Sunday, March 1, 2009

My Year of Hopefulness - Creative Confidence

"I really do believe I was put on the planet to help people have creative confidence. I don't have 27 agendas. I'm not the sustainability guy, or the developing-world guy. My contribution is to teach as many people as I can to use both sides of their brain, so that for every problem, every decision in their lives, they consider creative as well as analytical solutions."
~ David Kelley, founder of IDEO

David Kelley is one of my creative idols. He forges ahead so confidently not only with faith in his own creativity; he also has great faith in the creativity of others. There are a lot of people out in the world who think of themselves as "idea people" or "great strategic thinkers". What's so inspiring about David Kelley is that he believes all people are creative, that we are all strategic thinkers. His goal is to help us make the most of the creativity that we have, and integrate our creativity with out others skills and interests.

There was a great profile of him in Fast Company in January. He could have toiled away as a mildly successful corporate cubicle worker. For some people, that's the life they want because it helps them live a good life with plenty of energy left for their families, hobbies, outside interests. Their work isn't their life and they found a way to make that lifestyle work for them. David wasn't happy in that role and he wanted to create a career that was different than the typical path of many people who work in large corporations.

My point is that we must consider what's most important to us in order to figure out how best to construct our lives. Is it our work? Our families, friends, hobbies. Do we just want to have time to take advantage of opportunities that come our way. And all of these answers, any of these answers, are correct. The meaning we imbue on our lives, and the priorities we set are our business, not anyone else's.

I appreciate that David says he doesn't have 27 agendas - he just has one, clear concise agenda. He might have a number of ways to push it forward, though he really just has one goal: "teach as many people as I can to use both sides of their brain." What if we could all figure out exactly what our lives are about, state it in one clean sentence, and then relate everything we do back to that focus? Would that lead us to greater happiness and fulfillment? It's worth a shot.

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