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Month December 2013

Tina Roth Eisenberg on Living the Creatively Courageous Life …*

Tina Roth Eisenberg on Living the Creatively Courageous Life ...* |


“Life is all about the people you meet and what you make with them.”

“So many good things have come out of collaborating. Just the amount you learn from each other and the things you can build when you find likeminded people with complimenting skills.”

“I think inspiration comes from being aware of even the most mundane things, like how a teabag seeps into the napkin you just placed it on. You might see a pattern, or just beauty in it, and that gives you an idea. If you narrow it down, it’s life. It’s being a curious person. That, in the end, is all the inspiration you need.”

“If I’m aiming to do one thing, it’s to have one set of values that I can apply both at work and at home, because at the end of the day, work and home—you’re just being you.”

“Creativity, to me, means not shying away. I have this personal rule, if I’m afraid of something, I really need to do it, because that means that I will learn a lot from it. That’s what I live for. I live for that feeling that I’ve dared, I’ve tried something new, and I’ve learned something new.”

“I think my biggest life lesson is that generosity always pays off; generosity of spirit, attention or time.”


Head over to PSFK to read the complete interview and delight in Tina’s brilliant insights on living the creatively courageous life.

make & rethink

[ Source:Why Confronting Deep Fears Is Essential To Creativity via PSFK’s Free Radicals Series  ]

{ A Moving “What If”…* } Imagine Finding Me | Chino Otsuka – Photographs As Questions

Chino Otsuka, poem from the book Imagine Finding Me, published by TRACE Editions, 2006. Photo by the artist.

I ran across Chino Otsuka‘s photo series, “Imagine Finding Me” this morning and her work has been haunting me all day. Otsuka–who was born in Japan but moved to the United Kingdom at age ten–touches upon the concept behind the series in a short video interview, (which you can view here), saying:

” So this idea of mental time travel is my kind of starting  point, becoming a tourist of your own history. It’s my starting point. So each individual photograph, I take as a different scene—what if—if you bumped into yourself somewhere on the stairs, or what if you didn’t realize you just walked past yourself? “

” And they’re all [the photographs in the series] in transitional places—so like bridges, hotel rooms, train. So again, that whole thing of traveling is running through. Things are not quite past or present or somewhere in between. And I quite like to show these in between places. That has kind of reflected from my upbringing, that I’m sort of neither here nor there—and I’m not really Japanese or English—and I used to struggle a lot with that, trying to look for either of these places to be my place. But now, as you get older, you become so comfortable being in these kind of between places. And in fact, I take this as a great sort of vantage point and I can sort of play around with it.”


Having grown up across two continents, I also have felt the weight and textures of the in-between space. In fact, when I was growing up I had given myself the secret title of, “Child From The Middle of The Atlantic.” It was not always an easy title to bear, and I too struggled with being neither from here nor there. Much like Otsuka, however, I have come to embrace and grow deeply grateful for this fluidity. Otsuka brilliantly captures facets of that experience and I love the fact that each of the photographs starts as a “What If …*

I believe this sense of ‘in-betweeness’ can be felt by anyone regardless of geography. Is this something you have experienced?


Imagine Finding Me 1982 and 2005, Paris, France  | Chino Otsuka

Imagine Finding Me
1982 and 2005, Paris, France  | Chino Otsuka

Imagine Finding Me 1985 and 2005, Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China  | Chino Otsuka

Imagine Finding Me
1985 and 2005, Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China  | Chino Otsuka

Imagine Finding Me 1976 and 2005, Kamakura, Japan | Chino Otsuka

Imagine Finding Me 1976 and 2005, Kamakura, Japan | Chino Otsuka

Head over to the AGO website to view more photographs from the series. 

All images: Chino Otsuka

[ H/T: Artist Imagines Meeting Her Young Self In This Poignant Photo Series, via Design Taxi, published December 16, 2013. ]

The Importance of the Interval Between What We Are & What We May Become & Why Our Capacity To Fail Is Essential …*


“Our capacity to fail is essential to what we are. We need to preserve, cultivate, even treasure this capacity. It is crucial that we remain fundamentally imperfect, incomplete, erring creatures; in other words, that there is always a gap left between what we are and what we can be. Whatever human accomplishments there have been in history, they have been possible precisely because of this empty space. It is within this interval that people, individuals as well as communities, can accomplish anything. Not that we’ve turned suddenly into something better; we remain the same weak, faulty material. But the spectacle of our shortcomings can be so unbearable that sometimes it shames us into doing a little good. Ironically, it is the struggle with our own failings that may bring the best in us.”

In Praise of Failure by Costica Bradatan | via The New York Times, published December 15, 2013.

Michel Gondry on Animating Noam Chomsky & The Power Of Drawing To Move People …*

“I have this relationship with drawing because it’s a way to make people smile and do something a bit artistic and narrative. Well, let’s say, for instance, I wanted Audrey Tautou to play in my new movie–I draw it. So I draw myself writing a letter, and flying from America to France, dropping the letter, then I cut my arm…I mean it’s completely absurd but I do it because I think she’s going to be maybe a little moved or touched by the effort I put into it.”

Enjoy this whimsical behind the scenes, brought to you by The Creators Project, of Michel Gondry‘s process for his new documentary, Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy?: An Animated Conversation With Noam Chomsky. The documentary, which is now available on iTunes, explores “the life of controversial MIT professor, philosopher, linguist, anti-war activist and political firebrand Noam Chomsky. Through complex, lively conversations with Chomsky and brilliant illustrations by Gondry himself, the film reveals the life and work of the father of modern linguistics while also exploring his theories on the emergence of language. The result is not only a dazzling, vital portrait of one of the foremost thinkers of modern times, but also a beautifully animated work of art.”  

As for this short behind the scenes doc, it’s a delightful peek into a creative  playful mind and what it takes to visualize ideas and make them more human…*

Animating Noam Chomsky | An Afternoon With Michel Gondry | via The Creators Project, published December 10, 2013.

[ H/T – Behind The Scenes of Michel Gondry’s Film “Is The Man Who IS Tall Happy?” via Booooooom, published December 12, 2013. ]


Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy? Official Trailer (HD) Documentary, Michel Gondry | published October 28, 2013.

Dr. Brené Brown On The Power of Empathy …*

Enjoy this lovely short animation on the power of empathy, excerpted from Brené Brown‘s speech at the RSA  where she explains why embracing vulnerability is critical to human flourishing. 

RSA Shorts – The Power of Empathy | Published December 10, 2013, on YouTube.

Choice Architecture & The Nudge Unit …*

“The really radical thing that Richard [Thaler] opened up to us is his concept of choice architecture. Governments have a set of nudges in everything they do, even if they don’t do anything. You can either be deliberate about it or not.” –Rohan Silva 

Choice Architecture & The Nudge Unit ...* |


“If you combine this very simple, very conservative thought — go with the grain of human nature — with all the advances in behavioral economics, I think we can achieve a real increase in well-being, in happiness, in a stronger society without necessarily having to spend a whole lot more money.” – David Cameron

Be sure to check out the New York Times profiles on Britain’s Behavioral Insights Team, aka the Nudge Unit, whose “goal is to see if small interventions that don’t cost much can change behavior in large ways that serve both individuals and society.”

rethink * 

{ Extreme By Design } New Documentary About The Power of Design Thinking To Create An Empathy Revolution …*

“At a time of unprecedented global challenges, the under-30 “millennial” generation has every reason to be disengaged. Yet plenty of millennials are engaged. Call it the empathy revolution. Extreme By Design, an hour-long documentary film, brings this revolution to life by following three Stanford University students as they design and build products to meet basic needs of the world’s poor.” 


Tune in to PBS on December 11, at 10 P.M. EST, to watch this exciting new documentary–for which our very own Dominic Randolph served on the educational advisory board–about the power of design thinking to bring about an “empathy revolution” and lasting positive change to individuals and communities in need. Not to worry if you can’t catch the PBS debut, as the program will also stream on for a week after broadcast as well as being available on iTunes. Be sure to visit the Extreme By Design website for some great design thinking resources, upcoming free screenings in your area and more information on the team and documentary.


Enjoy & rethink …

Extreme By Design Website Trailer from Ralph King, Hawkview Pictures on Vimeo.

{ Hacking Change Management …* } Doughnuts, Running & The Power of Habits

On November 3, I bundled up and stood on Manhattan Avenue cheering on a friend and the other runners participating in the 2013 New York City Marathon. Perhaps it was because parts of my cognitive functions had shut down from the cold and were not yet fully restored, or perhaps it was the lingering feeling of community and togetherness that had pervaded the streets that day–I still cannot explain this to myself–but the next day, I decided to enter the lottery for the half marathon, which will be taking place this spring. Now, for context, the last time I set foot in a gym (or in a sneaker, for that matter) goes back to my high school days. So when the momentary euphoria I felt after signing up dissipated, I was left with a sense of utter panic. Not only have I not kept to a fitness regimen in nearly a decade, but I particularly dislike–read abhor– running. My first reaction was to make endless promises to the universe about how much of a better person I would become if only I were not picked in the lottery. My second instinct, more mature and productive, was to gather up what I know about motivation and making changes and translate that into action (rethinked*annex, anyone?)

From what I have learned on the science of willpower–that it is a finite and easily depleted resource–and my intense dislike of running, I knew that if I were to stand a chance sticking to my training over the next few months, I would have to make running a habit. I remembered watching a Big Think Edge episode with Charles Duhigg author of The Power of Habit: Why We Do what We Do In Life And In Business and decided to use what I knew to (purchase) and lace up my sneakers and get started. My memory was a bit shaky on the concepts he had laid out, but I did remember that habits are made up of three components–the cue, the behavior and the reward. I also remembered that you have to create an extrinsic reward for yourself until the neural pathways connecting the cue to the behavior forms and strengthens to the point where the habit becomes near automatic and the reward intrinsic. Finally, the reward has to be a real reward, something you genuinely enjoy. I took all of this quite literally and told myself that every time I put on my sneakers (cue) and went for a run (behavior), I would buy myself doughnuts (reward). I am now on week three of my training regimen and I haven’t missed a single day. And yesterday, during the day, I found myself anxiously awaiting the evening to go on my run. It wasn’t the doughnut that I was anxious for, it was the run!

While my strategy for sticking to my running regimen may seem a bit extreme, I came across this video of an interview that Duhigg did with Jonathan Fields, founder of the Good Life Project, where he says, verbatim, “We know from studies that the best way to start exercising is, at first, give yourself a piece of chocolate as soon as you’re done with your workout. […] What you’re trying to do is you’re trying to trick your brain into associating this cue and this routine with a reward. And then, we know from studies, that after a week and a half, once you start exercising, you don’t want that chocolate anymore. The intrinsic reward becomes enough to sustain the pattern, but you have to trick your brain at first by giving it an extrinsic reward.” (Yay, neuroscience! )

Watch Duhigg explain the power of habits and get lots of practical tips on habit formation to get a head start on positive changes for 2014!

Enjoy & rethink …*

Good Life Project: Charles Duhigg – Power of Habit | Published on YouTube July 4, 2012

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