DAY 0: Introducing Michael and Lance - Introduce Yourself - The Source of Creative Inspiration


You know that moment at the beginning of a roller coaster ride, as the cars slowly crank forward and then – usually – claw up that first hill, slowly, slowly, slowly… You experience suspense. Anticipation. The excitement of what is about to come.

Let me give you a brief introduction to me, your instructor. I am an internationally certified Master of Creativity and Innovation Coaching, as well as a Thought Leader Coach, Abundance Coach, Master NLP Practitioner, Executive Coach and Life Coach. I am also, very importantly, a working creative professional with over two decades of experience as a writer and filmmaker around the world. I am currently writing and producing three film/TV projects based on major South African novels. After graduating from Stanford, maaaany years aggo, my first real job was as a story analyst at Castle Rock Pictures - although I’m not sure I could call that a real job, as it mostly was done at the beach. I went to law school for a year, and upset everyone when after winning the Moot Court Award for Best Brief and the American Jurisprudence Award for Contracts, I quit to go become a struggling wanna be novelist in Prague during the famous “Paris of the 1990s” period. I wrote two books there that I threw away, but I also cofounded the international literary magazine TRAFIKA which was quite famous for a couple of years, with over a hundred articles and features about us in international publications and TV broadcasts. It was in Prague where I also started working in the TV industry myself, as a director and writer mostly of factual programming. Since then, I’ve lived in New York and Johannesburg, South Africa, and worked in the industry in the US, Europe and Africa. I’ve directed documentaries and reality TV shows throughout Africa including several stints in Nigeria, where I directed the last season of Nigeria’s famous home-grown reality show “Gulder Ultimate Search.” And yes, it might have been my fault that it was the last season. Soon after that I was hired as part of the launch team designed to take a local Nigerian station to international prominence as "the CNN of Africa" or the "Al Jazeera of Africa" - take your pick. In South Africa, my shows have won 5 South African TV and Film Awards (SAFTAs).  Primarily this was a hit music reality show called Jam Sandwich, through which I became friends with a lot of the top people in the local music industry. In 2010 I was hired to create a new televiseion school at the Academy of Sound Engineering in Johannesburg, which we called the Academy of Television and Screen Arts. We included the study of creativity as a core part of the curriculum. I developed the Innovation Explosion on and off over the following decade while teaching at the school. I am also a recovering addict with more than five years clean of all mind-altering substances at this point - as long as you don’t include education and transformational training as mind-altering - which of course, technically it is. My books INNOTIVITY: A Mind Makeover Manual and How to Dance with Uncertainty will be published in 2021. The first one composes a lot of the text content of this course. Over the past ten years I’ve developed this course you are now starting. Honed it, tested it, run it with a variety of types of people and companies.

But, this course is not about me. It is about you.

This course is designed to support you in regaining the creative genius you have watched slip away since childhood. You can do it. It’s not even difficult. It just takes focus, commitment and perserverance.

It is critical in doing this process that you select a project to focus on that you really want to complete. Not “me”. Although yes, you are a project, we mean a real, external project that you have left behind in the past but still want to do, or are struggling to move forward on now. This will give you clarity and a practical way to apply the practice you are building over the next weeks.

The course is about you AND your project.

So please, take a moment to go into the comments here and introduce yourself. And buckle up because you are about to go on a wild ride. We’re at the top of that first hill. Looking down. The view is pretty cool from here. And it all feels very gentle – for now.

A word on the videos that comprise this program….. At the beginning of each week, you’ll have one simple video from me, and one from me with Lance. The rest of the videos are not simple. Every video has been calculated and created to be memorable. The choice of images and music are designed to make each lesson an experience, not just information. At times they may even be a little confusing and you might find yourself watching the video two or three times. That’s perfect.

We're at the top of the first hill So buckle up. And away we go!

Do you want to be more creative? More inspired?

Great. So I want to make a few points about inspiration. I’m going to keep it simple and direct. As simple and direct as breathing.

So… While I talk now I would like you to breathe. Meditatively. Whatever type of breathing, whatever type of practice, whatever pace you feel is right for you. The point is just this: breathe. It’ll help me. It’ll help you. So just -

Breathe in. Breathe out.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

We are about to have the beginning of a conversation. This is a conversation I want you to think about during the entire 8 weeks of this program. Because this topic is incredibly important. The Source of Creative Inspiration.

The main question: does Creative Inspiration come from inside us? Or outside?

Consider these quotes:

“I myself do nothing. The Holy Spirit accomplishes all through me.” - William Blake

“Straight­away the ideas flow in upon me, directly from God.” - Johannes Brahms

“Creative people have to be fed from the divine source.” - Johnny Cash

In other words, inspiration comes to us from an outside force. For most of history creativity has been thought of this way.

In ancient Greece, art was called”techne" - the root of "technique" and “technology” it meant “making things.”

They had no terms corresponding to "to create" or “creator."

Plato asks in The Republic, "Will we say, of a painter, that he makes something?" and answers, "Certainly not, he merely imitates." 

This understanding of art had a distinct premise: Nature is perfect and is subject to laws, therefore man ought to discover its laws and submit to them, and not seek freedom, which will deflect him from that optimum which he can attain. 

The artist was a discoverer, not an innovator or an inventor.

On the other hand, one of the greatest quotes I’ve ever heard about creative inspiration is this:

“You can’t wait for inspiration to happen. You have to go out after it with a club.” - Jack London

Since I was a young writer thirty years ago, I have loved that quote. People are always saying, “I just don’t feel inspired today! I just don’t know what to do to feel inspired…” or “I only get inspired when I… get drunk, exercise first, etc etc… “

When I was younger, I used a lot of marijuana. I especially loved marijuana because it made me feel inspired. I spent months in a small Moravian village writing my second novel, getting high all day and being amazed at how great my work was. Side point - Moravia is a region east of Prague, famous for its wine. I drank a lot of that as well.

Of course, the work I did while I was high wasn’t usually that great after all, and in fact that effort at “inspiration” may have ruined that novel a lot more than it helped it.

Other ways I forced myself to get inspired were to ride up and down on public transport - and the exact opposite - sitting for ten to twelve hours without leaving my chair. Sometimes these worked well. Sometimes not so well.

But London’s basic point - that inspiration is up to us, not some outside force, was always on my mind.

Here’s another great quote on internal inspiration, from another writer, William Faulkner who supposedly said:

“I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately I am inspired every day at nine o’clock.”

That quote is also attributed to other writers ranging from Peter De Vries to Herman Wouk, Somerset Maugham and Raymond Chandler. But it doesn’t really matter who said it - the point is clear and the same point as made by Mr London… We must generate inspiration. It doesn’t come from outside.

And yet - doesn’t it?

For now all we need to deal with is this - the idea that Inspiration is something that comes, or doesn’t, and that we have nothing to do with it, is one of the creativity lies that we want to get out of your space right here and now up front. More to come.

Hello. Michael again, the creator and lead trainer of the Innovation Explosion creativity and innovation training. Or as we prefer to call it, “Innotivity.” 

Innotivity of course refers to the combination of innovation and creativity in one word, and it also means much much more. We’ll get to all of that in the course of the next 8 weeks. 

For now, I want to introduce you to Sir Lancelot, aka Lance, the Innotivity Institute Intern. 

Lance has only been with us for a short while, and yet for most of his life.

Most of the videos in the following series were made before Lance joined us, so he has asked that I include one video including him, Lance, in each week of the program. 

These are called Life Lessons from Lance and will go along with the section that is being addressed. 

We will deal extensively with a phenomenon you too may suffer from, known in Lance’s case as “Puppy mind.” Some know this as “Monkey Mind”… The difference between Puppy mind and Monkey Mind is that while Monkey mind never goes away, experience helps you overcome Puppy Mind automatically.

Although Lance suffers from Puppy Mind - as you can see - he knows from watching BonBon that he will grow out of it eventually.

So instead of battling against it, he can accept it and allow it to be as it is.

That’s today’s Life Lesson from Lance. Change your Monkey Mind to Puppy Mind and don’t struggle against it. Let it be, knowing that as you grow and learn, it will simply recede. 

It’s a great meditation technique - to observe your Puppy Mind rather than resist it. So take a minute or ten today to sit still and just observe what your Puppy Mind is doing.

There may, after all, be important and useful messages in it.

And of course, let us know what you think in the comments.

By the way, the other way to calm down Puppy Mind is by neutering, but I’m not suggesting you try that. Lance is going to have to go through it soon… Better him than you right?

Meanwhile both Lance and I wish you transformation, freedom and most of all FUN as you go through the contents to follow. 

75 videos and lots of reading is nothing to shake a stick at. 

Oh no, I said stick… 

There goes Lance!

We encourage you to comment liberally throughout this program. Each week, we offer a space to share your thoughts on your progress, and really whatever you feel is necessary. As time goes by and more people participate in this program, there will be more and more comments. The comments you find here, will provide you with a great resource as well, allowing you to see what others have been thinking along the way and perhaps even providing answers to questions you have been dealing with.

After the first round of this course, it was moved to its current location, meaning some of the original comments people made were not able to be saved. But never fear, over time, more comments will continue to accrue. So we encourage you to also check back and look at sections you have already been through and see what comments people have made about their own work, their thoughts on what is offered here, and so forth.

Most of all, enjoy the process and feel free to share. As the old saying goes, there are no stupid questions, and there are also no stupid comments!!

So, you can start here: Please introduce yourself. Who are you? What do you do for work and play? Why are you taking this training?