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Ideas for people pursuing an empowered life,




Nature and innovative thinking

I use examples from the tropical forest when I'm explaining creativity and innovation to corporate groups.  I'm always amazed that so many company executives and managers have to be convinced that learning to be innovative is in their own best interest. After seeing my PowerPoint presentation, they're usually convinced that our destiny is be creative.

Many seem to think that their key collaborators will suddenly become innovative thinkers when the time is right or the need apparent.  Nothing is farther from the truth.  We are creatures of habit so - like most everything &endash; creative thinking skills must be learned and practiced.  Without the input, there can be no output.

In the jungle, successful species have little resistance to complying with Nature's twin rules:  Survive and prosper.  Because both predator and prey co-exist in the same territory, the first rule suggests that "prey" be relatively invisible to their predators.  As they must move about to feed themselves and find shelter, obeying that first rule is difficult.  And, in order to prosper, prey must be visible - if not downright attractive - to its own species. 

Survivors must constantly adjust and adapt to answer both requirements.  I'll tell the story of the owl butterfly in example.  It's so-named because the round spots on the underside of its wings.  They look just like the eyes of an owl.  Predators think twice before attacking something with such large eyes, on the off-chance there may be an equally large body attached to them. 

I know a species of fly that transformed itself to look like a bee so as to fool its predators, and another that has transformed itself to look exactly like a hornet.  A third kind looks just like an oak leaf.  Even plants will be highly creative.  I tell people about the fly-orchid - a flower that attracts male flies and tricks them into pollinating it by appearing to be a female of the species.  Or I'll show them the bee-orchid &endash; this flower looks like a female bee.  To prosper, orchids leave nothing to chance.  They trick the boys into mating them in this highly innovative way. 

I conclude that presentation by asking:  "Do you know how to produce the innovative ideas that will assure your success."

Your own survival may depend on it - so here are 6 quick steps that will provoke innovative breakthroughs:

1)  Examine problems from as many angles as possible.

2)  Think in metaphors &endash; what does the problem remind you of?

3)  Make your thoughts "visible" by using pictures or drawings to represent them.

4)  Brainstorm possible solutions with a mixed group.  Produce a lot of ideas and then, later, throw out the bad ones.

5)  Unify opposites by looking for patterns between seemingly incompatible ideas; make new and novel connections from old concepts.

6)  Force relationships &endash; take complementary ideas and join them together into larger ideas. 

Creative thinking isn't serendipity &endash; it is hard work.  When I see what the tiniest creatures will do to assure their success I'm thankful they've taken the lead and show us the way.  Now if we'll only pay attention!



One of the recommendations Al Gore makes in his shocking film on global warming is that we persuade others everywhere to see the film.  Another is that we only elect officials who promise to do something about it.  I've written before about how persuading others isn't evident to everyone.  Here's an empowering tool called "Persuasive Thinking" that should help.



If the above-mentioned film makes you wonder what you can do to save the Planet, first recognize that strategic leadership is required.  Strategic thinking isn't a gift reserved for the few, it can be learned by most anyone. 

Check out an exceptional training week in Costa Rica by clicking here.



If my recommendation and see Al Gore's film, you can visit its companion website here.  If you want to do something concrete, start by visiting Earth Share, a network of non-profit organizations who are working to promote environmental education.  You'll find them here.  The Union Of Concerned Scientists gives you the facts from here.

Get the kids involved by letting Tiki the Penguin show them how on this site.  As a picture is worth 1000 words, check out maps and images that show the harm we are causing our world.  Lastly, "The New Scientist" promises to make you an expert in no time &endash; so click here.



"Everyone hears what you say.  Friends listen for what you don't say."  Anon.

"Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control, these three alone lead life to sovereign power." Alfred Lord Tennyson  

"Don't expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong." - Calvin Coolidge

"Leaders must act, and they can do so only in the context of their beliefs. Without values or principles, no one can become a leader. " Max DuPree

"I have learned this at least by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours." - Henry David Thoreau

"The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph." - Thomas Paine



Millennia ago when many men were sorcerers &endash; both good and evil - one of that rank told a fellow he knew and secretly hated that, if he climbed a certain mountain to the top he could jump off onto clouds and ride on them as if on a horse to thus see the entire world.

The man, a kindly but naive and trusting sort, did as the sorcerer suggested and, in truth, was indeed able to travel about on the clouds as if riding a horse.  He visited the whole world in this way and, when he returned, he brought back a map he'd drawn of what he had seen - a world of both men and Gods. 

Specifically did he understand that the world had people who were good and others who were evil, and he noted the differences between them.

As soon as he stepped off the clouds and stepped onto the mountain, he descended to the valley below to see the sorcerer.  There, he explained how wondrous his journey had been, thanking him profusely for the opportunity that he'd been granted and for allowing him to visit so many marvelous places.

The sorcerer was astonished… and then enraged.  For what he had told the man was a vile lie he'd invented for the sole purpose of causing the man's death.  But now, seeing how his malicious tale was an apparent fact, he decided to see the world for himself in this magical fashion.  So he climbed to the mountaintop and when he saw some thick clouds float past below him, he jumped down onto them - but instantly fell through to the valley floor and was bashed into pieces.

That night God - who had created both the mountain and the valley - appeared to the man in a dream and told him: "The sorcerer met with the death that his evil and lies deserved.  Indeed I protected you from harm because you are a good man.  When you believed the sorcerer's tale and leapt off the mountain onto the clouds, I held you up.  And then I showed you the wonders of the world so that you would be a wise man. Now go and tell others that wickedness leads to punishment and good people are protected from evil by no less than the God of the gods."

This is how we've come to know such things and this is why we strive to be good. From the wise men from long ago do we know that the wage of sin is death, and that God rewards good people by protecting them from evil.

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