Give and Take Reflections

Developing greater comfort and skill with powerless communication requires a change in habits – from talking to listening, self-promoting to advice seeking, and advocating to inquiring. Adam M. Grant, Ph. D. and author of Give And Take

Can I shift communications from answers to questions? Can I challenge myself to listen more and speak less? Can I continue to give for the sake of giving, not because of expectations or reciprocity? Can I always give credit when due? These are all questions I pondered as I dived into the art of giving, which clearly benefits individuals, groups, and organizations.

Reading and exploring the principles that Grant proposes in Give and Take, conjured up emotions I don’t usually experience while reading a business book. I found myself celebrating the likes of President Abraham Lincoln, professor C.J. Skender, and comedian George Meyer of The Simpsons fame. The examples of their lives and other givers helped me truly understand the importance of network, building great relationships, and continuing the giving nature of my soul. And at the turn of a page, I found myself getting angry with architect Frank Lloyd Wright and Jonas Salk, the international hero and inventor of the Polio vaccine. As it turns out Wright and Salk are what is known as takers. Salk gave no credit to the six researchers in his lab who were major contributors to the Polio vaccine – Byron Bennett, Percival Bazeley, L. James Lewis, Julius Youngner, Elsie Ward, and Francis Yurochko and Wright gave no credit to the teams of people who made his great works possible.

From frustration to fascination, I found myself wanting to operate from a giver mind-set in all of my actions. I believe in our ability to create our styles as artists and leaders, that we can also create giver identities and values for increased impact on the lives of both ourselves and our world.

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Creativity and the Digital Age

Reflections Inspired by Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit

“The artist is a receptacle for the emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spiders web.” – Pablo Picasso

Twyla Tharp walks into a white room to begin her process of art; I’m face to face with a keyboard and white space of the chapter of a new book I’ll create in 2014. Anxiety sets in. The first time I read Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit was back in 2004. My brother Ron and I like to share meaningful and inspirational books, he shared her inspiration with me. We write our thoughts in the margins with different colored ink pens, pass it onto the other to read and make comments, then pass back. Receiving the reading list, I instantly downloaded the iPad® eBook version, yet I couldn’t get past page eleven on my electronic copy. It felt so cold and uninviting because it was missing the color and creative typography of the original printed copy. My muscle memory kept triggering my mind. I wanted to know what we each thought was important nearly a decade ago and discover how things may have changed. Did I learn it and use it for life?

As I consider that question, I realize the irony of what is happening. As soon as technology caught up with my imagination of being able to add photo galleries and videos to books, I became a publisher on the iBookstore®. It’s the eve of another release of one of my eBooks and I still find myself torn between the paper of yesterday and the technology of the future. The Texas bookless library made international news. Yet in the end, I realize no matter your preference, the story remains the same, the creative life must combine passion and skill. This is a great reminder from Twyla and whether book or eBook, chapter 9 has been bookmarked!

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
― Harold Whitman