Friday, January 7, 2011

Get Up On Your Tiptoes!

Get up on your tiptoes

It’s been nearly 30 years since I left the east coast and started making my way west and left the cold weather behind. All these years I thought it was the sunshine and open spaces that immeasurably improved life. But by some stroke of sheer coincidence I now find myself assigned to an extended engagement in Brooklyn in the winter. And I’ve got to tell you; I find life here exciting and exhilarating.

Living in an urban setting, taking mass transit to work, being a small part of a large (as in millions) and diverse (can you say: “melting pot") crowd – that’s where I find myself today. Wearing a down overcoat that’s rated to minus 40 and I’m still cold – but the buzz in this mass of humanity warms me. Walking down a street where nobody knows anybody else – but everybody’s in the same boat and they’re all courteous (no bumping) and friendly (there’s even a sign at most corners asking drivers not to honk their horns). Being in a completely new setting and everyone I’ve asked for assistance or directions or advice has been more than happy to stop and give it, freely.

The point is, that we all get settled in our own little worlds and we think that our own space and situation is the only one for us and we get a little complacent and stop looking at what might be over the horizon. But now I see it’s not where you are but how you look at where you are.  And hey, it’s a new year and there’s no better time than right now to try something new. You don’t have to go take the kind of bold leap that I just made but there are probably lots of things you can do that are creative and innovative, that will alter your circumstances and perspectives and opportunities. Make sure your New Year’s resolutions are designed to help you be all you can be. Make sure you’re looking at all the possibilities rather than all the problems. Make sure all of your senses are open to all of the opportunities that might exist. Get up on your tiptoes and look at all that’s just over the horizon. Make 2011 a year to remember!

My quote this week is about ‘innovation’. Read on and see if you can free the angel in your marble.

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”   -Michelangelo

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (1475 –1564), commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet and engineer. Despite making few forays beyond the arts, his versatility in the disciplines he took up was of such a high order that he is often considered an archetypal Renaissance man.

Innovation starts in many ways, but almost always there’s a vision or inspiration that precedes it. How one gets to a vision or inspiration can take many routes: you can be working with someone or some thing and like a bolt of lightening you’re struck with the vision or inspiration – almost like a divine revelation; or you can study hard and research a lot and finally find your big idea embedded in the sentences or formulas of your work, sort of like Einstein’s theory of evolution; or you might be part of a team of people whose collective efforts culminate in a wondrous moment, not unlike the first lunar landing; or you can be sitting around with friends and noodle your way to the genesis of the next Facebook.  Either way, you need to keep your eyes and imagination open to recognize the proverbial ‘angel in the marble’ – when that happens, be sure you act on it!

Stay well!

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