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Are You In, Genius?

Posted on August 02, 2011 @ 12:12 PM in Uncategorized

Love that line from a Bugs Bunny cartoon episode! Well, are you? Ingenious, I mean.

Most of us tend to think that people are either creative or they’re not. That creativity is somehow limited to musicians, actors, writers, artists, dancers and other practitioners of the arts.

Albert Einstein considered imagination to be the greatest human attribute, ahead of reason and logic.

All of us are born with creative abilities. Have you ever told a story? Or a lie? Both require imagination!

Here’s a story for you. And I swear it’s not a lie.

When I was working full-time in the ad department of a then-unknown start-up called Business Depot (the Canadian entry of Staples), we had a little galley kitchen where everyone made sure the coffee was always on.

Early one morning, the company president dropped by while I was filling the pot. Jack had an accounting question for my boss, who had not yet come in, so he made the BIG mistake of asking me.

“Lou Anne, that budget item yada yada yada was it blah blah blah or was it accrual?”. He might as well have been speaking Venusian for all I understood of it. I politely asked him to repeat his query. “That budget item, was it blah blah blah or was it accrual?”

I still had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. Pregnant pause while I struggled. Then I looked at him quizzically and asked, “A cruel what, Jack? Joke?”

He actually planted his hands on his knees and bent down a little so he could look me straight in the eye. His glance darted back and forth as if searching my soul, trying to figure out whether or not I was having him on.

He must have decided that no, I wasn’t kidding. Just clueless.

His face relaxed, his dark eyes were twinkling and I could tell he wanted to explode laughing but wouldn’t until he was safely back in his office. Finally, he pointed a stern finger and said, “Promise me something. If you ever leave Advertising, do NOT transfer to Accounting.”

Hey, no problem there, Big Guy. The last thing in the world I’d ever want to do is work with numbers. In fact, whenever I was in a meeting and numbers were mentioned, I had to mentally visualize the numbers written out as words in order to grasp them at all. “Forty-five thousand two hundred and seventy-one dollars and fifty-three cents. Canadian.” Got it!

Now you know why I can’t get the hang of Excel. My wordy numbers won’t fit.

Jack was the best leader a creative type could hope for. He once told us to be as off the wall as we liked because, “It’s much easier for me to rein you in, than to keep pushing you to your limits.”

He encouraged us to “think outside the box” LONG before that insipid phrase was first coined.

Here’s an inspiring TED talk on the nature of creativity, beautifully delivered by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the best-selling book, Eat, Love, Pray.

Nothing cruel about it, Jack. The genius is IN.

Please leave a comment below the video. And be creative!

Elizabeth Gilbert on Nurturing Creativity

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2 Responses to Are You In, Genius?

  1. Well Lou Anne I enjoyed the laugh. I had no idea that you felt that way about numbers. Actually I’m always concerned about my errors that escape me before I press the send button for emails which I send you. Oh how I wish that there was a spell / grammar checker here!!! I feel so insecure. English was my worst subject in High School. Although, I never met a number that I didn’t like. I only wish that I could think more of numbers and formulae as my hero Albert Einstein. I’m rather simple compared to him and his fellow theorists.

    Actually numbers are your friend. Even as I type this blog, my words are being transcribed into “Numbers”! Otherwise the computer could not understand my / our words. Furthermore, you probably know that the computer uses only two numbers “0″ and “1″ – basically viewed by the computer NOT as numbers but “off” and “on”.

    I think with your excellent memory you could I’m sure use the computers’ number system, i.e. binary. Once you master that you would be faster and better than all number crunchers. You would then be know as “The Cruncher” and the rest of us would be known as the “The Crunchees”!

  2. Thanks for your kind and interesting comments, John! It’s a good thing we all have different talents, but I often do wish I had better “cipherin’ skills”! The only “Cruncher” I could ever be would perhaps be Mrs. Jerry Cruncher…LA