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The ABCs of Creativity: Failure

foul ball failure

“I think it’s important to have a good hard failure when you’re young. I learned a lot out of that” – Walt Disney.

As students, we grow up learning that failure is bad. A big red “F” accompanied by red marks on the page looks like spilled blood and marks an academic death. Too many failures, and you won’t get into the right college, you won’t get the right job, and you won’t make any money. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there.

As an employee, failure is never applauded and often leads to your boss directing stern words (if not outright yelling) at you or dismissing you from the job entirely. Failure isn’t seen as the stepping stone it can be, but rather as the end of the journey. It doesn’t have to be that way.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work” – Thomas Edison.

Failure is not only important for creativity. It’s inevitable. Any time you’re doing something new, you’re going to fail. Your first ideas won’t necessarily be the best, and they won’t necessarily work. They may even cause more problems than they solve. Whatever happens, if you’re trying something new, you will fail unless you get lucky.

The most successful sports figures fail all the time. Ted Williams had an on base percentage (OBP) of less than 50 percent. He failed to get on base more than half the time he was at bat, and he has the best all-time OBP in the MLB. NBA player DeAndre Jordan hits a little more than 2/3 of his shots from the field and has the highest shooting percentage in NBA history (so far). If in-game shooting were a test in school, he’d only score a “D.” NFL Quarterback Drew Brees is in a slightly better position with his over 67 percent completion rate, but in school it would come down to being the same grade. Other than Ted Williams, who was happy with $30,000 a year, these guys are making millions of dollars and failing a lot on a very public stage.

The important thing about failure is to learn from it. Failing without learning doesn’t help anyone. Most people learn more from their failures than their successes. When you fail, find out what you missed and what went wrong. You’ll find yourself set up for greater success as you harness the power of creativity and learn lessons from failing.

For more on creativity, get “Disneyland Is Creativity.” Order “Penguinate! Essays and Short Stories: Become more creative for a better life and world.” Preorder “The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity.

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The ABCs of Creativity: Explore

If you’ve ever seen a group of children on the playground, you know they’re everywhere. They’re on the equipment, on the swings and going down the slide. They’re grabbing bark dust, examining the concrete near the playground area and running into the field. They’re hanging out near the fence, crawling through the sand box and sticking their heads and arms out of the holes in the cargo nets or boxes near the top of the slide. They’re having fun, exploring and playing. It’s all part of growing up, learning and being creative.

If you’re a parent, you don’t have to just watch, you can listen, too. Children are using language in new and different ways, especially for them. They are exploring their imaginations and relationships with other children. They’re exploring what they can get away with and what they are capable of. They do this naturally. They aren’t aware of the process. They couldn’t tell you what they are exploring or doing beyond the literal and obvious, but they are developing skills for future use.

Adults don’t do this type of exploring as much if at all. In fact, many adults have given up on exploring. They fall into a routine and remain stuck there, which is fine if they are happy and fulfilled. However, exploration can help you grab a hold of life and get the most out of your experience. You’ll learn new things, have new experiences and become a more interesting person. When you look intently at the intersection or seek information, you’re setting yourself up to be able to create and synthesize your knowledge into something new. Explore your world, and then seek new worlds.

For more on creativity, get “Disneyland Is Creativity: 25 Tips for Becoming More Creative.” Buy “Penguinate! Essays and Short Stories: Become More Creative for a Better Life and World.” Preorder “The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity.” Check out these links on creativity.

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The ABCs of Creativity: Definition

Professor Penguin studies for greater knowledge.

Creativity is on of those things that people don’t know how to define, but they know it when they see it. In 1950, Joy Paul Guilford, the president of the American Psychology Association, called for greater emphasis on creativity research. Almost 70 years later, psychologists still haven’t reached an agreed upon definition. Many people say that creativity is the generation of something new that has value. This is vague because the question of “to whom?” remains unanswered.

Creativity is the way that people solve problems in new and better ways. From cooking over an open fire to using a pot-bellied stove to using a stove with controlled temperatures to using an energy efficient stove, these improvements are due to someone being creative with the question of how do we make food better to eat and more convenient to make. Without creativity, humans would still be eating raw meat if they survived as a species at all.

There are many definitions of creativity. The most important thing to remember is that being creative involves the use of the imagination to solve a problem in a new way. Don’t let a definition stop you from realizing your creative potential.

Need more definitions of creativity from artists, comic book writers, and other people who make a living through their creativity? Check out these videos on my YouTube channel. You can also find more definitions in “Disneyland Is Creativity: 25 Tips for Becoming More Creative.”

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The ABCs of Creativity: Courage

Human beings have a biological need to be accepted as part of a group. In tribal situations, being sent away from the group was a punishment that often resulted in the banished person’s death. One human alone would have difficulty surviving the elements, finding food, and fighting off those animals at the top of the food chain. Even as recently as the Middle Ages, banishment from a country was a punishment on the same level as death. We want and need to be accepted; taking the safe path and avoiding ideas that might not work allows people to feel safe. No group would banish someone for doing what he or she was told to do.

For better or worse, people also have a drive to explore. As tribes grew and competed for resources, people needed to push the boundaries and find places with more resources. Everything that has ever been discovered required someone brave or stupid enough to try it first. It takes courage to go over the next mountain to find food. It takes courage to convince your tribe to stay in one place while crops grow. It takes courage to suggest a new action because failure could mean laughter, ridicule and ostracization.

Creativity takes courage because it leaves the person open to all of his or her primal fears. The group may not only reject the creative work or suggestion, but also the person may lose status or membership in the group. That loss of an identifier may not be as physically bad as death, but it is as emotionally bad as banishment. In a business setting, standing up to your boss in the face of things that have always been done a certain way is rarely rewarded. More often, it is dismissed. Sometimes, it leads to being fired.

If you’re going to be creative, you have to be ready to face people who will tell you all sorts of things. You can’t make a living through creativity. It’s never been done before. It’s not safe. Don’t rock the boat. You’re too stupid, too clumsy, and/or too flighty to accomplish the new task. You may even face these arguments from your own internal editor.

As Elly Brown says, “Fire that guy!” Don’t listen to him, her, or them. Draw on your courage and create. It’s okay to be afraid; do it anyway.

For more on creativity, get “Disneyland Is Creativity: 25 Tips for Becoming More Creative.” Order “Penguinate! Essays and Short Stories: Creating for a Better Life and world.” Preorder “The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity.

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The ABCs of Creativity: Brainstorming

Creativity comes when people aren’t afraid to make connections or sound dumb. People don’t like to be judged or have their ideas called stupid, even if they sound out there. Brainstorming sessions attempt to put people in a safe place where there is no judgement and they can dream as big as they want to. As an idea generation practice, Brainstorming can provide hundreds to thousands of ideas, depending on how many people participate and how long the session is.

Brainstorming sessions should have between 8 and 12 people. The session should last about 45 minutes to an hour though longer sessions can be advantageous if there are appropriate breaks. All brainstorming sessions have rules. At Disney in their blue-sky sessions, imagineers follow these rules according to “The Imagineering Field Guide to Disneyland”:

  1. There is no such thing as a bad idea.
  2. No talking about why it can’t be done.
  3. Do not stifle ideas with “buts,” “can’ts” and other negative words.
  4. There’s no such thing as a bad idea.

Not everyone agrees that brainstorming is a good idea. Edward de Bono says it’s a waste because so many ideas are discarded and the time to come up with them is wasted thereby. The process is inefficient. However, creativity is inefficient, so the brainstorming session, when the plan begins, should be the most inefficient part of the process.

De Bono also notices that some people try to top others, so the session results in people coming up with the most outlandish ideas. For me, that’s part of the point of brainstorming. Like Disney imagineers, I believe you never know where the best idea is going to come from, and it could come from a connection to an outrageous idea that someone else had.

Others decry the fact that brainstorming sessions have no follow up step. That’s up to the business to create. Recording the ideas and having the team follow up is easier if someone has the authority, time and resources to move forward with new ideas.

If you want to have a lot of ideas to choose from, start with a brainstorming session.

For more ABCs of Creativity, check these links. Grab a copy of “Disneyland Is Creativity: 25 Tips for Becoming More Creative.” Order “Penguinate! Essays and Short Stories: Creating for a Better Life and World.” Preorder “The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity.”

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The ABCs of Creativity: Ambiguity

Most people want an easy answer, and the simpler the explanation the better. Unfortunately, these answers and explanations leave much to be desired, and they stymie creativity. Creativity is the process that humans go through when they create something new. It involves not knowing where one is going as much as it involves having a goal. While the two may seem to be diametrically opposed, they are actually both appropriate for creativity.

Ambiguity is the idea that you don’t know the answer. If you knew the answer, you wouldn’t need creativity to solve the problem unless you were looking for a better answer. Trying to find a path to the goal, you look for solutions, you don’t know which one will work or what you’ll find, but you stay the course and keep moving forward. With each experiment you get closer to your goal, but you don’t know when you’ll get there.

Nike faced this issue of ambiguity in 1971 when, as head of Blue Ribbon Sports, Phil Knight realized the relationship he had with the Japanese shoe manufacturer that would become Asics was headed south according to Popular Mechanics. He needed an innovation to stay in the shoe game.

Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman was facing a problem with his athletes in Eugene. A new urethane tack had been installed at the university and the athletes were having problems gaining traction on it. Metal spikes couldn’t be used because they destroyed the track. Bowerman looked at everything and anything that could help provide traction. He needed something that would work on multiple surfaces. He needed to be able to make a pattern on the soles of the shoes.

His wife decided to help him on a Sunday morning and made waffles. Bowerman looked at the waffle maker and thought it could work to make his soles. He ruined that waffle maker but was undeterred and went out to get more waffle makers. He had his sole, and Nike had its game changing innovation for athletic shoes.

Bowerman, and Nike, had to go through a period of ambiguity while he was searching for the answer to his problem. There was no guarantee that he would solve the problem and there was no template that showed him how to solve it. He had to keep looking in spite of earlier failures. He had to deal with ambiguity.

When you’re confronted with a problem that you don’t know how to solve, or even where to begin to solve it, you could walk away. Or you could look at it as a challenge and enter the ambiguous path that leads to creativity and innovation.

For more on creativity, check out these links and get “Disneyland Is Creativity: 25 Tips for Becoming More Creative” and “Penguinate! Essays and Short Stories: Become more Creative for a Better Life and World.”

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ABC Stores, ‘This Week Oahu’ and Creativity

In an interview with “This Week Oahu” (Nov. – Dec. 3, 2018, p.28), Publisher Kent Coules asked ABC Stores President and CEO Paul Kosasa why Kosasa would explore opening restaurants and other businesses rather than just continue to open more stores in his already successful franchise.

“’We like to experiment,’ says Kosasa ‘Doing the same thing over and over again breeds complacency. You have to take risks… By expanding our expertise, we’ve learned things that we’ve brought into the ABC Stores – and vice-versa.’”

Risk taking is essential for creativity. When you do something new, it is a risk. You could fail; you could make a mistake. It’s all part of the learning process, and risk-takers use those mistakes and failures as stepping stones to success.

Creativity happens at the intersection. With the expansion of his business operations into other fields, Kosasa has been able to bring what he’s learned from one domain (restaurants) to another (convenience stores).

One more point Kosasa made in the interview is that he drew inspiration for the Island Country stores from magazine photos. The Island Country stores are upscale grocery stores on Oahu.

Media is a good way to get inspiration and to refill your creative well. With more information input, you can make more creative decisions. The hardest part is knowing when inspiration is going to strike – maybe in a free magazine with an article about a local business that has extended its reach internationally.

For more on Oahu, check out these links. For more on creativity, get “Disneyland Is Creativity.” Order “Penguinate! Essays and Short Stories.” Preorder “The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity.”

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Penguinator Newsletter August 2019

Hey Penguinators and those who happened onto this newsletter!

How’s it going? Thank you so much for supporting us.

On Writing

We’ve been busy this past month trying out the Patreon promotion feature, and let me tell you, we utterly failed! I thought if I concentrated on getting new people to join, I would find them, and we’d have 30 new Penguinators on our creativity team. We got zero – that’s right, a penguin egg. Not a single new member… No one picked up on our first offer $30 for 3 months and you get a penguin, and no one wanted to challenge my writing skills on the subject of creativity.

But, if you’ve been paying attention, it’s amazing to fail! That’s a part of creativity, a part of growing and a part of life. If we weren’t failing it would mean we weren’t trying. Of course, the second part of failing is learning from it. So, what did we learn? I’m not sure, yet. Maybe we learned that our offers weren’t enticing enough. Maybe we learned that no one understands creativity and penguins. Maybe we learned that social media is a terrible thing to rely on when it comes to generating new leads. It is the first day since the last offer ended, so I still have to think about it more. What do you think we should have learned? Let us know in the comments.

My SEO job has been giving me fits. I’ve seen the writing on the wall since January; I just haven’t done very much about it. So, this month I started looking for other places to get writing or teaching work. I put a gig on Fiverr for editing and blog writing. I sent out request for anyone who might have leads for editing or writing. I haven’t gotten a paying gig, yet, but I’ve had one writer say he’ll use my editing services (at a deep discount) come August 5th.

I also signed up at as a writer. This is a revenue sharing website, but they only use subscriptions not ads. So, I get paid according to the number of people who interact with my writing versus other writings they interact with, i.e. they pay $5 and read ten articles, each writer gets 50 cents. That’s not exactly how it works, but it’s the gist of it. You’ll still be able to read whatever I publish their because I’ll have a friends and family link that I will add to our regular newsletter.

Speaking of regular newsletter… I have started an email list at If you sign up, you’ll get a code for 10% off your next purchase at our website. The emails I have planned going forward will come once a week with a compilation of all the articles I wrote at Penguinate for the week before. You can read why I am starting an email list by clicking on the link.

I have connected my Patreon to my website, so now I can put exclusive content on my website for you! I will always put a link to the content in a post on Patreon about the same time as the link on goes out. This is designed for me to be able to recruit new readers to our Patreon. If you prefer me to post solely on Patreon for you, please let me know. (If you’re reading this, you’re already on the website!)

In case you missed it, I was featured on the Sweep Spot podcast for my book “The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity.” Check it out.

On Penguins

In other news the penguins keep marching.  Checkers is in New Zealand and has his own Instagram account. He and his mom have been so supportive of us. They stepped up and purchased a Pay-It-Forward penguin. Some lucky child will get a penguin at Salem Holiday Market in December unless we find a reason to give it away sooner.

We also have a new penguin. We don’t know its name, yet. I was thinking Reggie, Regina, or Reginald, but I haven’t discussed it with Jenya, yet. Stay tuned for a “Meet the Penguin” post soon!

August 12 is our Patreon anniversary. August 14, I will release “Popeye, criticism and creativity.” August 22, will be our second Penguin of the Month photo. And on every Tuesday, there’s a behind the scenes photo shoot of the Penguin Countdown. All of these will be for Penguinators only.

That’s all I have on the news front for now. Thank you, Penguinators, for your support. I’ll be sending out an extra creativity article just for you sometime during the month of August. (If you’re not a Penguinator, and you’re reading this think about joining our Patreon for more penguins and more creativity.)

Below, I have sent out a copy of our first blog post email for our email subscribers.

Thanks again for reading and supporting.

Shad and Jenya.

This is what our first Mailchimp Blog summary looks like. If you sign up for our email list, you’ll get an update every week. It’s also available at mailchimp’s archives.

Look what we’ve written about over the last week! Thanks so much for being a part of the community! Creativity to the infinite power

Excerpts:The ABCs of Creativity: Well Creativity: Even if it’s fun, you sometimes need to step away to get better. 
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Did You Catch the Creativity Secrets in the Countdown? Almost everyone missed these Easter eggs in our Patreon countdown, did you?
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Behind the Scenes Photos with the Penguins Day 10 to 7 Behind the scenes for Patreon members only! 
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Layover at JFK? Problem solved with TWA: Photos from the Hotel Layover at JFK? Problem solved with TWA Hotel. 
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Just One Day Left for More Creativity Join now and be part of something bigger. 
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Heroes of the Haunted Mansion: Claude Coats Claude Coats provide atmosphere and more for the Haunted Mansion. 
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2 Days Left to Get More Creativity Just two days to go! For every 5 people that join our Patreon by July 31, 2019, I’ll write an extra creativity article! 
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Southwest Airlines Shows the Luv on ‘The Kindness Diaries’ Luv will find a way! on the Kindness Diaries. 
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What Would You Do if You Were More Creative? Three is the magic number to join our Patreon before this deal expires. 
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8 Cool Things about Penguins from 2 Videos Have you seen this adelie coming to rescue emperor penguin chicks? 
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Disneyland TV Videos on YouTube for Sunday Funday

Partners statue in Disneyland

(These videos may not be available in your region.) In 1954, the Disneyland TV Show premiered on ABC television. The show started a year in advance of the opening of the park and was a way for Walt Disney to use the power of television to advertise and drum up anticipation for his new park. ABC agreed to be the guarantor on a loan for the park. In return, the last place channel got quality entertainment from the most popular entertainment company in America. The show would run on all three networks for 36 years, missing only the 1984and 1985 season. For 25 of those years, it would air on Sunday. It was the second longest running show on television. Since getting rid of Netflix, Jenya and I have been exploring the offerings on YouTube for the Disneyland TV series.

Continue reading Disneyland TV Videos on YouTube for Sunday Funday