them. To calm her down her dad picked up a ukelele and the two tried a duet. Of course, there were demanded breaks to watch the fireworks happening in this little girl’s imagination.

It just goes to show life is always better with a little imagination. Let’s give a thumbs up to dad of the year on that pink ukelele as well! What  did you think of the video? Share your thoughts in the comments below! 

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