Another Sketch-Barbed Wire

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So apparently the iPad and Autodesk’s SketchBookX application brings out my creative side.

I’ve never been one much for drawing, but the iPad makes it very fun.

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On Groucho

Roger Ebert looks back on Marx Brothers movies and his time spent with Groucho.

Ebert on his interviews with Groucho:

In two sessions separated by a couple of weeks, I heard him talk for hours at a time, always in the same way, circling his material looking for loopholes. I began to think of him as a soloist, and speech as his instrument. Like a good musician, he no longer had to think of the notes; he worked in terms of timing and the through-line, and questions did not inspire answers but improvisations.

To watch Groucho deliver lines and play with language is to truly watch a virtuoso at work. Do me a favor and watch any or all of the Marx Brothers movies.

On Coaching

I plan on using the following when coaching myself and others from here on out:

  1. Experts tend to operate outside their comfort zone and study themselves failing.
  2. Experts will try to walk in the shoes of someone who’s more competent than them.
  3. Experts crave and thrive on immediate and constant feedback.
  4. Experts treat what they do like a science. They collect data, they analyze data, they create theories, and they test them.

Via The Dilemma of Coaching Yourself

On Creativity, Curiosity and Rigor

Via Brain Pickings, Andrew Zuckerman presents the following concept.

“What gets projects done for me is not inspiration. I have no idea what inspiration really is. I know that I get really curious about things, and when that gets mixed with rigor, a project gets completed. And that’s basically it, it’s that simple. When curiosity and rigor get together, something happens. And when one of these things [isn’t] there, nothing happens, or the project doesn’t really reach people.”

~ Andrew Zuckerman

The equation of curiosity+rigor=creativity stuck a sympathetic chord and got me thinking. I’ve always had the curiosity, my entire life has been spent being curious about everything. What I didn’t have was the rigor to turn this curiosity into anything. My early education was so consumed by research, 5-paragraph essays, and format defining function while college was filled with hard science, laboratories and pleasing tenured professors that I consciously shied away from rigor in nearly all forms. For over 15 years now I’ve let my mind wander, essentially, going over what I’ve read, heard, seen, learned but ultimately producing nothing but half baked thoughts and ramblings taken verbatim.

So, the curiosity has always been there … I’m a voracious (if somewhat slow) reader. What was lacking was the rigor in thinking, the conscious effort to apply what I’ve read to learning, turning a passive exercise into an active pursuit. So the rigor is the workflow to publish what I’ve read and my thoughts about it here. The process of forcing myself to pick certain items from what I’ve read and think it through will hopefully enable more creative and critical thinking on my part in the future.