Public Speaking

    The Invisible Elephant of Non-Self-Expression

    funkyelephantLate Night Dream Anxiety Re: Self-Expression

    I had a dream last night about self-expression. I dreamed about writing a blog post.

    I wish I could recall exactly what I wrote in my dreams. The gist of the dream had to do with how pervasive a concept the lack of self-expression is in our lives — so much so that we usually ignore it. The elephant in the creativity and innovation room is a lack of full self-expression. The elephant in the dream — me — was trying to make itself known to an amorphous group in a meeting. I tried to speak but nobody heard my voice.

    I blew that elephant trumpet and nobody heard.

    I think the point of the dream was this: if you have no awareness of how you are being self-expressed you risk having it hamper your effectiveness. If you are not self-expressed you risk losing your creative voice.

    You lose your creative voice, you lose a creative life.

    Creativity and self-expression are tied together at the hip. Creative acts spring from the fire of self-expression. But it’s a delicately stoked fire. The ever-present litany of self-criticism, and, the criticism and expectations of others throw cold water on that fire of self-expression. Those negative voices stifle your voice, and queer your motivation to create.

    A friend of mine recently had an amazing experience. I was certain he would write and speak about it (he’s a professional speaker). Yet, that’s now in doubt because so many others, with their own agenda’s, are  shutting him down. They have advised him to remain mute. His own confidence, to this point, is not enough to over-ride the wave and as a result we, his audience, may never hear a very interesting and valuable story. If I could pull him aside I’d say to him “don’t let anyone take your voice, don’t let anyone squash your story. It’s your story!”

    Sometimes you need to let people be responsible for themselves — and not you. Allowing others to control your self-expression changes the narrative of your life. Others often warn you of  boogeyman in the bushes — and looking over your shoulder is no way to walk down the road of life. Not speaking up and telling your story is a sin.  Expressing yourself and speaking your truth — on whatever topic — is where full self-expression starts. Shutting up and hoping that by not being noisy the boogeyman will stay away is living a life of fear.

    Speak your truth, out loud. Those who would shout you down should be ignored. Sure, listen to advice, but if it’s stopping you from doing something creative, something positive for you, watch out. Advice is often about the comfort zone of others. Others often like the pigeon hole they’ve put you in and any attempt to go elsewhere is threatening to them.

    That’s their problem. Do your thing. Whatever your preferred form of self-expression may be. I know it’s easier said than done, but folks, you’re not getting any younger.

    Those of us living in the “free world” should be thankful that we have the right to self-expression in its many forms. Don’t take for granted your right to write, speak, draw, dance, doodle, paint, debate, discuss, and jam. There are societies in this world that will literally kill you for expressing yourself. Or imprison you. I’m proud that in the USA, for all our many faults, generally a person can shout that the king has no clothes, and can then continue life in all the normal ways. Proud also that an eccentric that hurts nobody is given the latitude to be themselves (this is a very good thing for me!)

    Of course, speaking your truth is not an excuse to harm others, or put others in harms way. Self-expression is not about attacks or irresponsible rhetoric.

    It’s about creating something.

    It’s time to acknowledge the elephant of non-self-expression in the room, even if it’s only in your head.

    Work each day to be fully self-expressed. Start today.

     

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    FAQ Re: Dr. Alan Black

    Greetings from gray and chilly Three Oaks, Michigan. As gloomy as it is, I’m grateful to be here and free. Freedom is not something we should take for granted. Later this morning I’ll take a walk outside around my pond and say prayers for my friend Alan Black. I might take a photograph. When he’s released I hope he’ll come visit me here so we can enjoy a walk outside together — and photograph whatever catches our eye. Below is the latest information from Friends of Alan Black. The FAQ pretty much says it all. Much of this has been covered in news reports, but FAB thought it would be helpful to put all the facts into one document. Alan’s

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    Help Detained USA Citizen In Abu Dhabi

    This is a departure for this blog. While there is a direct connection to creativity and innovation it is essentially a press release written by concerned leaders in the creativity and innovation international community. One of our own, Dr. Robert Alan Black, has been detained in Abu Dhabi. The details are below. My request is that if you are so moved, please contact the offices of your elected officials. USA citizens can find contact information here.  Press Release For Immediate Release Contact:                     Rosemary Rein Phone number:       239-910-3354 Email:                         rosemaryrein@rosemaryrein.com   American Creativity Expert Detained In Abu Dhabi Friday October 31, 2014 – Athens, Georgia. Dr. Robert Alan Black, an Athens resident, is being held in Al Wathba prison in

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    Five Ways to Gain Story Fluency

    Story Fluency and Innovation Every time I blink these days I see another article on story. It’s something of a too popular buzzfad, but for good reason. Clearly, story is important in many aspects of marketing, communication, and innovation. The current literature tends to focus on understanding story, and, aligning a story with a brand, or an organization. There is also the related trend of story telling, ala The Moth. I’ve been involved this last year with a similar regional group, Indigan Storyteller here in Michiana, and its been a transformative experience. I’ve written a business novel (Jack’s Notebook) and I can tell you this, I’m still learning to create and tell stories. Story is a saw we can all sharpen. What doesn’t

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    Have You Made the Creative Choice?

    Have you made the Creative Choice? There is a ton of written material about creativity and innovation. I make an effort to keep up with the waves of literature — there’s a new methodology, a new process, fresh brain research, best practices, anti-best practices, etc. Some of this literature is quite good. There is also stuff about how creativity relates to mysticism and spirituality, also quite interesting. Finally there is also a good deal of useless, boring drivel that only reinforces unhelpful mythology about creativity. If you intend to be more creative and to use that capacity to innovate, I would encourage you to read widely and make your own judgments, but don’t get lost in all the words, don’t

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    Take Advantage — Innovate More for Less

    I’ve done 385 general interest creativity and innovation posts in the last few years. This post is different — it contains a commercial offer — albeit a fairly innovative one. If you’re not interested please ignore this post. Here’s the offer – I’ve decided to double the value I provide to my customers by offering a good old fashioned two-for-one deal. Why? I want to generate more buzz about my service offerings. To generate more buzz I want the perception of my value to be exceptional. So exceptional that people will talk , tweet, and refer. There is no sleight of hand here, I’ll be working twice for one fee. For both services delivered I won’t be cutting preparation time or the customization I

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    Ted Nugent Lacks Creativity

    The Golden Triangle of Inanity I’ve resisted the urge to write an enraged post about the inflammatory comments made in recent weeks by Ted Nuget, Sarah Palin, and Duck Dynasty guy, Phil Robertson. I call them The Golden Triangle of Inanity (GTA). Many writers and observers have responded to their words in kind, so, I guess that base is covered. I had the notion to take Ted Nugent’s recent statement (called Obama a “subhuman mongrel”) on word for word, and then I thought, it’s not worth the energy. Why spread around even more negativity? Suffice to say I think the recent statements of the GTA are crass, ignorant, and grossly inappropriate. If you believe that these celebrities are speaking out

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    Building Bridges in Oklahoma

    Briefly noted: Registration is open for the fourth annual State of Creativity Forum. The main day is Tuesday, November 19th. It’s in Oklahoma City — but make no mistake — this is now an international event. This conference is 1000+ people from all parts of the country and around the world. It has a strong speakers list, a vibrant exhibit hall, and a palpable energy. The theme this year is Building Bridges, and it is an apt one for a diverse state like Oklahoma. Also apt in that it’s always a challenge to bridge the gap between creative people and productive innovation. This kind of conference is a great way to cross that chasm. It’s still a very affordable price

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    Luke Williams at World Innovation Forum (a review)

    The following is a review of Luke Williams talk at the recent World Innovation Forum. Roving reporter and colleague Dr. Orin Davis gives Luke high marks as both a speaker/entertainer, AND as an innovation expert, high praise indeed. I’d not heard of Luke Williams, apparently he’s a fellow at Frog Design, an author, and a professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business. I’m putting his “Disrupt” on my reading list. Here’s Orin’s report: ************** Disrupt Yourself!  Luke Williams at the World Innovation Forum by Orin Davis, Phd I note in jest that what Luke Williams primarily proved at his WIF talk is that showing pictures of babies doing really cute things, like trying to dance to Beyoncé’s “All the Single Ladies,” gets

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    Innovating Congress: Elect Intelligence & Competence

    As the on-going battle between parties in the congress winds on, it occurs to me that USA citizens might want to change how and why they vote for a representative. We’ve got it wrong. We voted for Gridlock! Representatives in a republic are not supposed to “do your bidding.” No, they’re supposed to Think and Act For You. When you elect someone to vote a specific way on a specific issue what you’re doing is closing down creativity, opportunity, and solutions. It’s the opposite of innovative. Let’s ignore party entirely. How about if we vote for intelligence, competency, and effectiveness? Let’s ignore specific positions on one issue. Let’s be more holistic, and, let’s vote for people who really know something. I

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