On Beach Walk #64 (Creativity)

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I like walking the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Creativity is a powerful word – so are related words create and creative. These words of similar meaning, but create is the verb, creativity the noun, and creative the adjective – but today I think of these words as a collective.

My first thought is about those creative with their hands – sowers, quilters, crafters, 3-dimensional artists as potters, sculptures, and others. Definitely not my strength, but these are skills that can be learned.

To some, creative people can draw and paint. Whereas some seem to be naturally gifted with this skill, but nope again, not my strength.

I think of an art teacher who once told me that anyone can learn to draw because there are four things to do – draw straight lines, draw curved lines, establish the proper proportions between them along with the correct angles. His words opened the world of drawing to me because I could now see the world through a different lens – a world that I did not know.

Did that improve my creativity? Oh yes, but I still don’t draw well because I didn’t practice, yet, there are times I look at something in terms of straight lines, curves, proportions, and angles – and yes – I see them!

One aspect of creativity is being able to think outside the box. A different way that others don’t. Now that I can do. Some see the solution as choice A, B, or a compromise of the two. The creative thinkers are the ones that find a new solution beyond those choices.

An architect told me that he has to have at least one architect in his office that is creative in his designs. Not necessarily abstract or modernistic looking – but one who finds a creative solution that meets the client’s wants and needs. A skill that not all architects have. But for those who have visited La Sagrada in Barcelona, Spain, Gaudi’s creativity is unique.

Sometimes architects are ahead of their time – but as time moves on, those designs transition into the mainstream. In some cases, even out of date.

Design engineers have to think ahead about future generations of their product. That would be true for a vacuum cleaner – but also for complex equipment as a jet engine. Creativity is an essential ingredient in innovation and improvement.

For scientists as Albert Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton, and countless others, they thought outside of the box to develop their laws and theories. In general, physicists have a knack for creative forward thinking.

Trade workers as carpenters and plumbers are always problem solving. They face problems on a daily basis requiring a creative solution – and they seem to do it.

The creativity of musicians is impressive. Mozart’s composed music with many notes that can be too busy for some to hear. Think about how many types, styles, and genres of music humanity has created through the creativity of creative musicians.

Creativity is also a gift for writers and poets. A creativity they share through the novels, short stories, poems, and more.

Let us not forget nature’s creativity. It’s changing shapes and designs to optimize efficiency. The designs in shapes and colors seen in the shells on the beach that I walk. The creative ways different organisms capture food. After all, not all beaks and bills of birds are the same because they are specialized for different purposes. Yes, nature’s creativity at work.

All of us have a creative side – but do we use it? Do we develop it? Do we recognize the creativity of others?

Unlike the beach that I walk, creativity has no boundaries. Nonetheless, I enjoy walking the beach because it is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On Shopping Carts

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This post is about a cart, basket, buggy, trolley, carriage, trundler, barrae, coohudder, bascart, and wagon – and all of these may be preceded by grocery, shopping, and supermarket. For me, it’s a grocery cart. Then again (in my mind), the same cart in a different store could be a shopping cart or just a cart.

Long-time readers here know that I enjoy playing golf. While golf carts have a different application than carts at the grocery, I enjoy this 30-second commercial from the past that combines those two thoughts.

 

Back at the store and regardless of terminology, grocery carts haven’t been around forever. Sylvan Goldman, a Oklahoma City grocery owner, invented this wheeled apparatus in 1937. Before then, shoppers used a hand-carrying basket. Goldman’s idea had a simple purpose – allow shoppers to buy more! Have you noticed a grocery cart looks like a big basket (without handles) on wheels?

Having gone through various design changes since Goldman’s first edition, carts during my youth were the basically same from store to store (well, other than the feature identifying the store). Through the years, their size has increased to reinforce the belief that size matters. On one hand, this is a contradiction because people eat outside the home more.

On the other hand, today’s grocery stores are larger, offer more products, and some include clothing, home goods, hardware, sporting goods, and lawn & garden. Therefore the cart must be large enough to contain canned vegetables, milk, cereal, pasta, a toaster oven, a laundry hamper, package of underwear, a set of socket wrenches, a flower pot, an ornamental shrub, and a bag of mulch.

Through the years, I’ve been the primary grocery shopper in our home – so, I notice shopper behaviors as well as their carts. Store aisles are typically wide enough for two carts to carefully pass – but not much more. After all, stores must maximize space for stuff to buy!

Given the tight quarters, I’ve consider the idea that shoppers should pass a grocery cart operating test before being allowed to use one. For instance, shoppers should never stop the cart on one side of the aisle, and then stand beside the cart while analyzing shelf products on the opposite side. Never block an aisle. Never!

From Wikipedia

I’ve often thought that grocery should hire plain-clothed cart police to issue citations for poor cart management. Then again, that would be effective only if all stores participated with equal scrutiny. Other times I wonder if I should carry a prod to shock people for improper cart management. Clear the aisle, here comes the crazy man with the stick!

As I think about my primary grocery store, they offer full-sized carts, mini-carts (for shoppers with a short list), and two sizes of hand-carrying baskets. Battery-operated riding carts for elderly and the disabled are a great addition – but should operators be subject to standards by passing a test or attending a class?

Sean Dreilinger via Flickr Creative Commons

Oh wait – there are more carts! How about the carts the size of a stretched limo because they have a car attached to the front so a kid can ride while the parent shops. Of course, this is done to entertain the child so they don’t disrupt other shoppers with loud squalls. However, ever notice how much space those thing require to turn the corner from one aisle to the next?

If the limos aren’t bad enough, how about he miniature carts for a kid to push around. Beyond the “how cute” aspect, what the hell do they know about cart etiquette? Then again – the price we pay for another squalling-prevention technique.

Unfortunately, stores won’t require a shopping cart operating license – nor hire a team of undercover shopping cart gestapo – and I won’t be taking a shocking device with me to the store. But, at least I got this heavy burden off my chest – not that my message will do any good for society because two past posts (one and two) about grocery carts and shoppers didn’t change behaviors.

On the positive side, grocery carts can be a source of amusement – as Exhibit A below shows.

On a Beach Walk: No. 37

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I like walking the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Summer is primetime along the Alabama coast followed by spring and fall. Its winters do not provide the regular warmth and sun of central and south Florida – but it is warmer than home in Cincinnati – or the homes of visitors from Missouri, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, the Dakotas, Canada, and the rest of Ohio.

Occupancy is comparatively low – but that also means reasonable rates – a month in the winter for about the same as a week during primetime – plus warmer temperatures than home.

People aren’t as plentiful – and the vast majority are retirees migrating to the south as snowbirds. Some younger faces join the mix on weekends.

As we walk, people pass by. Most offer at least a nod or a smile to acknowledge our presence. Some even add a verbal salutation.

People display identifications by hats and shirts may spark conversations – signs identifying homes, places visited, colleges, or sports loyalties. Other Cincinnatians spotting my University of Cincinnati hat identified themselves. As did other Ohioans and others from rival schools.

Many times when passing fisherman monitoring their poles, I would ask about their catches of the day. Most are willing to talk about their craft. I am not a fisherman, but we would watch with anticipation as they reel in their catch.

No matter where we are, each of the people we pass everyday has a story. Each person is walking history of joys and sadness, successes and failures, pride and shame, and more. They include the tall and the short; the old and the young; the successful and the not so; the caring and the selfish; the thinkers, dreamers, doers and so much more.

Today I think about the different people I pass on any given day. People – the plurality of persons. People – the individuals who make up humanity. Yes, it takes every kind of people to make the world go around. Even though people are complex, thinking about them is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On Respect

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On 2nd October I did a post On Respect, one that I featured a 5-minute speech by a USAF Lt. General. Reactions to the post were positive in many ways with several comments mentioning that respect starts at the top.

Yes – respect starts at the top of each family teaching others the meaning of respect while modeling respectful behaviors.

Yes – respect starts at the top in every school classroom with its teacher leading the way.

Yes – respect starts at the top in every school building with its principal dealing with the staff and students.

Yes – respect starts at the top in every school district with top leadership in their dealing with the district staff and the community it serves.

Yes – respect starts at the top of every group, department, section, division, and headquarter of every corporation across the world.

Yes – respect starts at the top of every customer service organization as it deals with the public it serves.

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Yes – respect starts at the top of every local, state, and national government entity on how it deals with its constituents and opponents.

Yes – respects at the top, and President Trump displays more disrespect than any American leader in my lifetime. He’s a pathetic role model, but he is not a reason to disrespect nor he is the cause of disrespect.

Yes – respect starts at the top for individuals in every human encounter regardless of background, position, gender, ethnicity, age, religion, skin color, and more.

Yes – respect starts at the top when one says Respect your elders – but that doesn’t give the elders the right to disrespect – nor does elder status command automatic respect.

Yes – respect starts at the top of every human encounter – but “the customer is always right” doesn’t mean the customer can be disrespectful to customer service employees.

Yes – respect starts at the top – but there are many tops, and each of us are top in many situations.

Yes – respect starts at the top – and each of us are at the top – Respect starts with yourself, then one can respect others.

Yes – respect start at the top of each individual – in the head containing a brain – the center of all choices each person makes in personal and cyber encounters.

A person is a person – no matter how small. (Dr. Seuss)

On the aFa U.N.

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I have written the following words on these pages on more than one occasion – The majority of the world is good.

I believe it. Even though the daily news across the world challenges that thought, I still believe it.

Think of all the conflicts across the globe centering on race, gender, religion, and ethnicity … yet, I still believe that the majority of the world is good.

Think of the areas with armed conflicts at the moment: Syria, Afghanistan, Cameroon, Iraq, Niger, Chad, Sudan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Mexico, Ukraine, Central African Republic, Yemen, Myanmar, Burundi, and more … yet, I still believe that the majority of the world is good.

Think of the current challenges between groups as Sunnis and Shiites, Christians and non-Christians, Catholics and Protestants, Whites and Blacks, Males and Females, Democrats and Republicans, Liberals and Conservatives, the rich and the poor, and more … yet, I still believe that the majority of the world is good.

Many, if not all, of the conflicts above center on power, greed, selfishness and getting people to conform to the ideals of others … yet, I still believe that the majority of the world is good.

My belief in humanity because of the interactions that I’ve encountered. I think of my dance friends from Vietnam, Lebanon, China, Guatemala, Romania, Ukraine, and the United States. They ground my hope in humanity and that the majority of the world is good.

I think of my English Second Language (ESL) students that I help from China, Mexico, Guatemala, Syria, Senegal, Italy, Palestine, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Vietnam, France, Poland, Kuwait, Germany, Japan, Mauritania, Russia, and the United States. They strengthen my hope in humanity and that the majority of the world is good.

I think of the many bloggers who have participated on these pages from Canada, UK, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, Sweden, South Africa, Argentina, Malaysia, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Italy, India, Philippines, Indonesia, Finland, Norway, France, Lithuania, Ecuador, Pakistan, Ireland, United States, and others. They help fortify my hope in humanity and that the majority of the world is good.

I think of the many nice people I’ve encountered in Italy, Spain, Sweden, Germany, Netherlands, Estonia, Finland, Russia, Portugal, Canada, Croatia, various Caribbean islands, and across the United States. They reinforce my hope in humanity and that the majority of the world is good.

It’s all these people demonstrate the goodness of humanity … and it’s these people who would make a wonderful United Nations.

On Exploring a Duet

Duet …
… two working together working together as one
… a pair performers working in concert with one another
… a duo, twosome, match, dyad, a couple a pair

There has to be chemistry in a duet, but if you go beyond the point of friendship and attraction, you lose something. (Kenny Rogers, entertainer)

To sing a duet together means sharing with someone both the pleasure and the responsibility of making music for an audience which is there to feel enjoyment through music. (Andrea Bocelli, singer)

Our mind is capable of passing beyond the dividing line we have drawn for it. Beyond the pairs of opposites of which the world consists, other, new insights begin. (Hermann Hesse, novelist)

Marriage should be a duet – when one sings, the other claps. (Joe Murray, artist)

Enjoy this animation by Glen Keane with this question in mind: What meaning do you apply to this Duet?

On the Most Beautiful Species

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Sunrise, sunsets, rock formations, the star-filled sky, a brilliant moon, a blooming meadow is a valley surrounded by mountains, and much more … Natural beauty is all around us.

Beauty within the living world is easy to find – rainforests, coral reefs, grasslands, deserts, marshes, under the water’s surface, in a cave, around the house, in the soil, many more places – let alone in the microscopic world.

Because beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, some find their ultimate beauty in flowers ranging from exotic orchids to a wide variety of houseplants. Others find the ultimate biological beauty in the wild animals of Africa, in the colorful fishes in the warm ocean waters, or in our domestic pets. Bloggers as Bulldog, Cathy, Cindy, Nia, Robin, Suzanne, and many more wonderfully capture this beauty.

Yet, at least to me, the most beautiful species is hidden among us – masked in selfishness, horror, ego, and deceit – thus I present three reasons supporting my surprise nomination of the most beautiful biological species – Homo sapiens – humans.

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Do you think the markings on every peregrine falcon are exactly the same?

Variation within a species is an important aspect of evolutionary success. Look at the spectrum of variations with some external human traits as skin color, hair color, – let alone ranges of straight to curly plus the hairstyle of individual choice – Add eye color, height, body shape, lips, then toss in personalities and abilities – there’s something for everybody, thus humans display beauty in so many ways!

Most, if not all, organisms have variations. the beautiful cheetahs don’t have many variations, thus one of the reasons they are in biological trouble. One may think all the leaves on a certain type of tree are the some, but they aren’t. One may think all the spots on the underbelly of a specific bird are the same and in the exact same pattern, position, and number – but they probably aren’t. Variation within a species is important, and the range within humans is extraordinary.

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The second aspect of the most beautiful species is the human brain, which allows a great range of communication, individuality, creativity, problem solving, culture, learning, and more. While we can easily criticize the choice many make from the result of having the most complex neural masses in the biological community, humans demonstrates the greatest range of creativity – and much of it relates to human ability to problem solve.

Think about the questions and decisions one encounters every day. Consider all the material items we contact every minute of every day in every year – and all these manufactured products have a story centered around problem solving.

Think about all the ways we communicate – facial expressions, mathematical, written, visual, musical, and oral – let alone in so many languages. Look at all the styles in the visual arts – after all, the visual arts are communicating, thus touching us in different ways.

The arts with all its styles and media are a story in itself. The painting world alone is huge. Toss in music, literature, pottery, sculptures, jewelry, photography, and many others – no wonder I proclaim the arts as the ultimate expression of human creativity.

In order to accomplish what we can, humans must be capable of learning – and the capacity for the human brain to learn is overwhelming – then alone the ability to apply the learning to a problem solving and/or creative situation. Human learning is a story in itself, yet as a species, I wonder if there are limits to learning besides the self-imposed and the impaired.

Although some human behavior is instinctive, human learn behaviors (good and bad), and have the ability to learn new ones (good and bad) – and each of us are a collection of behaviors that gives us our own individuality. Thus, one of the challenges of being human is the ability to deal with so many personalities.

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There is no question that today’s world has it share of human-created issues that are based in culture – but culture is the last reason for humans being the most beautiful biological species. Culture is a set of shared, learned behaviors, and beliefs that are passed on from one generation to the next. (Thanks BSCS) (A culture post from the aFa archives)  There are many aspects to culture: dress, dance, food, language, art, religion, behaviors, holidays – well, only to name a few.

While leading a training session in Boston years ago, I encountered a participant who embraced her heritage with her clothes. The colors, the patterns, and the design were so stunning, each day I looked forward in anticipation to seeing her attire. What beauty! Whether from someone sharing photos from their travels or daily surroundings, I see similar beauty through images on blogs as with the lady in Boston.

Given the variations within the humans species, the human brain, and human culture, there is no doubt that humans are the most beautiful species on this planet. Yes, it depends how one defines beauty – let alone their perspective. Yes, variation within a species is common throughout the biological world. Yes, other organisms communicate, problem solve, and have societies – but no other organism does it to the level of humans … and yes, we have a tendency to deny our own good because of the negatives in today’s world.