Archive for April 21st, 2008

Well, it snuck up on me yet again, and I barely had time to shop. I am referring, obviously, to Creativity Day. A revered tradition ever since I discovered it in a Google search three days ago, Creativity Day is celebrated in 46 countries across this world of R’s. It began in 2002 and is generally celebrated around the week of Leonardo da Vinci’s birthday.

I attended an ITVA conference (bonus points if you remember what that means) in Seattle many years back. Looking ahead, I realized I didn’t want to be hoisting 300lbs of video gear around airports when I was 40. So I decided to start developing my writing, which I had neglected since college.

I signed up for a seminar on Fostering Creativity. It turned out to be an hour-long tribute to Yoshiro Nakamatsu, the Japanese inventor whose name always seems to come up in these discussions. Dr. Nakamatsu is the Japanese answer to Thomas Edison (if Edison didn’t spend the second half of his life suing people’s asses off for patent infringement.) He is credited with inventing the floppy disc, the CD and the digital watch, and 3200 other things.

The details of this seminar are lost in time, but I do remember a few things. In his house (stately Nakamatsu Manor) he has a room made entirely of metal, a room of wood, an arboretum, etc. He meditates daily in each of these rooms, challenging his brain to adapt to each of these different environments. He also shakes up his routine, like taking a different route to work every day.

I recall an exercise that has stuck with me forever…and this was at least ten years ago. Try this… cross your arms, but don’t look. Which arm is on top? Whichever arm it is, that is the one that is ALWAYS on top. You don’t even think about it. Now, cross your arms and purposely place the other arm on top. It just feels WEIRD. That feeling, according to the mad doctor, is the sensation of new neural pathways being formed. Or something.

And so, there is a message of hope on this joyous Creativity Day. When the ideas refuse to flow (or maybe only flow in little clots) shake up your routine. It certainly can’t hurt. As for that dream of not hoisting 300lbs of video gear at age 40? Well, it was a nice dream, anyway. At least the equipment has gotten smaller…thanks to guys like Yoshiro Nakamatsu.

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