Mindful Mimi's blog has moved!

You will be automatically redirected to the new address. If that does not occur, visit
and update your bookmarks.

The right color for creativity

>> 30 January 2011

I recently did a search on what color represents creativity.

Blue, yellow, purple, green....

Noone seems to agree even though blue and yellow seem to be most prominent.

Sciencedaily says it depends on the task.

What they all agree on though, is that color is important, influences us, our perceptions and our moods.

Now, if you want to increase creativity, you probably can't go ahead and paint your office like a Swedish flag (unless you work for Ikea).

But how can you surround yourself with color that inspires you?
  • put a blue screen saver on your pc
  • hang up a poster of van Gogh's Starry Night
  • order blue (or green or...) binders (instead of gray or white ones)
  • get colored post-it notes
  • put some removable colorful stickers on your wall or window
  • go for a walk under the blue sky
  • Cover your walls in ideapaint and doodle away

How do you put color in your life?

The color wheel: from primary over monochromatic to neutral - all in one place
Color matters: extensive site all about color


How a 4 year old solves the dead birds mystery

>> 26 January 2011

Do you remember the dead birds that fell from the skies in the US and Europe recently?

We never really heard what exactly the reason was for them falling from the sky all together at the same time, did we?

Well, my 4 year old has a few solutions for you:

  1. The wind blew them onto the ground.
    Makes sense. Was my first kind of rational thought too. Big storm, birds get caught and whisked back to earth.
  2. It was raining so hard, it rained them on the ground.
    Yeah, not bad. In the same line of bad weather phenomena. Plus rain makes their wings wet and heavy. In this case it was not raining cats and dogs, but birds...
  3. The flew against a tree. No no, a signpost.
    Right. I had come up with the odd obstacle as well like airplanes and such. Must have been a lot of signposts around that area in Arkansas!
  4. It rained and they opened their mouths -birds have beaks dear- ...beaks, drank too much rain and got sick.
    Mmmh. Now we're getting creative! Acid rain. I guess that could kill a bird or two.

Now acid rain is more of a deposition than rain really. So I guess they must have flown in that rain for a very long time to be affected in a way to make them drop to earth.

However, the principal natural phenomena that contribute acid-producing gases to the atmosphere are emissions from volcanoes.

So maybe those birds have been hovering too long above Eyjafjallajökull recently. And here is how my son solved that problem.

In the same series:
How a 4 year old solves the Greek debt crisis


How switching off the TV makes you more creative

>> 23 January 2011

How much time do you spend in front of the TV?

Honestly. Give me a number if you can...
One movie a night?
That's 1,5-2 hours times 7...

Not that bad you say.

Well, statistics say that if you live in the US or the UK, you spend 28 hours per week in front of the screen.

You're doing a little better if you live elsewhere.


That's more than 3 whole work days!

Wow! Just think about what you get DONE in 3 work days! And that's at WORK!

This is your free time we're talking about!

You're giving it away willingly to the most mind-killing medium that exists.

  • TV gives you emotionally charged images
  • TV presents over simplified solutions
  • TV chews thoughts for you
  • TV is dulling
And dull is the end of creativity.

I am not saying all TV is bad - there are some good educational and informative documentaries, and I like a good movie from time to time. But every night?


Skip television one evening per week. If that's hard, pick the day of the week where you always complain that nothing is on...

Make a list of (fun, creative) things you can do instead (i.e. don't put 'ironing' on there):
  • Write a letter to a friend (not a Facebook message or an email, a real handwritten letter)
  • Go for a walk instead (you'll be amazed at how the world looks when it's dark and empty)
  • Talk to your partner: pick a theme a week (and it can't be topics like the groceries or the kids)
  • Learn something new: take a class or pick a new word in the dictionary and find uses for it
  • Start a blog
  • Make a dinner plan for the week
  • Meditate
  • Be bored: lie on your couch and do nothing. Think, look around you, listen.
  • Got to bed early. Very healthy!
Can you come up with more?

See how you're doing after 2 weeks.

Increase to 2 nights a week of television freeness!


11 ways to get the best out of your coach

>> 19 January 2011

Have you ever had a coach?

  • the trainer you had in high school
  • the consultant they paid when you were laid off
  • the fitness coach you decided to hire to loose those pounds
  • the life coach you felt you needed to get through mid life
We have all had a coach in our life at some point.
Sometimes we chose them, sometimes they were thrust upon us... for better or for worse. Often for worse.

Here are a few tips to make your next coaching experience a success:
  • it goes without saying that the points outlined below need to be agreed and provided by BOTH you and your coach!
  • For easier writing, I have used a female coach in my points below. Please feel free to replace by male attributes.
  1. Commitment:
    You need to be committed to the goals that you have defined together.  So before you get a coach, try to get some clarity on what it is that you want. This will avoid loosing anyone's time. When you're ready to go, make sure you check out your coach through website, testimonials, etc.
  2. Time:
    Being coached takes time. Depending on the goal(s) you set, you need to set aside a certain amount of time that you need to dedicate to work on them. No use in setting up a coaching session every 6 months so that you have time to work on the items.
    Once a month is probably a minimum, sometimes more frequent is necessary to keep momentum going. Usually sessions should be about 1-1,5 hours.
  3. Availability:
    Make sure you are 100% available during set meetings/phonecalls. No multitasking, no rattling on about your dog, your shitty job etc (unless that is part of your goal).
  4. Preparation:
    Prepare! Do the actions that were given to you in the last session. Do them thoroughly. If you have questions along the way, don't hesitate to ask your coach.
  5. Honesty:
    Don't pretend or lie with your coach. Be YOU. If you do, you might as well quit immediately. it is the foundation of your success. A coach cannot guide you if you give her wrong information. If along the way something feels wrong or uncomfortable, say it, immediately. Don't wait for things to grow.
  6. Open mind:
    It is important to be open to questions, criticism, challenges. It may not always be comfortable . Change never is at the beginning. If you have an open mind and can suspend your judgment or disbelief and let the coach guide you, try out some new ideas or steps for you, you will see where this is going after a while.
  7. Partnership:
    A coach is not an enemy. Yes, you pay her to help you. But it is in her interest as well that you succeed and are satisfied with her services.
  8. Change:
    Be ready for change. Be prepared to step out of your comfort zone. Scary is good! And because you're being coached the scary is controlled. The coach is not going to make you do anything you're not prepared to do. But if you want to achieve your goals, you need to change.
    As my coach says 'If you continue to do what you've always done, you get what you always got'. So do something different. Your coach will make sure it turns into achieving your goals.
  9. Advancement:
    If you received some action items during your first session, you should be seeing at least some kind of advancement already. If only in your attitude, your level of excitement. If not, tell her and change whatever needs changing (goal, direction, intensity, number of actions etc).
  10. Investment:
    Coaching is an investment in yourself. Treat it like you treat your investment in your house or car. No, treat it better! Honor your payments. Get what you need in order of importance (foundations, walls, roof, insulation, furniture, paint, decoration etc - i.e. don't start with the decoration...)
  11. Fun!
    Being coached is fun and exciting. If it's not, get a better coach. One that fits your needs.


Why you need to fail early and fail often

>> 16 January 2011

Whenever we have an idea, we would like to run it by some people to get validation.
We want to hear that our idea is great.

We don't want to fail. So we want others to tell us that we won't.
We want to make it foolproof.

Then again, we don't want others to think we (or our ideas) are stupid.
And we often lack confidence in our own ability to come up with brilliance.

So often enough, we keep our idea to ourselves.
We work away on it, trying to perfect it.

And when we think it's ready for the outside world, we often fall flat on our face.

We have invested time, often even money to come this far.

What went wrong?

Failing early, when your ideas are still small (as opposed to when you're in front of the management committee or the board) allows you to:

  • get honest feedback (as no budget, responsibilities or egos are involved yet)
  • change things that don't work quickly (as they don't cost anything or very little)
  • see whether the idea has potential
  • get new ideas (people love to give their opinion, for free!)
So in order to fail early, fail often. Here is how:

  1. Make a short pitch about your initial idea
    - answering the 5W1H questions
    - try to present it like a story (with a statement, an unexpected turn etc)
  2. Make a list of 3-5 people who you can test the pitch and idea on
    - people who would have to be involved if the project flies
    - people with special capabilities (creativity, business development, mentoring etc)
  3. Rework the pitch and start thinking about a sponsor
    - ideally someone influential, known or important (but not a decision maker for this idea)
  4. Prototype your idea - or run a pilot project
    - it's the only way to test for success and get rid of glitches or faults
  5. Launch or abandon
    - by the time you're launching or presenting to management you have gained insight, experience, and feedback and basically know what your talking about and have gotten rid of first hick-ups
    - if you decide to abandon you will have learned a lot and gained information for a next project; and you will have shown those around you that you can ship your ideas

So, fail early, fail often.

But don't fail small! Don't leave out the good, special, weird, compelling stuff because it's safer to fail small.

That makes you settle for Good Enough...

And 'good enough' doesn't fly in business, in love or on your way to the moon,

For more insight:

Seth Godin: Random rules for ideas worth spreading


What Oprah could do better

>> 12 January 2011

I like Oprah. I have for years. And I am not ashamed to say it ;-)

I think she is creative, lives with intention, does what she needs to do, is not afraid to admit mistakes and she knows how to market herself.

Being a reader, I especially like her O Magazine.

Living in Luxembourg however, does not allow me to purchase it in a local store. I have to subscribe to it. Which is pretty costly I have to admit.

So here is my marketing point of view of what Oprah could do better to sell me (or, come to think of it, anyone else) her magazine:
  1. Make overseas delivery more affordable.
  2. Tell me when my subscription starts and when it ends (this is not clear when you subscribe).
  3. Send me a renewal reminder before the end of my subscription (funny enough, this is not the case!)
  4. Make a European version of O (many articles are very US focused, all special deals are US only)
I guess if I were not such a paper fan, I could just subscribe to the new Ipad version of her magazine.

And maybe I will, whenever I find myself a few months without her magazine and realize that the subscription has stopped :-)


      How doing nothing can help creativity

      >> 9 January 2011

      Do Nothing is a technique described by Brian Clegg in his book Crash Course in Creativity.

      1. How often have you been in a meeting where a problem is being discussed and you think it's not really that important?
      2. How often do we spend working on something and afterward feel like we could have spent this time more efficiently?
      3. How often has someone rushed into your office with an urgent 'needs to be done immediately or else...' issue?

      We often assume that something needs to be done about a problem.

      What would happen if we did NOTHING?

      Think about it for a while.

      What would have happened to the issue listed in number 1?
      What could we have achieved if we had spent our time more efficiently?
      What would have happened had you done absolutely nothing?

      Doing nothing usually leads to one of three possible outcomes:
      1. The problem doesn't need to be solved
      2. You will have a better idea of the benefits of solving the problem
      3. You will have generated some alternative problems to solve 
      So next time, stop and imagine what would happen if you did nothing. Isn't that a nice feeling for a change?


      Additional tips against clutter

      >> 5 January 2011

      In my last post, I wrote about different kinds of clutter and how to get rid of them.

      Today it's time for a little reminder...

      How is that list coming along?

      Did you do 2 things from one list?

      If not, please read below tips to spur you on:

      1. ALL items in your house should be USEFUL and BEAUTIFUL.
        “Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful and believe to be beautiful.”
        -William Morris

      2. ALL items in your house should have a PLACE.
        If the don't have one, create one. If you can't create one, toss it.

      3. Ask yourself: what is my MOTIVATION for keeping this?
        • Guilt (it costs so much; it's from my dead grandmother)?
        • Fear (if I fail in my business, I will be glad to have kept this)
        • The image it gives (if I have this, people will think I'm successful)
        • Souvenir (it's from when I was a little girl)
        Don't link your items to past or future things. Especially not if they are draining your energy. You want to get rid of negativity. Trust your feelings, your instinct when you pick it up. If you don't feel good about it, throw it out.

      4. Baby steps:
        Stick to the plan of doing a few things per week. Otherwise you get overwhelmed and will just stop the whole process.

      5. Create a system:
        Avoid having to think about making appointments. Next time you're at the garage/hairdresser/dentist etc schedule your next appointment(s). That way they are in the calendar and you can stop thinking about them.

      6. Get committed:
        Put aside the time to do this.
        Get your partner involved.

      7. Intention:
        And this should probably be up on the top of this article...
        It all starts with your intention. What is it that you WANT? Write it down, clearly.
        Everything you do should be in line with your intention:
        • your actions (is this in line with my goal? if not, why am I doing it? Do I have to do it?)
        • your language (no more 'I kind of, sort of, maybe want to do this')
        • your space (is a messy living/working space in line with the successful business woman you intend to be?)
        • your people (are you surrounded by supporters or energy draining whiners?)


      Creativity tip: go to the hairdresser

      >> 2 January 2011

      This week I went to the hairdresser.

      There is not much you can do while someone washes, cuts, tweaks and blow dries your hair...

      I realized that a few stepping stones of creativity were reunited here:

      So I started looking around. And here is what I wrote down on my Trigger list.

      1. They had a TV high up on the wall so that people getting their washed could watch Fashion TV.
      2. They kept asking me whether the water was at the right temperature.
      3. They were all dressed in white. It looked clean.
      4. There were only women clients.
      5. They put a number tag on my handbag when they put away my coat.
      And such a list is precisely there to trigger some new ideas, whether immediately or in two weeks.

      Here's a few immediate triggers I got:
      1. Could they have put something more creative up than a tv? (Interactive) art maybe?
      2. Why hasn't someone come up with a tap that automatically puts the water at the right temperature (whatever that is)?
      3. Where else could people dress in white to make the place look spic and span? The garbage people? -maybe too extreme.
      4. Did they have a special 'woman's day'? Where else (unusual) could you introduce such a day? The gym for example?

      5. Instead of giving you a number to identify your coat, they could have lend me a cuddly bear, a colored scarf around my waist etc. Where else would we prefer not to be a number?
      So next time you go to the hairdresser, make sure you use it to be creative and record your observations and ideas.


      Blog template by simplyfabulousbloggertemplates.com

      Back to TOP