One Apple A Day #819 – keep showing up

It’s not coming through.
The daily apple this morning, it’s just not coming through.
Yes, I have a few ideas, words and phrases jotted in my notepad.
But nothing clicks this morning.
I tried.
I tried for more than ten minutes.
I pushed through the emptiness and the resistance in my head, I forced my fingers to type something.
Words, sentences.
But they all felt alien to me.
As if the words were not mine.
So I deleted them all in one single stroke.
The screen blank again.
That’s how it works with the Muse.
She’s fickle and doesn’t always show up.
Yet, I’ll keep showing up.
So she knows that when she will be ready, I’ll be ready too.

One Apple A Day #809 – dare to suck

A few days ago, I was scrolling through the stories on Instagram or I was watching a video on youtube, I can’t remember. What I remember is that on my screen started a video about Masterclass, this program in which famous people teach you stuff. Usually, I skip these videos, I consider them a kind of fee I have to pay to enjoy wasting my time on the screen of my smartphone. For some inexplicable reason, this time, I decided to listen to Dan Brown, the famous author of The Da Vinci Code.

To promote his class, he talks about a conversation he had with Steven Tyler, the lead singer of Aerosmith and one of the rock legends from my teenager years. 

So, Tyler said that the band has, or used to have, a weekly ritual called Dare to Suck. At these meetings, each one of the members brings an idea that they think is probably so terrible to be embarrassed only for having it. But they present it to the others anyway. According to Tyler, nine out of ten of those ideas are actually awful. But, here’s the magic, the remaining one becomes a good song, sometimes even great.

That sparked a few thoughts in me.

The first one is that you never know where the inspiration hides. This time it was within a commercial that I would typically skip as quickly as possible.

The second one is that rock bands are an incredible source of creative stories and ideas.

Then there is a third one; I love the Dare to Suck ritual, so I need to find a way to bring it in my work.

Finally, there is an opportunity to learn in everything. As an example, this little story made me want to understand why we used the verb “to suck” with this negative meaning. It’s a long story, and you can read it here. But my favourite explanation is this one from“The early Jazz musicians would say that a guy could really “Blow” if he had a good sound when playing the horn. If he couldn’t play very well, then they would say that he was “Sucking” on that horn.”

One Apple A Day #783 – you never know

You never know where inspiration is hiding.
You never know where the next idea is.
You never know from where that life-changing insight will come.

It can be in that compelling book about personal development that you’re reading right now. Or it can hide within a joke in the last episode of the funny series you watch every day.
It can hit you in the stomach while you’re immersed in a meaningful conversation with a dear friend. Or it can shout at you while you’re skimming through the ads in your local newspaper.
You never know.
That’s why it’s essential to keep our senses open, to stay curious and to pay attention.

One Apple A Day #779 – look for love

On a slow and rainy Sunday morning, I was looking for something to listen while doing some house chores. My dear friend Luca suggested me Simon Sinek’s podcast a while ago, and I thought “why not?”

The podcast, titled “A bit of Optimism”, is a series of conversations between Simon and various guests on different topics. You can find it here.

I went for the episode “Extreme Listening with Deeyah Khan”, and in those 52 minutes, something shifted in my heart. 

Deeyah Khan is a Muslim woman who spent a lot of time with white supremacists and made the documentary “White Right: Meeting the Enemy“. 

There are so much wisdom and inspiration packed in this conversation that I can’t sum it up in a post. But there’s one important take away that I’d like to share.

In such a divisive time, I’m often wondering what can I do or say to help at least reducing the distances. Simon and Deeyah help me understand that I don’t have to say anything. 

I need to listen more and better.

I need to listen to others with “the sincere desire to understand the things that they love.

Active listening is a quest for love.

One Apple A Day #778 – remember your creative power

A few days ago, we lost Sir Ken Robinson, a unique and inspiring human being. His TED talk “Do schools kill creativity?” is just amazing. No surprise it’s the most-watched of all TED talks. And despite being from 2006, it’s still so relevant. 

We’re all born with deep natural capacities for creativity“. The core of his message has been one of the pillars of my work and life. We all are creative. It is within us. Creativity is what makes us thrive where we were children. Unfortunately, over the years at schools and work, we cover this natural capability with layers of stuff. Until we forget how creative we are and convince ourselves that we’re not creative at all.

To awaken our creative power, we just need to remember who we are and become more of it.

But where do we start?

Here’s a bit of advice from Sir Ken Robinson himself.

“Starts with imagination. It’s the most extraordinary set of powers that we take for granted: the ability to bring into mind the things that aren’t present. It’s why we are so different from the rest of life on earth. That’s why we’re sitting in a beautiful building, drinking from these cups. Because human beings make things. We create things. We don’t live in the world directly; we live in a world of ideas and of concepts and theories and ideologies.”

To learn more about Sir Ken Robinson:

“Do schools kill creativity?” his famous TED talk.

The official website, with plenty of resources.