Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Everything begins with an idea. . . .

Everything begins with an idea --everything.  And I have been thinking about an idea I had for a business for about a year.  The last few weeks the first steps have fallen in place which is what happens when I feel things are meant to happen.  I have contacted a designer who will help me with my ideas, purchased a domain name, etc.  I am excited.  Cannot divulge the details yet, but I will when there is more to describe.  Meanwhile here are some quotes about creativity which includes all you writers out there.  I think that the process is just as exciting as the result, being part of the unfolding of your idea is all part of the creative process.

This quote by Eric Hoffer is my favorite because my idea began by being unhappy about something and the desire to change it.

Creativity is discontent translated into arts." - Eric Hoffer 

"Capital isn't so important in business. Experience isn't so important. You can get both these things. What is important is ideas. If you have ideas, you have the main asset you need, and there isn't any limit to what you can do with your business and your life."
— Harvey Firestone
The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas. 
-- Linus Pauling

I think that all bloggers have these ideas.  They read or see something and one idea leads to another about what they might want to discuss in their blogs.  Or they want to share a photo, a poem, a new book, a story, an observation.  The list goes on and on.

So here is a toast to all the creative ones out there.  Don't give up.  Make it happen.  It is magic.

What is your favorite quote about creativity?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Passion. What is Your Passion?

I thought about the word "Passion" and what it means a few weeks ago when we were in Park City, Utah.  Our hosts took us to a summer training area for Olympic ski jumpers.  We watched the jumpers ski down specially designed ramps which launched them high in the air, allowing them the room to twist and turn flips on their way down to finish into a bubbling swimming pool, the bubbles providing a target.  I thought about the passion and single-minded dedication it takes to practice their passion -- trying to qualify for the Winter Olympics.

"Fervor, enthusiasm, zeal, ardor" are synonyms.  And of course, there is a dark side to passion, the passion that is used for evil deeds.  

A friend from long ago talked about passion and how she regretted never having an intense passion like her granddaughter who lives and breathes ballet.  She speculated what that would be like.  Of course, there are sacrifices to make in order to be single-minded about these passions, whether they are in the arts, in sports, in politics, writing and more.  But I don't think that most of us have that single mindedness.  I don't.  Years ago I took some kind of test and what it showed was that because I had too many interests, I would not ever have that kind of passion, although I greatly admire those who do.

I am including a video we took of these amazing young men, and perhaps women, but I could not tell due to the padded outfits they were wearing.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Alex Navalny Released Pending Appeal

Alexei Navalny, the Russian activist I wrote about in the previous blog, has been released from jail pending his appeal.  This was a surprise move one day after he was convicted of embezzlement and sentenced to five years in prison.  What is unclear is "why"?   One comment in the paper was that it reflects the pattern of Russian politics of alternating between crackdown and reprieve.  Mr. Navalny is still running for mayor of Moscow.  Perhaps the authorities are leaving his candidacy in place to show that opposition candidates are participating.  He will still be subject to arrest once his appeal is ended.

There is an expression in Russian, "Na leva," which means "on the left" but more than that, it means "The right hand does not know what the left hand is doing."  This covers many things in Russia: politics, business, personal matters and "Na Leva" would cover Mr. Navalny's story as well.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Bravery, Micro and Macro

Today in the Wall Street Journal, there was an editorial about a brave Russian gentleman, Alexei Navalny, a lawyer and anti-corruption blogger, who is defending himself in a show trial in Kirov, Russia. He is being tried on trumped up charges of embezzlement.  But he is an leading opponent of Russian President, Vladimir Putin, who has adopted draconian new laws to put down protest movements and stifle dissent.  Quoting from the article and Mr. Navalny's comments, "Not one of us has the right to shirk from doing what's necessary to make our world better.  Each time someone thinks, 'Why don't I just step aside and simply everything will happen without me and I'll wait?'" There is more to this quote which you can look up in the Wall Street Journal.  He does not mince words.

Reading the article made me consider bravery in all its forms.  I have never been tested in my lifetime in "Macro Bravery,"  that is public stands that are dangerous or unpopular.  We all have experienced micro bravery, that personal fortitude in our lives when we face illness, our own or our families, making decisions in our relationships, taking physical chances, and all those micro stands that are known only to our family and friends and some outsiders. But to go against a regime which means prison, banishment, or death takes a fortitude that not everyone has.

We have been reading in the paper of Nelson Mandela's imminent death which gives some who really do not know much about his bravery and life, a chance to learn more.  Mr. Mandela went to prison for 27 years for going against the South African political regime at the time, sometimes using violence.  He spoke against Apartheid and other injustices and was given a long prison term.  But when the politics of South Africa changed, he was released and instead of being bitter and seeking asylum elsewhere, he stayed and became president and helped South Africa change to a better form of government.

There are many examples throughout history of brave men and women who took a stand against evil and oppression at the risk of their own lives, in many case their families lives as well.

Here in the United States we have the freedom to dissent, not that there might not be a few ramifications depending on what is said or posted, IRS audits, not-withstanding.

Just a few thoughts, a week after July 4th.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Birthday, United States of America, 237 Years Young!

237 Years ago, July 4th, 1776, 

"IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government. . . ."

And here we are 237 years later, just a blink in time and yet what changes we have seen here and in the world.  I included a copy edited by Thomas Jefferson.  This year, I read the Declaration again and was reminded of the power of these words.

Happy Fourth of July!