The power of … Habit (3)

When we think of habits, the first things that come into mind are the bad ones. Smoking, biting those darn nails or that constant craving for chocolate. Bad habits are things that we would change by simply snapping your fingers, unfortunately they tend to stick with you like kryptonite.

Now… start thinking about your good habits. The routines you have, the patterns you follow. You are not stuck in a rut, routines can be productive and simple habits that you have can enable you into a state of ‘flow’. Think of the ease of the habit of driving to work or school every day. If you have to figure out each day which route to take, it would make you mental.

What habits do heroes have? Charles Duhigg describes some (Phelps, MLK) in his interesting read!! The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and BusinessI would like to leave you with an example of a habit of one of my personal heroes: Kobe Bryant. I started playing basketball when I was 6, and Kobe had just ‘survived’ rookie year. Throughout his career, he has been a great example of determination, leadership and utter will. Currently he is facing overcoming his ACL injury and hopefully he will be back to Staples soon.

One habit I really noticed is when I watched Kobe Doin’ Work. It is a documentary, produced by Spike Lee, in which Kobe is miked up during an entire game against the San Antonio Spurs. A few weeks later, he watches the tapes and provides his thoughts about the game. This is incorporated in Kobe Doin’ Work. If you think basketball is only about Allstars and slam dunks, think again and watch this documentary. Coaches, execution, and reading plays have more to do with it and I really started appreciating these aspects more and more.

Somewhere along this documentary, Kobe talks about touching his shirt with his hands. If you look closely, you can see his does this several times. It seems quite odd and just a simple ritual. He is not that aware of it himself, but he explains why he does it. He believes or he knows that he has a better feeling for the ball when he touches his shirt every now and then. What tiny habits do you have that allow you to be more productive or happier in life?

Being creative by being true to yourself

The status quo is kept intact. I feel stuck. Neither friction nor growth. Maybe it is just one of those weeks. You know, those periods of time that you just live day to day (but not in a mindfulness way). It might be ordinary writers block. Time to get my train of thought straight. What do I have to offer?

This week it was difficult to come up with stuff to write about, so my post-per-day rate went down a few notches. The creative juices and ideas sprouted in the first two weeks of starting my blog. One month in, and the creativity is already dried out? This can not be. I know that I have not been gifted with artistic creativity; however I reckon that coming up with new ideas and problem solving are two of my strongsuits. What next?

And it was only a few minutes ago that my more pragmatic creativity kicked in. Why not look for a personal hero of mine who does not seem to have this problem? YES! That can be the answer. If you experience difficulties, some of your leading examples might have faced the same adversity or can provide you with alternative ideas to overcome your obstacles!

It did not take long to think of a personal hero of mine. It was handed on a silver platter. Louis CK, ladies and gentlemen! I have thought about it several times to write a blog about Louis CK, but not in this way. I wanted to write about his story, maybe incorporate the George Carlin memorial speech and how he became an example to me. How he showed me that you can make jokes on anything and how much craftmanship goes into one hour of stand-up comedy.

Instead, I am going to follow up on all the praise and admiration that he has been getting for the producer Louis CK, instead of the shitty, sweaty and aggrevated comedian that he is. This is not something that I intended to write about, but these examples helped me with regenerating my inspiration.

Louis CK produces his comedy Louie on FX. Instead of having a whole writing team and 24 executive producers, Louis writes it all himself and the people at FX see the full episode a day before it airs, for the first time. That power, but also the belief in his own talents, amazing! It gets more interesting. In November 2011, Louis produced his special Live at the Beacon Theatre. However, he produced it in a way that was never done before. He eliminated the middle companies and produced it himself and put it on his website, for us to buy for $5,-. Amazing, it has never been done, and within a few days it was bought immensely. Five bucks was a great amount to buy it yourself, instead of pirating it. It did not matter to him either.

And everybody was clapping, writing about this great move and how he changed the production landscape and how it became the example for new media and new marketing. I did not want to write about it, but instead about the great comedian he is. However, here I am writing about it..

Why? Because this shows that creativity is in yourself, just by being the way you are! Of course, you can train creativity by practicing word chains, but it is in you already. Everybody is creative. Louis CK did not spend a week in solitude to come with his ideas, no he just stayed true to himself. Why should he let his show be criticized beforehand by some suits at a large network? He wanted freedom to do what he wanted and to work with people that he wanted. I believe that this was the foundation for his creative process and eventually, his producing success.

So, translate this to yourself. How can you be creative by being who you are? I am not gonna provide other examples, because this may hinder your own creative process. Be creative by being true to yourself!

The power of … Doubt (2)

Stuck between two cries for help. A classic setting for each hero. There comes that one point in which you have to choose – save your ‘Lois Lane’ or the city? Focus on your family or your education? Investing in a more sustainable world or in your business? Of course, this is quite black and white, but we all recurrently have these nagging thoughts. It can keep you up at night, make your stomach do a 720 or damage the concentration level, but is doubt solely destructive? When was the last time you were (heavily) in doubt? Continue reading

Instant hero

Some people just have it. Call it charisma, call it leadership, call it heroism, whatever. When some great men and women of this world walk into a room, they have arrived. Think about the Mandelas, the Ken Robinsons or the Steffi Grafs of this world. The most renowned people in this world are at the top of our own hero list.

However, sometimes you encounter persons, characters or stories that are less or even not famous, but still they may change your life, one way or another. A quote that you will keep with you for the years to come or a change in your own mentality. There might be people or stories out there, that you and me have never heard from, but that can be valuable for yourself as a person. If you suddenly encounter these stories, they bombard your hero list – and become an instant hero.

You know it in a split second. WOW! Being completely in awe, reading or listening in full silence. How cool is that?

I will give you an example of one of my own instant heroes and I have a gut feeling that he may become an instant hero for you too! Continue reading

What we can learn from Batman.. Uhm.. Ben Affleck

It’s been a few days, but Ben Affleck sat down with Jimmy Fallon to talk about his “election” and role of Batman. The applause he got for his role in Late Night is far from the general reaction to his selection. Internet forums certainly do have a knack for annihaliting roles in advance. However, this blog is not about questioning the decision of Affleck or the producers, but what principles or lessons might behind this kind and youthful actor/director.

So… What can we learn from this Daredevil?

One of the first things I noticed was the internal drive that Affleck had. Sometimes you really hate constructed interviews that state that actors or athletes had a great time or experience, etcetera, but his enthusiasm was highly believable. He understands what the producer wanted and he felt he could add to those ideas

Secondly, he does not shy away from the task at hand. Based on the reactions he received on prior actors (think Heath Ledger for instance), you can imagine going to Comic Con 2013 might not lift his spirit. Yet, Affleck is curiously optimistic. He beliefs in himself and is excited about what’s going to be coming.

What I liked a lot in the interview was his self-criticism. Sometimes celebrities or heroes lack knowledge of their own weaknesses. Affleck immediately, before speaking about his own role, stated that he can’t do it like Christian Bale. He took the comments with a certain amount of humor and even referred to the “Emmy snub”. This, to me, points out that he knows that he has big shoes to fill, but also is aware of all the things that come along with playing in such films with an enormous fan base.

If it did not turn out to be one of his glamour roles, he can use his self-criticism just like George Clooney did. When being asked what Clooney’s thoughts were on Affleck as new Batman, he stated that he can not make any judgements. Not because he did not know Affleck or the new storyline of Man of Steel well enough. No, Clooney stated that he simply should not be questioned about suitable actors for the role of Batman, because he ruined playing Batman himself in 1997 Batman & Robin.

I am quite eager to find out how this story will end and how we will remember his role in Man of Steel in a few years from now. All in all, internal drive, optimism and self-criticism are not solely good characteristics to put in a character, but more importantly, to have for yourself.