Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Originality Over-rated?

Rich Hopkins posted an article recently on his public speaking blog, "Stand and Deliver" that said "Originality is overrated".

I could not let that statement go unchallenged.

His primary premise is that "there is nothing new under the sun" and that holding yourself to the high standard of "originality" in all your speeches may prevent you from achieving your goals.

He points out that there are plenty of cases where originality is not required and, in fact, repetition is a good thing. I have to agree that not everything has to be 100% original every time... practice means doing the pretty much same thing over and over again so that you get better. But if you are doing it the exact same way every time, does it really get better?

If there is not an original element in each practice... something that you try to make the speech better or improve your efficiency or comfort with the material... aren't you locked into mediocrity at best? Without originality (even in repetitive practice), you won't improve.

I like do Rich's suggestion to not get stuck on 100% originality and would add one key point...
Everyone is an original and every event is unique.
Building on the past is what made our civilization great but the real key is each and every small piece of originality that we bring to all we do.

No, Originality is not overrated. If anything, it is underappreciated since there are so many way to be original... and I would like to thank Rich Hopkins since he found an original way to get me to write this post.

I'm sure no one has ever written a "counter-point" post to another post about originality before... right?

At least not on this blog... today !

Friday, August 7, 2009

Great post on Creativity...

Over at Zen Habits, they had a post with some good ideas about creativity...

Isn't it "cheating" to use someone else's creative output?
Creativity is not always about your own ideas as much as it is about recognizing the great ideas of others ... and adding your own ideas to make theirs even better !

Think Synergy vs. Scarcity !

The Zen Habits post also started with an interesting quote...
“The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.” - Albert Einstein
Not sure I agree with Albert on this ... but I like the idea of having sources ... and leveraging them as much as you can !

What are your sources for creativity? When was the last time you recognized someone else's good idea ... and gave it a boost?

d.Mark "Dave" Wheeler

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Marshal Sylver PISSED ME OFF !

First, some background...
I attended the Turning Point Seminar and Total Prosperity seminar in Orlando, FL this past week ... both featuring and presented by Marshal Sylver. Marshal is a former Las Vegas Stage Hypnotist who has moved into the self development seminar business with a full range of personal and business development seminars.

His general point of view...
We are all in a trance of some sort or another. We use our own words to program our subconscious minds which drives our actions and, eventually, our results. (I will be posting more about this in the future on this blog.)

How Marshall Sylver PISSED ME OFF !!!!
I was on a lunch break from the Total Prosperity seminar and after eating, I had gone up to my hotel room on the 9th floor of the hotel to relax until the seminar resumed. After chillin' (and checking some emails), I packed up my notepad and headed out of the room to take the elevator back downstairs to the seminar.

I pressed the "down" button and waited. Eventually, one of the 4 elevators chimed and the doors opened. I walked in and who was there ... Marshall Freakin' Sylver ! (And his beautiful fiance, Erica). We were the only people in the elevator and I was a bit surprised to have the opportunity to spend a few fleeting seconds with someone who knew so much about human nature and how the mind works. I think I said "Hi". He certainly knew that I was part of his seminar since I still had my nametag hanging around my neck.

The elevator went down one floor... two floors... and I knew I should say something, but I could not think of the right thing to say. Eventually, I blurted out,"I am really enjoying the seminar." Eventually, the elevator stopped at another floor and someone else got on. I added, "I have not yet signed up for Financial Prosperity [the next seminar in the series focused on building a 8 figure business]". Marshall simply responded, "You will." [And I probably nodded my head since I was planning on signing up but had not figured out the finances yet.]

The elevator gets to the main floor, we all get out and go our separate ways. Marshall goes on to lead the next 2-3 hours of the seminar and I head back to my seat in the 4th row. It wasn't a long walk back to the seminar... but I was already starting to get pissed off for missing this opportunity. I could have told him about my consulting/seminar website,, or my real estate investment company, New Start Home Buyers LLC, but I remained silent.

The seminar started back up and I was a more than just a little disappointed in myself. As the afternoon wore on... I simply got PISSED that I had missed my chance in the elevator.

The Total Prosperity seminar focuses on skills that entrepreneurs need to be successful and that afternoon, in the course of the discussions, one of the other attendees mentioned the importance of "an elevator speech". Oh sure, RUB IT IN !

Opportunity for redemption...
I figured that my only opportunity had past and that it would be unlikely that I would have a chance to give a pitch to Marshall at the seminar or otherwise develop a business relationship with his company. I could not have been more wrong.

On the second day of the seminar, Marshall described a $200K property that he knew of that was selling for $80K and he asked the class if there was anyone who would want to purchase it. Immediately all the hands went up, including mine.

This is precisely the type of investment that New Start Home Buyers LLC is looking for and I knew that I had an advantage over others in the class. I pulled out my neon orange business card that says (in the biggest letters possible), I BUY HOUSES ... CASH !!! I held it up as Marshall explained more about the opportunity. Finally, he asks again... who wants this opportunity? My hand (and card) went up... and this is when it happened...

Can you close the deal today?
Marshall sees that my card says "CASH" and asks, "Can you close on this deal today?" I was taken aback by the question and I instinctively answered, sadly... "No". Marshall's next question was the one that really PISSED ME OFF !!!

He asked, "Is there anyone here who has the financing?" and immediately I realized that I had missed another opportunity! I should have said, "YES" and figured out where to get the money once I had the deal. The room was filled with at least a hundred people who could have given me the money (for a portion of the profits, of course.) Again, I was kicking myself and pissed off that I had missed that opportunity.

Marshal's fault?
As you can see, Marshal really didn't do anything wrong. He simply presented me with chances to get pissed off at myself for missing the opportunities when they were right in front of me... which, in the long run, is probably the best lesson I could take from the seminar.

Prepare for opportunites ... and TAKE THEM when they appear!

So, if you were looking for an article about how Marshall Sylver started a fight or insulted me... well, you will have to keep searching. Aside from pissing myself off, the Turning Point seminar and the Total Prosperity seminar were well worth the investment I made in both time and money.

I can only hope that you give Marshall a chance to piss you off too !

Good luck !

D.Mark "Dave" Wheeler

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Approaches to Creative Outsourcing

Seth Godin, author of Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable and many other business books, had an interesting post recently about two different ways to outsource creative projects.  The two forms are "blank slate" vs. "inside the box" (although Seth calls them "clean sheet" and "strategic mission").  The "blank slate" refers to a very basic set of instructions to the creative talent and relying on them to come up with something that you like while the "inside the box" refers to a clearly defined set of parameters for the project.
The strategic mission takes more preparation, more discipline and more difficult meetings internally. It involves thinking hard without knowing it when you see it. It's also the act of a mature individual, earning his salary.

The clean sheet of paper is amazing when it works, but involves so much waste, anxiety and pain that I have a hard time recommending it to most people. If you're going to do this, you have an obligation to use what you get, because your choice was hiring this person, not in judging the work you got when you didn't have the insight to give them clear direction in the first place.

What if you could combine the two approaches?
Every project, at some point, is a "blank sheet" and the question is simply when you decide to bring a creative talent into the process.  The sooner you involve the talent, the greater chance you will get an outstanding result.

Why would you get better results?
Because people who wear the label of "creative talent" (whatever that means in your situation) have tools or ways of thinking that they bring to the table which are often outside the realm of "typical business".  They are also a pair of objective eyes who can see your problem in a new light and question some of the basic assumptions that may be causing the problem or, at least, holding you back from achieving an outstanding result.

It's not about the box.
While Seth Godin's blog post kicked off the discussion, his short post didn't really capture the full spectrum of possible working scenarios available when outsourcing creative project work.  Most creative types actually work well when they are given "a box" to work within and the best actually rise to the challenge of finding a creative solution that fits.  On the other side, if creativity is applied to the creation of the box the results can be, in the words of Seth Godin, "amazing".

What's worked for you?

D.Mark Wheeler

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Values and the 10-10-10 concept from Suzy Welch

SuzyWelchHave you heard about the 10-10-10 idea (as discussed in Suzy Welch's book by the same name)?  

Have you ever had a difficult decision to make and needed some way to put your alternatives into perspective?  To take away some of the confusion from all the options and consequences that were swirling around in your head?
The basic idea of Suzy's 10-10-10 method is to use 3 time horizons as a decision making tool.  
What would be the implications of your decision in 10 minutes (near term), 10 months (mid term) and 10 years (long term)?
If you watch the video of Suzy on the Today show with Matt Lauer (clip is available on Suzy's website), she mentions the importance of understanding your values as part of the 10-10-10 decision process.

"Thinking about those consequences in each of those timeframes is not as powerful if you don't bring your values to it.  How do I want to live?  It is not a device.  It is a way to shape your life and that happens when you bring your values to it."

Do you know what your values are?  Are you living your values?

If you are wondering what your values truly are, click here to learn about a"tool" under development called Value Discovery™ Cards that help you identify values that you are currently living as well as the values that you want in your life (but may not currently have IN your life).   

If you have a good handle on your values... you can use the 10-10-10  method to help you make better decisions !

Monday, April 27, 2009

Creativity all around us...

Did you realize that there are opportunities to boost your creativity all around you?

One aspect of creativity is the ability to see things in a different way and because we often get into a rut where we simply do things the same way over and over again without thinking about them, it is important to break your pattern.

Take your living space for example. Do you always sleep on the same side of the bed? What would it feel like to wake up on the other side of the bed some morning? (Assuming someone is not already there ... although that might be interesting too!)

I noticed this phenomenon when I used one of my guest bathrooms today. I rarely, if ever go in there, but it gave me bit of a shift of perspective and helped me generate this blog post.

I know what you are thinking ... Shift Happens ! (or were you thinking that this post should be flushed?)

Seriously though... when was the last time you opened your eyes to the new experiences all around you? Take a new route to work ... or come home "the long way". Whatever it is, it will help rejuvenate you and... in the end... it will boost your creative energy !

Give it a try !

d.Mark Wheeler

“I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
Robert Frost quotes (American poet, 1874-1963)