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Ridiculously Cute Halloween Costumes: Pet Obsessed!

Ridiculously Cute Halloween Costumes: Pet Obsessed! | Cultural Trendz |
Twenty five awesome Halloween pet costumes. Check them out! ~ V.B.   (Click on the image or title above to view original post.)
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(>‿◠)✌ | Cultural Trendz |
Laugh well. Laugh often. ❤
Vilma Bonilla's insight:
Shared laughter is so attractive and restorative. I'm all about it.
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Creative genius: 4 steps to being provocative with a purpose

Creative genius: 4 steps to being provocative with a purpose | Cultural Trendz |

“Why?” is the question I never take for granted.

So when my 4-year-old daughter bombards me with the never-ending barrage of “but why?”s, I try to always rise to the challenge and find a somewhat intelligent answer to every question that comes my way. My philosophy is simple: The day we stop asking “why?”, as children and as adults, is the day our sense of wonder ceases to exist.
"As adults, when did we lose our imagination? When did we stop trusting our intuition and allow just knowledge and statistics to rule our lives? When did we stop asking 'why?'"

And with the sense of wonder and exploration disappears one of the most precious qualities one could possess--creativity. But the deeper my child digs, the more surely I come to the point of realization that I don’t have all the answers. And the moment my daughter sees confusion on my face, she starts chiming in with some of the most fascinating answers she can come up with. That’s when it hits you. As adults, when did we lose our imagination? When did we let go of the insatiable curiosity that shaped our journey? When did we stop trusting our intuition and allow just knowledge and statistics to rule our lives? When did we stop asking “why?” followed by the persistent “but why?” and “why not?”?

Last night I finished the book by Erik Wahl. The title is simple, but powerful--Unthink: Rediscover Your Creative Genius. It isn’t the second part that drew my attention. After all, there is a plethora of books that promised ways to discover and rediscover your inner genius. It is a simple call-to-action: unthink!

A former corporate employee, and now internationally recognized as a thought-provoking graffiti artist, Wahl radically changed his life when he lost his job in the dotcom bubble and a safety blanket of steady income with it. He was lost… for a while. And then he picked up the blank canvas and a set of the paintbrushes, knowing nothing about painting, mind you, and he never looked back. Ever since, he works with artists and corporations to help them rekindle their creative fire.

To revive passion in our working lives and open ourselves up to new opportunities, one of the things Wahl invites us to do is be provocative. The prevailing systems in which we live and work, he says, are largely unquestioned. We are given a job, a list of responsibilities, and a playbook on how to do them, and we go around executing on what is essentially a “we’ve always done it this way” approach. We embrace the system, get bored, and after a while we learn to accept the unsatisfactory existence as a necessary evil. It is part of “growing up” and “facing the reality,” we tell ourselves.

“By becoming provocative--by constantly looking for obstacles to growth and opportunities for progress regardless of your daily duties--you can provide your company with a measure of critical preparation it doesn’t currently have,” Wahl preaches. “In doing so, not only will you bolster your value to the organization, but you will open your job up to new frontiers.”
"More than rigor, management discipline, integrity, and vision, in a survey CEOs named creativity as a key attribute their companies require to be successful."

The truth is, Wahl explains, most companies need creativity more than they need clarity or stability. In 2010, IBM published the findings of a survey that asked 1,500 CEOs from 60 countries and 33 industries to name the most critical factor for future success of their companies. The answer? More than rigor, management discipline, integrity, and vision, CEOs named creativity as one of the key attributes their companies require to be successful. In his book, Wahl invites us to rock the boat, to become true artists in our craft.

“Some people wait until they are provoked by [external] forces to change, until their cages are rattled for them and their hand is forced,” says Wahl. “Artists don’t wait to be rattled only from the outside. They provoke themselves first, and then the people around them, in order to constantly imagine new possibilities. They instigate change even when it doesn’t seem necessary.”

Wahl says that “purposeful provocation” should be a part of our personal and professional lives, every single day. Here are the four steps he suggests we need to take to inject a healthy disorder to remain progressive:

1. Step outside your bubble.

When we don’t prod or question the way things are, our existence ends up being based on outdated assumptions and erroneous conclusions. Look at the everyday issues from a different perspective, gently invite others to step outside their comfort zone by asking the questions no one wants to ask, challenge status quo in little ways. It will all spark a bigger change in the long run.

2. Live with some discomfort.

We all want comfort and safety. It’s in our nature. But progress comes from doing what is right and best and necessary. The choices to move forward, innovate, and confront the issues we may not be comfortable with confronting are not always easy, but they are necessary for innovation.

3. Ask forgiveness instead of permission.

Often the only time a boss or a company will see the need for change is when the change has been made without permission.

4. Start small.

Sometimes all that is needed is a small adjustment to make a major, much-needed impact. Often our fear of being provocative is based on the notion that if we speak of or make a change in a process it will be like pulling the office fire alarm, says Wahl. That’s almost never the case, especially when you start small.

The big secret about being provocative, recaps Wahl, is that “not only do you become a change artist in a sea of sameness, you amplify the element of adventure in your own journey.”

I cannot agree more. Looking back at my career and the amazing innovation I’ve seen at the companies such as Accenture and Intel, I can absolutely attest to the insight Wahl provides. The fact that sometimes true change comes in a series of small innovations is absolutely true. If you ask yourself every single day “what can I do to improve what we are currently executing on?”, if you provide consistent initiative by finding gaps and bridging them (instead of waiting for someone else to notice and act on them), you will establish your reputation as an innovator and trendsetter.

After a while you will notice that it gets addictive, too. Once you start innovating, open your eyes to the profound wisdom of letting yourself be naïve, asking non-conventional questions, and, eventually, impacting the bottom line, it is hard to stop. Nothing is more fulfilling than painting the blank canvas! Sure, you will hit some bumps along the way and encounter a lot of naysayers. And you will have to take some risks. But that is why, to borrow the words of Walt Disney, it is so much fun to do the impossible.

So I encourage you to follow Wahl’s advice: “Surrender your cozy indifference and jump-start the change that needs to happen. Then do it again and again. There are always things worth fighting for.” In other words, let go of the fear and doubt and become a provocateur extraordinaire.

Vilma Bonilla's insight:

"It's time to abandon your fear of provocation. You can take risks, be bold, and be creative without sinking the ship--or your career." ~ Good reminder to try new ways of doing things! There are always things worth fighting for, always. Taking action helps let go of fear. 

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Dealing with criticism: 5 tools to develop a thick skin

Dealing with criticism: 5 tools to develop a thick skin | Cultural Trendz |

“When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.” ~Miguel Ruiz

Have you ever opened a spring-loaded email? You know, the kind with a nasty barb inside that hits you like a punch in the gut?

My business partner and I had recently launched our new podcast, and he had forwarded me an email he’d received from a viewer.

“Just watched Episode One,” the writer said. “GREAT idea! But WAY too much talking. Want specifics, not Melissa’s self-indulgent blathering on about the creative process…”

Ouch. My vision blurred at this point, and the rest of the missive was lost on me. A hot flush prickled my skin from head to toe.

I recognized this feeling: it was something I’d been doing my best to avoid since early childhood. For much of my life, fear of criticism had kept me small and timid, hiding under my shell. Over the past several years, though, I’ve been stepping out of the shadows, playing bigger, putting myself and my work out in the world more boldly.

I knew it was only a matter of time before critics started lobbing nasty-grams my way, and thankfully, I was prepared.

If you want to live a big, bold, creative life, one of the first orders of business is learning how to deal with criticism.

The more you step out into the spotlight, whether literally or figuratively, the more attention and feedback you’re going to get, and not all of it will be positive.

As kids on the playground, we chanted that “sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me,” but words can and do hurt. They have the power to destroy us if we let them.

How, then, do we armor up against criticism?

Here are five tools that will help you grow a thicker skin.

Tool #1: Separate fact from interpretation.

When I opened that nasty gram from the podcast viewer, it would have been easy to interpret it as defining a core truth about me.

Instead, I reminded myself that her assessment wasn’t objective truth; it was merely her opinion. I might not like her opinion, but ultimately it has nothing to do with me, or with objective reality.

In the same way, if I launch a new workshop or offer a painting for sale, and nobody buys, it’s easy to leap to thoughts like “My work sucks. I suck.”

The fact that I didn’t make a sale doesn’t actually tell me anything about me or my work, however. All I really know is that this particular offer wasn’t compelling to this particular audience at this particular moment.

Separating fact from interpretation can help prevent you from sliding down into a rat hole of “I suck.” And it can even help you make tactical decisions going forward: if this audience didn’t buy, maybe I want to change my messaging, or maybe I want to find a new audience!

Tool #2: Find the shiny, red button.

Have you ever noticed how certain criticisms roll right off, like water off a duck’s back, but others cut you to the core, no matter what you do?

In elementary school, when the boys tried to taunt me by fiddling with my last name, Dinwiddie, and calling me “Dumb-widdie,” it was annoying, but it didn’t really hurt. Nor did it stick, because I had a core belief that I was smart. There were no fears or beliefs about myself for the insult to hook into.

On the other hand, for many years whenever someone called me selfish, it flattened me.

Somehow I got a message as a very young child that I was selfish. Then in my first marriage, whenever I wasn’t able to meet my husband’s needs, he declared that I was selfish. Even when my friends and family reflected back that I was loving and generous, those early beliefs were like a big, shiny, red button with a hair trigger, that got pushed really easily.

For years, the tiniest comment that I was acting in my own self-interest threw me into a frenzy of self-doubt and anxiety. As a result, I bent over backward for others in an attempt to prove that I wasn’t selfish.

No wonder an accusation that I was “self-indulgently blathering on” stung me so badly!

The criticism isn’t actually the problem here; it’s the beliefs we hold about ourselves.

When we can notice which criticisms wound us the most deeply, it shines a light on what our beliefs are. Not only can this help us to find neutrality again, with this outlook, criticism can actually become a valuable tool for self-growth.

Tool #3: Re-frame criticism as positive fuel.

Years ago, when I was a beginning calligrapher, a master teacher invited me to show him my portfolio.

I was scared to hear his critiques, until he assured me, “I’m simply going to tell you how you can make your work better.” Suddenly, instead of being terrified of his feedback, I was hungry for it.

Alas, not all of our critics will be so gentle and well intentioned. It’s not always easy to practice neutrality, but the more we can shift our mindset to look for the lesson beneath the venom, the more even negative comments can be useful to us, and even empower and fuel us to keep going and make our work better.

Tool #4: Ignore anyone on the sidelines.

That said, sometimes feedback isn’t useful at all. TED speaker and best-selling author Brené Brown has received comments on her videos such as, “If I looked like Brené Brown, I’d embrace imperfection too.”

This kind of insult has nothing to do with the work in question. It’s designed to hurt, not to help, and it has nothing useful to offer.

If there are some cases when a criticism can be useful, and other cases when it does no good at all, how do we sift through feedback to determine what to pay attention to, and what to ignore?

Brown likens nasty, unhelpful comments to the insults screamed down from the stands at the gladiators fighting in the arena below. It’s easy to yell that someone else can’t fight their way out of a paper bag when you’re sitting safely out of harm’s way.

So ask yourself if your critics are offering opinions that are truly useful to you. Are they metaphorical gladiators, fighting alongside you in the arena? Or are they potential recipients of your work?

If your critic is neither of the above, it’s likely they’re trolls hanging around on the sidelines. Ignore them.

Tool #5: Find a thick-skinned role model.

Did you know that Dr. Seuss, whose books sold millions over his lifetime, had his first book rejected at least twenty times? Thank goodness he persisted!

It’s easy to think that being on the receiving end of criticism means something is wrong with us, but the truth is, being criticized is a hallmark of doing cutting-edge, important work! Countless people who are now known for amazing things were criticized or rejected at first.

Think of Madonna, Lady Gaga, Hilary Clinton, Gloria Steinem: whether or not you like their work or what they stand for, you have to admit that these women each touched a nerve in our culture, and have gotten a ton of criticism as a result. Yet they never gave up.

The next time someone lobs a bomb your way, think about someone you admire, who kept forging ahead, despite their critics. You might even want to post their picture, or quotes by them, by your workspace to inspire you to keep going.

There you have it—my five favorite tools for handling criticism. Hopefully these will help you grow a thicker skin!