How did one creative entrepreneur turn a red paperclip into a house?
Well, it started with an idea. Like many Kyle MacDonald wondered how he could do more than deliver appliances and start his own online business.
So, Kyle brainstormed a bunch of ideas before a high school friend reminded him how they would play “Bigger and Better” by trading up items to see what cool stuff they could get.
What if he created an online version of the game, Kyle wondered. And that’s exactly what he did. Before he knew it, Kyle was traveling across the country and meeting with folks with interesting things to trade him.
Never sure what was next, Kyle trusted the process.
Here he is on 20/20 -
Of course, part of the problem is that as we get older we adopt a mindset that we’re not creative. As James Clear shows, having a fixed mindset we approach tasks as if our talents and abilities are fixed and unchanging. That’s like going up to bat with two strikes already against you!
When we were younger, we were not only in a growth mindset, but we were more open to possibilities. Research in neuroplasticity now shows that we can access this growth in new brain pathways but we have to turn the switch on. How? It’s a combination of exercising both physical and mental muscles.
I’ve written about what tango taught me about creativity. Believe me, there were plenty of times that this dance frustrated me! I wanted to get good.. fast!
Eventually, I learned how to focus on process instead of results. I know - it’s counter-intuitive but the less you focus on outcomes, the better the results. This is a lesson I also learned in the martial art aikido, in shooting on the ROTC pistol team, and now in writing.
Our drill sergeant taught us how shooting was a matter of trusting the process - only by relaxing and controlling your breathing do you hit the mark. Ironically, the more we focus on hitting the bullseye and anticipate the shot going off, the more likely we will jerk the pistol, throwing everything off and often completely missing the target.
Ever have to speak in front of a crowd? When you’re focused on your own nervousness, you get - yup, more nervous. That’s why it’s an old trick to picture your audience in their underwear. I have to agree that I don’t think this is a great idea because I know that I’m liable to be distracted and not in a useful way!
Here's our talk on YouTube -