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More thoughts on boredom, creativity, and technology

John's reflections, Storytelling Leave a comment

I finished the previous post wondering whether the “always on” devices that power our worlds, and that make modern life so convenient, are not simultaneously diminishing our ability to come up with new ideas. If we spend so little time “unconnected”, if we are never bored anymore, will we lose the capacity and the inclination to explore our own minds? What is the impact of modern technology on our individual—and collective—creativity and imagination? A quick bit of research led me to the realization that, in a generic sense, these are not particularly new questions. The concept that something is gained—and at the same time something lost—through technological progress predates the … Continue reading

Can boredom really stimulate creativity?

John's reflections, Leadership in the news, Leading by autobiography, Storytelling, Storytelling and marketing Leave a comment

  As I wrote briefly last week, I was fascinated by a concept I discovered recently in an in-flight magazine: that boredom and creativity may be connected. In fact, I had long considered boredom to be quite a sorry state, the sign of a lazy mind, and a condition to be avoided.   With my new perspective—that boredom may be a indeed have a positive effect by stimulating our thinking—I did a few searches for quotes and thoughts on the subject. And, it turns out that boredom has long been an under-appreciated emotional state, one that gets almost universal bad press, not only today but also through the ages. For … Continue reading

Reflecting on boredom

authenticity, leadership, Leadership in the news, Leading by autobiography, Storytelling Leave a comment

A funny thing happened to me this week on a flight from Detroit to Amsterdam. We were all set to go, the cabin door had been closed, all electronic devices were turned off for takeoff, and then the captain announced a “small technical delay” of 15-20 minutes. Perhaps because of considerable prior experience with such events, I tend to get a bit concerned that one delay might lead to another, and that each one will take a bit more time than anticipated.    In this particular case, our 30 minute wait for the technical repair engendered the need to de-ice the aircraft a second time. We waited for the de-icing … Continue reading

Reflecting on reflection, and creativity

authenticity, John's reflections, Uncategorized Leave a comment

These past 10 days, I have been on the road in Miami and Boston, a bit too busy to write a blog, but I wanted to post something short nonetheless. In fact, I have been thinking a lot recently about two of my favorite topics: creativity and reflection. And, I am more and more convinced that the two are connected. When I read about the most creative, inventive and productive people throughout history, I note an interesting phenomenon: Many of them have unique and unusual routines or practices, but they all seem to need significant blocks of undistracted, reflective time.  Here are some examples: Inventor Thomas Edison used to sit in … Continue reading

Reflections on talent and character

leadership, Leadership in the news, Leading by autobiography, Storytelling 1 Comment

  Sometimes, when I go on a speaking tour, I can get a bit tired from talking and doing interviews all day. Since the hotels where I stay often have television from around the world, and since I rarely watch television at home, at times I simply relax in the evening by flipping through the stations, finding interesting stories and listening to the different languages.  One such evening last November, I came across a French news channel that was playing a conversation between a reporter and former national soccer team star Marcel Desailly. To explain something of the context of the interview, the French national team was in crisis, struggling … Continue reading

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