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Give Yourself a Wedgie

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What would constitute a Brain Wedgie in your world? What would make you think differently? How would you adjust your life accordingly? It’s easy to say you sympathize or feel someone’s pain, but it’s nothing like giving yourself the Brain Wedgie version. If you really want to know what your spouse goes through, walk in his or her shoes for a day, literally and figuratively. Want to feel what your kids feel? Attend their daycare center or school all day. Want to understand what homelessness is all about? Do it for a week.


Force yourself to experience the pain. You’ll be in control of the situation, so you can limit the pain in time and intensity, but you’ll still get a much better sense of someone else’s point of view. Give yourself a Brain Wedgie to prepare yourself for trouble you might someday face—divorce, bankruptcy, or anything else you dread. Writing a living will or signing an organ-donor card forces you to face the ultimate Brain Wedgie.


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image: ©Brett Lamb

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It Wasn’t Me!

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Somewhere along the way to adulthood we picked up the crazy idea that honesty is the best policy. I’m not so sure. Honesty lifts ordinary relationships to dizzying levels of love, but it can also kill romance. It could be downright cruel to answer, “Do these pants make me look fat?” with total candor.


It’s just plain stupid to tell the whole truth when you’re making a deal. Say you’re shopping for a car and the salesperson asks you, “What are you really capable of paying?” Or suppose you’ve convinced someone to hire you and after you state your salary requirement, you’re asked, “But how much money do you really think you can get by with?”


Ever hear of the show Kids Say the Darndest Things? It featured 4- to 8-year-old kids who displayed pure, unabashed honesty and the ultimate in bare-knuckled, lying-through-their-teeth storytelling. But from the kids’ point of view, they weren’t lying. They were giving the conversation the momentum of a flowing stream. They still had the makings of improvisational genius.


Lying is a great way to exercise your imagination. Comedian Jon Lovitz made a career out of lying with his Tommy Flanagan character, the pathological liar famous for, “Yeah, yeah, that’s the ticket!” This kind of harmless lying is so obvious that no one would ever believe you—it forces you to invent facts rather than rely on what you know to be true. Lying, also known as exaggeration or embellishment, keeps the momentum of a good story even better. It prompts your listeners to challenge you either out of curiosity or suspicion. Lying forces you to shift your train of thought quickly and inadvertently you may find a new way to attack a problem. It can also break down cemented beliefs.


Why not tell a tall tale to explore the outer fringes of possibility? It’s a great way to exercise your creative mind. It will sharpen your wits and better prepare you for the day you have to lie to save your skin. Start by stating the opposite of what you want to say. Then go with it. Let your imagination run as long as you think you can improvise before you start reeling your story back in toward the truth.


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image: © KidStock/Blend Images/Corbis

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Ponder Nonsense

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Nonsense stretches your brain. It’s also fun. It helps you think about things that don’t exist or can’t be. So how can we talk about them? Read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Ponder the following two self-contradicting statements.


There are only 2 groups of people in the world: those who fall into one of those two groups and those who don’t.


Everything I say is true, except what I just said


Ponder the imponderables. Try to answer in your own way, the world’s ultimate questions. These questions may or may not ever be answered. But thinking about them will lead you to some interesting ideas. It will also clear out some of the cobwebs in your warehouse.

• Why is there something rather than nothing?
• Does Nameless Creek in Indiana have a name?
• Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
• Does God think?


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image: xroads.virginia.edu

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Shout Out Ideas, Get Embarrassed Later!

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All knowledge is pliable. Like gold, the malleable precious metal, ideas can be shaped and adapted without losing and even increasing their value. The more ideas and information you hold in your brain, the more opportunities you have to make outstanding connections. Couple a sky full of brilliant ideas and stellar information with a spark plugged, pliable, nimble brain like Einstein’s, and you get ideas that change the world.


Nevertheless, even Einstein fell into the trap of tossing out ideas that didn’t seem to make sense. In 1917 he postulated that empty space is not totally empty, instead it has its own “invisible energy.” This dark energy, he continued, would act like gravity in reverse, causing galaxies to repel one another rather than attract. Nah! Einstein dumped the idea, thinking it was just too weird.


New astronomical evidence, however, suggests not only that repulsion exists but also that it began to overwhelm gravity in the last few billion years, just as Einstein’s theory stated. What else did Einstein toss? What ideas have you tossed because they were simply too weird, too hard to pull off, not on brand? What meetings have you attended where you bit your tongue at the risk of introducing an idiotic input? And to whom? How many great ideas have died just because someone was afraid to offend the beliefs of a group?


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image: © Chris Butler/Aurora Open/Corbis

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Don’t Put That in Your Mouth!

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While you’re out there testing life all over again, try startling your senses the way you did when you were too naïve to know better. Scientists know better. They use chemicals and instruments to analyze things and come up with useful information. However, you don’t need to invest a lot of money on the same instruments to come up with solutions to problems.


We suggest that you investigate the world with more than one or two of your senses. Don’t assume you can’t listen to a flower or that a rock doesn’t smell like anything, or that there’s no way you can improve on your product or process.


Take a step back. When you’re stuck on a problem of any kind, think of how you can investigate the situation with all your senses. What ideas does your multisensory investigation suggest? You’ll be amazed at the power of understanding that every piece of stimulus can deliver. Suddenly, lots of possibilities arise.


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image: © Tom Kelley Archive

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Make Empathy Pay

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Empathy means really trying to understand what someone else goes through instead of how his or her behavior affects you. Sometimes this entails examining minute details of that person’s daily activities. Just as the inventor of Bounce went through every mundane activity involved in softening a load of laundry. In the 70’s, softening clothes was built on timing between wash cycles, if you missed the timing window you ended up with clothes that felt like cardboard. After watching his wife jump out of her chair with softener in tow, when the washing machine would start a new cycle, the inventor of Bounce, P&G’s Ted Geiser, created a solution for softening after the wash was completed.


Spending time in the life of the people you live and work with will give you balance and help keep some perspective on life.


Whose life should you spend time in? Your spouse, your kids, a close friend or lover? Follow their schedule. What do they absolutely have to get done today? Can you help? Your help might free them up to spend more time with you. What about at work? Your boss, a coworker, or someone who works for you? Think of how you can get into their shoes. Feel their pain, their discomfort and help them achieve what they wouldn’t and couldn’t without you.


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image: © Rebecca Emery/CORBIS

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Constructive Deconstruction

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Take something you think is totally true and utterly destroy it. Tear it apart, examine it closely, break it in different ways, find out and record its limits. It’s easy to destroy something you don’t value. Start with a gold standard—Mt. Rushmore, motherhood, Elvis, organized religion, real men don’t cry. The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you.


Break your test subject into its elemental parts. Once you’ve got it in pieces, ask yourself how you might improve each piece, overcome its limitations. What would you do first? What parts belong? What can go? Which need to change? Put the pieces back together in new ways. Give it a facelift. Find new opportunities for different parts and combinations.


Go at it the way you did as a child, before you developed the restraint that comes from years of reinforcing a belief. Most of what kids destroy, they’re seeing for the first time. So they’re more likely to have a pliable understanding of what they see. That makes them more likely to bust it up. Pretend you’re looking at your subject for the first time. Leave all of you assumptions behind.


Lorne Michaels, creator and executive producer of Saturday Night Live, rebuilt the program after purging its line up of stars, writers, and staff from the bottom up more than once. He came up with a better show almost every time. Okay, some will debate which crews were better than their predecessors, but SNL remains the longest running comedy show in the history of television. Not just the longest running live show.


You can find the same kind of constructive deconstruction anywhere with cars that have undergone total overhauls—Mustang, Corvette, Thunderbird.


Once you’re good at this exercise, you’ll find you do it almost instantly when you have doubts about more mundane issues such as accepted business practices, relationship rules, and all kinds of conventional wisdom. The better you get at busting things up, the more quickly and easily you’ll be able to turn uncomfortable or unacceptable situations into situations you can and want to handle.


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image: www.mbandf.com

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What’s Driving Conscientious Consumption?


Your Health, not something to negotiate with but recent health care law changes and the resistance of insurance companies to support these changes have caused behavioral backlash. Consumers are more aware of what they ingest, so much so that they are buying less processed foods at staggering levels. They are reading labels, and calculating. Adding up their protein and carb intake all to help figure out how to make a difference in their life.


With this increased tension and knowledge comes opportunity. BETTER FOR YOU INTERNAL SOLUTIONS, are all about consumers finding do-it-yourself solutions, that will help stave off late night emergency room visits or the downside of dealing with that pre-disposition to heart disease passed on by your mother. Think about it, one meal, three times a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, it adds up quickly, to profound results. If you change certain habits, you will make significant changes in your life.

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Right down to drinking a beer that is better for you, possible?

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Sources:
www.springwise.com
www.leanmachinecanada.com
image: ©Aubergine Studio/SoFood/Corbis

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SkinnyFats


The restaurant industry is probably one of the most creative categories. If you can think it up, there’s a restaurant somewhere serving it up.


Regardless of your type of lifestyle, or your cravings, there is a fast food chain or restaurant that is sure to fit your needs. But how can a restaurant satisfy the needs of the health conscious teenager, the guy who will eat just about anything, children who think fried chicken is the only good food on earth, and the picky eater all at the same time?


A common problem consumers face is pleasing everyone’s dietary needs. It’s often a pain to find a solution for all diets.


SkinnyFats in Las Vegas is a gourmet kitchen that offers a variety of meals that is sure to solve this problem.


Their menu allows consumers to choose between eating healthy, or to indulge and be happy. Their “Healthy” menu offers healthy selections like fresh cold pressed juice, salads, and gluten free entrees, while their “Happy” menu consists of Phatty Philly, Bomb Diggity, and Cheeseburger Benedict. Is this indulgent food that is a little better for you? OR Healthy food with more taste? What do you think??


SkinnyFats allow people to have the best of both worlds. Leaving the option to eat healthy or indulge and be happy to consumers.

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Not So Local


Something becomes a trend because there’s a growing consumer desire for it. However, just because it’s a trend doesn’t mean companies are given permission to twist the truth.


We know that the trend for local sourcing has become really important to consumers. A lot of companies have reviewed how they source their products, and decided to operationalize local sourcing. On Extra Piece of Chicken, we don’t like to feature the negatives. But in this case, what companies like Orange County Produce overlooked is that they have to be 100% truthful about their claims. Packaging imported products doesn’t make them locally sourced. You have to actually source it locally if you’re going to make the claim. It’s more than a trend, it’s being truthful to your consumer who has started to distrust companies. They want to trust again and trust something that they can easily trace.

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