Dixie Darr

Archive for February, 2007|Monthly archive page

In creativity, Learning, work on February 28, 2007 at 8:23 am

Traits of Creative People

“All achievements, all earned riches, have their beginning in an idea.”
Napoleon hill

Creativity may become one of the most desired traits (or skills) of the 21st century. A year ago, Kennesaw State University study found that while only 29% of MBA and EMBA programs offer courses in creativity and innovation, nearly 92% of the others expect to offer one in the next five years. That’s great news for those of us who teach creativity and value a generalist approach to business.

Here’s a list of 32 traits of creative people, compiled by Dr. Robert Alan Black.


not motivated by money

sense of destiny


tolerant of ambiguity


perceive world differently

see possibilities

question asker

can synthesize correctly often intuitively

able to fantasize








sense of humor




specific interests

divergent thinker




severely critical



risk taker


How many do you possess?

©2007 Dixie Darr. All rights reserved


In creativity, Learning, work on February 27, 2007 at 8:01 am

Fable of the Two Steves

“The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” Albert Einstein

Here’s a fable about creative problem solving. Once upon a time, back at the dawn of the computer age, lived two guys named Steve. Both Steves were what would become known as computer geeks and they desperately wanted a computer. In that era, a kit was available to build your own computer; it cost $500. The Steves didn’t have $500. How would you define their problem?

Most people would say their problem was how to get $500. How do you get $500? You get a job and earn it or, if you’re less conventional, you beg borrow or steal it. You sell a small, insignificant body part or something to which you are less attached. These days, you charge it to one of your many credit cards and worry about paying it later.

The two Steves, however, didn’t define their problem that way. They decided that what they needed to do was find a way to get a computer without having $500. Friends who worked in the incipient electronics industry donated spare parts, and the Steves designed their own computer, which they named Apple. If they had defined their problem in the conventional way, we might not today have the endless debate about which is best: Mac or PC?

The moral of this story is:

__a. There is more than one way to define your problem.

__b. How you define the problem determines the solution.

__c. Money isn’t always the answer.

__d. Small changes in thinking can produce big changes in the world.

__e. All of the above.

©2007 Dixie Darr. All rights reserved

In creativity, work on February 26, 2007 at 10:45 am

How to Kill Creativity

In fact, most people are being squeezed in their little cubicle, and their creativity is forced out elsewhere, because the company can’t use it. The company is organized to get rid of variants.” Scott Adams

I’ve been sick with flu and pneumonia for the past couple of weeks and haven’t had the energy to do much of anything, including writing here. I’m feeling better now and am starting to feel alive again. My focus this week is creativity because I’m preparing to give a corporate workshop on the topic next week.

Here’s a list I found (author unknown) of phrases that kill creativity:

Our place is different

We tried that before.

It costs too much.

That’s not my job.

They’re too busy to do that.

We don’t have the time.

Not enough help.

It’s too radical a change.

The staff will never buy it.

It’s against company policy.

The union will scream.

That will run up our overhead.

We don’t have the authority.

Let’s get back to reality

That’s not our problem.

I don’t like the idea.

I’m not saying you’re wrong but…

You’re two years ahead of your time.

Now’s not the right time.

It isn’t in the budget.

Can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

Good thought, but impractical.

Let’s give it more thought.

We’ll be the laughingstock of the industry.

Not that again.

Where’d you dig that one up?

We did alright without it before.

It’s never been tried.

Let’s put that one on the back burner for now.

Let’s form a committee.

It won’t work in our place.

The executive committee will never go for it.

I don’t see the connection.

Let’s all sleep on it.

It can’t be done.

It’s too much trouble to change.

It won’t pay for itself.

It’s impossible.

I know a person who tried it and got fired.

We’ve always done it this way.

We’d lose money in the long run.

Don’t rock the boat.

That’s what we can expect from the staff.

Has anyone else ever tried it?

Let’s look into it further.

We’ll have to answer to the stockholders.

Quit dreaming.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

That’s too much ivory tower.

It’s too much work.

©2007 Dixie Darr. All rights reserved

In Learning on February 8, 2007 at 1:30 pm

Sometimes Reality Really Does Bite

I can handle reality in small doses, but as a lifestyle, it’s much too confining. Lily Tomlin

Where to start? This has been an interesting week, which accounts for my lack of posts. First my cable modem went out. I’m in the middle of teaching an online class, so I had to take my laptop elsewhere to work with my students. While there, I discovered an irate letter from a reader of my newspaper column who accused me of being a racist because of things I never said, but he assumed I must mean. It just shows that critical thinking is an extremely rare commodity.

Normally, I am online dozens of times during the day. I rely on the internet for news, email, shopping, my library and bank accounts, and the television schedule. I was lost without it. Luckily, Comcast sent a technician on Sunday, who fixed it in less than half an hour. He is my new hero.

Monday, I had lunch with my old friend Barb Lundy. She is a poet and advocate for the disabled with whom I had lost touch almost thirty years ago. With some people, the years don’t seem to matter. Even after all that time, we struck up a conversation as if we had seen each other the previous week. She is now a certified hypnotherapist and gave me a session on abundance before we went out to eat and then for a walk. The day was an island of grace in the middle of a chaotic week.

Tuesday was my day for running errands, grading papers and preparing for class.

Wednesday, I took my parents to see my dad’s doctor. The arrogant asshole kept my 89-year-old diabetic father waiting for two hours. By the time he finally showed up, we had arranged to change doctors. I’m glad we never have to see him again. Doctors have never been on my list of favorite people, and this one just confirmed my impression of them as smug, self-important jerks (although I’m sure there must be one or two nice ones out there.)

Today I get to catch up on all the things I haven’t had time for, like this blog. I have movies to watch and get returned to the library, and I hope the weather is nice enough to go for a walk because the forecast for the next four days calls for more snow. This will be our eighth week in a row of snow. We’re praying for an early spring. I’d settle for one week of calm serenity.

©2007 Dixie Darr. All rights reserved

In Learning on February 1, 2007 at 1:33 pm

So Many Books, So Little Time

“For those of us with a bookish bent, reading is a reflexive response to everything. This is how we deal with the world and anything new that comes our way. We have always known that there is a book for every occasion and every obsession. When in doubt, we are always looking things up.”

Diane Schoemperlen, Our Lady of the Lost and Found

My Indian name is Nose in a Book. While I wasn’t exactly born reading, I dragged a dictionary around with me when other toddlers had a blankie. I still have that dictionary, much the worse for wear.

One of my resolutions this year is to read less because my addiction just about took over my life last year. I read 120 books, ten per month. One of the books I read was about a woman who spent a year reading a book a week and her friends thought she was crazy for undertaking such an impossible task. Lightweight. I’d like to keep my reading down to one book a week.

The reason I take baths instead of showers is because you can’t read in the shower. I read as I eat my meals, watch TV or anytime I have a few spare minutes. It adds up to a minimum of two hours per day.

One of the reasons things got so out of control last year is because I started listening to books on CD in the car. At first I listened to seminars and non-fiction books only. Then I got an audio book by mistake from the library. I thought I had ordered the book not the CD book, but I decided to give it a try and I loved it. Now I can’t drive without listening to a book.

Yesterday, I finished listening to Jodi Picoult’s Vanishing Acts and immediately started Dana Stabenow’s A Deeper Sleep. This one is only six discs, so I need to line up another audio book so I don’t miss a beat when I finish this one.

As for my resolution, I’m making a little progress. I read eight books in January. Here’s what makes me crazy: Close to 200,000 books are published in the U.S. every year, and I can only read 100 of them. That means that every year there are 199,900 more books I can’t read.

©2007 Dixie Darr. All rights reserved