Monday, January 30, 2006

Return from Florida, Creative Mind, and other stuff

Marti and I returned from our meeting in Florida with the World Triathlon Corporation president Ben Fertic, and his staff, to include Judy Molnar vice president of Iron Girl and Steve Meckfessel, . Boy, if you want to get energized and feel very positive make an appointment with this group and just go hang out with them. They are positive and up beat and no obstacle is too big. We had great discussions with Ben relative to the Kona and 70.3 World series and feel really good about all that we discussed. We also came away realizing just how difficult and challenging that job can be. Eveyone out of the know will just say, "Wow, what a job, just fly around the world visiting all of the neat Ironman races being put on and sip mint julips." While it is a very interesting and exciting job, it has daily almost by the minute extreme challenges. With races being put on around the world with different cultures, languages, etc., the challenges never end. It really ticks me off when I read of criticism towards the big ole for profit corporation of triathlon, the WTC. Well I will say it again, the for profits are what made America and the rest of the world is still trying to figure that out. WTC works hard for their profits and for the sport. More equipment innovations and state of the art race production has happened as a result of their involvement in the sport. We commend Ben for his hard work and especially for taking the time to visit with us on Saturday. He and his wife are expecting their third daughter within a few months, so every minute home is precious. We had great talks about our races, the WTC/USAT/ITU drama, and the sport in general. If someone tells you that WTC is not trying to get all of the differences resolved we can assure you that is not the case. They want immediate resolution and are doing everything they can to get it done. Marti and I are real happy to be a small part of this dynamic organization. I have had a very unique experience of being on both sides of the issues and see the sport from the for profits and non-profits, and have seen the good, bad, ugly and uglier of the sport. The supreme non-profit of the sport and National Governing Body, USA Triathlon, should go back and read their mission statement and get back on track to that mission.

The Iron Girl staff is a great one to work with and this was our first in house, in the face meeting. They are bright, young and energetic for the healthy lifestyle aspect of the sport of triathlon and running. We feel that with their tremendous support for our new race in Irving, TX(Iron Girl Texas) we will be part of a new era in promoting and building the healthly lifestyle associated with triathlon. Judy is a God send to this sport and it is a pleasure to know her and work with her.

As promised, "The Hidden Secrets of the Creative Mind"- What is creativity? Where does it come from? The workings of the creative mind have been subjected to intense scrutiny over the past 25 years by an army of researchers in psychology, sociology, anthropology and neuroscience. But no one has a better overview of this mysterious mental process than Washington University psychologist R. Keith Sawyer, author of the new book Explaining Creativity: The Science of Human Innovation. He is working on a version for the lay reader(us), due out in 2007 from Basic Books. In an interview with Francine Russo, Sawyer shares some of his findings and suggests ways in which we can enhance our creativity not just in art, science or business but in everyday life. Here is some of that interview that I found interesting:

Q: Has the new wave of research upended any of our popular notions about creativity? A: Virtually all of them. Many people believe creativity comes in a sudden moment of insight and that this "magical" burst of an idea is a different mental process from our everyday thinking. But extensive research has shown that when you're creative, your brain is using the same mental building blocks you use every day--like when you figure out a way around a traffic jam. Greerman comment: Couldn't agree more, Glenn Campbell, at one time a very poplular country and western singing star once said, "I've worked for the last 10 years to become an overnight success." Ideas come in a multiple aray of synergistic functions that enable us to all of a sudden have a great idea. These ideas play off of each other and result in some new innovation. I happen to know the guy that decided there was a need for a little plastic holder to go on the roof tops to secure Christmas lights. He designed it, patented it, manufacturered it, and then sold it around the world for millions. This didn't come overnight, but through a series of thought processes he invented a very useful product for the consumer. The same thing happens when medicines are found for deadly diseases, they don't come overnight but come through a serious of test and research. Q: Then how do you explain the "aha!" moment we've all had in the shower or gym--or anywhere but at work? A: When we take time off working on a problem, we change what we're doing and our context, and that activates different areas of our brain. Greerman comment: This is just saying we are too close to the subject and need to back off. When we do we get new thought processes and we approach it in a more relaxed, rested mode. Marti is always saying to me, "since you are the new idea man, come up with a new idea for Buffalo Springs." Well, while flattered that she would think this, new ideas just don't sit around on the tip of my brain or tongue. I have new thoughts during the same setting described above, i.e. very seldom the shower, but during exercise. Sometimes on a long bike ride or even on a long(600 miles) hog ride. I got the idea for the Lubbock area Ironman Hall of Fame(Kona finishers only) on a bike ride. The whole thought process resulted from us wanting to bring more awareness to the Buffalo Springs 70.3 in the Lubbock area and to honor the athletes who have completed Kona. When I issued the press release on the new Hall the newspapers and TV stations started calling. There was a great article in the local paper about the new Hall and also on TV. So, my idea bringing more awareness of the event and sport worked. But, these type of ideas actually come from years of experience and seeing what has been done in the past by other locations. Again, the theory of the evolution of synergistic thought processes. Q: How can the average person get more ideas? A: Here's where we come up against another of our cultural myths about creativity--that of the lone genius. Ideas don't magically appear in a genius' head from nowhere. They always build on what came before. And collaboration is key. Look at what others in your field are doing. Brainstorm with people in different fields. Greerman comments: Bottom line, you can't force creative thinking, it must just happen after compiling many thought processes, plus the time must be taken to truly think and meditate. Q: What advice would you give for us ordinary people? A: Take risks, and expect to make lots of mistakes, because creativity is a numbers game. Work hard, and take frequent breaks, but stay with it over time. Greerman comments: Couldn't agree more. The main problem in our computer world is that everyone wants instant success, so if they don't get it they go on prescription drugs or steal it from their employer. If they can't hit "enter" and get results they are completely frustrated. The computer offers nothing in creativity, except the potential of gaining information off of the web. Myth: Creative people get a great idea in a flash and then just execute it. Reality: Orville and Wilbur Wright were hardly the first to try to build a flying machine(they were actually in the bicycle business), but they tinkered with their design for years, revising each element again and again. For the wings alone, they tested more than 200 designs in a wind tunnel they built, and each attempt sparked new ideas that led to a machine that actually flew. Hope this information is kind of useful and we look forward to this book hitting the shelves.

From Dr. Weil today: Hope you are getting his daily e-mails, remember they are free and you don't have to buy anything. This morning he had a free survey to determine the type of supplements you might need, based on the customized Vitamin advisor survey he has designed. He also gives you the daily cost of any supplements that may be recommended. This is good stuff, go there immediately.

Bushisms(these are actual quotes, if you can figure them out, the good news for us Texans is that the Bushman was educated in the North, not the South, he is a plastic Texan): "I think he needs to stand up and say if he thought the president were wrong on policy and issues, he ought to say where."--Interview with the Associated Press: August 11, 2000 or "My administration has been calling upon all the leaders in the--in the Middle East to do everything they can to stop the violence, to tell the different parties involved that peace will never happen."--Crawford, Texas(not in West Texas); August 13, 2001.

George Carlin: "More people write poetry than read it." or "Most of the time people feel okay. Probably it's because at that moment they'r not actually dying." or "Usually, when you go to someone's house they offer you coffee. They say, " You want some coffee?" I tell them, "No thanks, I have coffee at home. But I could use a little pancake mix." I ry to get things I need.

Current movies: Hot-"Last Holiday", Queen Latifah stars in this one and it is good. The last one I saw with her in it, as a cab driver, was not good. But, this one is very good. She does a great job and the story, while predictable is entertaining and enjoyable, a feel good type of movie. Don't expect a shoot em up or lots of sex.

Movie footnote: "Brokeback Mountain", while this is a love story between two Cowboys I found it noteworthy to mention that they really didn't herd "cows" but they were actually "sheep" herders. Of course one could go on with all kinds of speculation here relative to their relationship with the sheep and all, but I won't(haven't I grown up??)

Must do some training,



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