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Wily Walnut's Blog

Unleashing your natural genius through creative thinking
and personal development techniques pushed to the Max!

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Apple core creativity

Monday, February 04, 2008

How is creativity like this big juicy apple that I am just about to eat?

I can't swallow it whole. Most projects are too big to do all at once.

To eat it, I've just got to get stuck in. Take a big ol' bite!

Chew that up! Enjoy the flavours. Relish the juice.

Then take another bite.

And another. And another.

Pretty soon, it's almost all gone. I've got to the core of the project.

And, what's this?


Seeds are new ideas for new projects.

You don't know about them until you've eaten a good chunk of the way into the creative project you are working on now.

From seeds you can grow trees, that will spawn even more apples.

That's the way of creative endeavour.

Start where you are. Take it one bite at a time. Enjoy the experience of chewing it up. Look for the seeds of other ideas that can come from what you are doing now. Empires are born this way.

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David Deida's Instant Enlightenment

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I am currently (as in right now -- I've just put the book down) reading David Deida's new book, 'Instant Enlightenment'.
David Deida is a master of using juxtapositions to free up trapped energy and experience expanded states of consciousness.
That's why I am recommending you take a look at his work.
He will blast you out of your 'stuck' points. If you let him.
He will free you from your righteousness.
From the creative thinker perspective, this is priceless. His brief essays in 'Instant Enlightenment' crow bar your mind open.
(Yes, yes, I know, a little understated. But I'm a shy, demure kind of guy like that.)
Anyway, David Deida has a neat little exercise in 'Instant Enlightenment' in the chapter labelled, SWEAR.
The idea is to think of the dirtiest, filthiest word you know. And then say it out loud, when you are alone.
You repeat this vile word several times.
And then you say, "I love you," while imagining that you are with someone you really love.
The exercise is then to alternate between saying your dirty word and saying "I love you" until you can say the swear word with as much love as you say "I love you."
You then escalate the exercise with a (willing) friend or lover, repeating the bad word and "I love you" to them until they can feel as much love in the swear word as in the actual saying that you love them.
Deida advises that you rinse and repeat this exercise with other swear words.
The ultimate aim being to "practice saying every word that you utter, from now on until you die, in a way that feels like 'I love you' to whoever hears it."
Isn't that great? I love that idea!
Oh and for all you cheeseballs who think that sounds too shmaltzy, there's a chapter on Hate just for you! ;-)

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Scott Berkun's Creative Thinking Hacks

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I like Scott Berkun's essay Creative Thinking Hacks. Scott is a public speaker, consultant and author of 'The Myth of Innovation'. He also teaches creative thinking at the University of Washington so he knows his stuff, writes eloquently and is worth listening to.

Take aways from the essay:

1. Scott's emphasis on debunking the myths and glamors surrounding creative thinking and stressing that "an idea is a combination of other ideas." ie. Keep it simple, keep it in reach.

2. This quote:

"All great creative ideas, inventions, and theories are comprised of other ideas. Why should you care? Here’s why: if you want to be a creator instead of a mere consumer you must see ideas currently in the world as fuel for your mind. You must stop seeing them as objects or functional things: they are combinations of ingredients waiting for reuse."

3. Solution to feeling uncreative: expand your awareness of the combinations available to you.

4. Creative masters develop "reusable combinations, or patterns, that can be used again and again to develop new ideas or modify old ones. "

5. Developing fearlessness with regard to creative thinking: "Being creative has more to do with being fearless than intelligent, brilliant or any other adjective superficially associated with creativity."

6. The importance of self-knowledge in the creative process.

7. Persistence: being there at 9AM ready to work regardless of whether you feel inspired. Creating inspiration through action, through DOING IT!

Check it out here:

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A technique for producing ideas -- book review

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Just to let you know of a book review that I've just uploaded on the creative thinking classic by James Webb Young called, "A Technique For Producing Ideas."


'A Technique For Producing Ideas' by James Webb Young is a classic little book on creative thinking.

I got my copy a couple of weeks ago and have just sat down and read right through it. Here is my review:

At only 48 pages long, 'A Technique For Producing Ideas' is a slim volume. However it is written with the clarity of a skilled advertising man. James Webb Young first published this book in the 1940s and it is now reprinted as a McGraw Hill Advertising Classic.

The back cover subtitle reveals it to be 'A Step-By-Step Technique For Sparking Creativity In Advertising or Any Field.'

Note the emphasis on ANY field.

You can read the rest of the review and get details of the technique here or at:


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Creative Renewal: Emptying your mind for creative renewal

Monday, January 07, 2008

Here's a new article I've just written on creative renewal. Seems appropriate for this time of year:


CREATIVE RENEWAL: Emptying your mind for creative renewal

How to get over a creatively DRY period and refresh your mind

Creative renewal is such an important part of the creative process. Every mind goes stale after a while. You need to empty your cup. Go on, chuck out the dregs of the previous 12 months. Empty yourself. Become new again.

Why is creative renewal important?
We run on energy. Bursts of inspiration and enthusiasm take us only so far. Towards the end we are running out of steam. Scratching the leavings from the bottom of the bowl. We start to fade, becoming insipid and uninspired. Our work lacks light. There is no 'joie de vivre', no spark. What can we do? How can we get our freshness back? How can we revitalize our thinking? The only way is through creative renewal. We must renew ourselves, shedding the old skins and growing into a new form... kinda like Madonna! She must be thousand years old by now, and she just keeps re-inventing herself. More power to her, I say!

Continue reading article on Creative Renewal here.

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Generalist: What role has the creative generalist?

Monday, July 23, 2007

What role has the creative generalist?

Exploring ideas, beliefs and paradigms, you become a generalist.

But what role has the generalist in the increasingly niche-ified modern society, if he/she never commits to any one idea, I wondered?

Fortunately, Steve Hardy has answered this better than I could have done.

See his blog: The Creative Generalist.

But first read his brilliant 18-page manifesto: The Creative Generalist: How Broad Thinking Leads To Big Ideas

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Your Multiple Paradigm Tolerance Factor

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Creative thinking requires exposure to many ideas so you can formulate new connections. Confusion can arise when those ideas include beliefs or paradigms of ‘ultimate truth’. The degree to which you can be flexible enough to shift from paradigm to paradigm without going crazy-bonkers can be called your multiple paradigm tolerance factor.

You wear sunscreen or sunblock cream with a high Sun Protection Factor to protect you from the burning UV rays of the sun. When exploring multiple paradigms you’ll need some kind of protection too. Otherwise you’ll get mentally burned. I speak from experience.

If you are an explorer of big ideas, part of the new age, or what’s commonly called a ‘seeker’, you can probably resonate with this concept. You’ve got a bookcase full of eastern and western philosophies. You’ve got Yoga, Chi Kung, you’ve got channelled teachings, you’ve got ancient spiritual texts, you’ve got this guru, that philosopher, the success gurus spouting quantum physics, and the agnostic scientist presenting his or her grand theory of everything. You’re hungry for Truth. You’re on a path to enlightenment. But you’ve no map, no clue, and everyone else is trying to sell you on their particular meme. Couple that with the demands of daily life, your aging body, and the challenges of getting ahead in this world. You’ve got a recipe for some serious existential stress.

So how do you deal with it? First off, recognise that there will be stress from entertaining multiple paradigms or belief systems. Accept it. Leonard da Vinci talked about the creative importance of developing a tolerance for ambiguity and paradox. In the space between two conflicting beliefs, there is opportunity for innovation, insight and the new. I think of that space as a kind of chaos, like the primordial chaos out of which new worlds are born.

I think once you’ve established that the stress of paradigm shifting will occur, it becomes part of the known. You’ve outlined it, which puts you back in the big picture observer role. This gives you the tolerance factor. The confusion chaos can now occur within the space of your awareness. And becomes more bearable because you are bigger than it, and have a rationale for it.

The other way of dealing with it is the simple brain dump. Just dump everything you are exploring and get some rest. Be normal again. Wake up afresh the next day and start again. Meditate a little. This will give you insight and space. The more mental space you can create the greater will be your multiple paradigm tolerance factor.

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Gently screwing with your mind

Saturday, May 19, 2007


Idea: Use simple 'reversal' thought exercises to shake up your thinking and make you more flexible and creative.

Example: We tend to think of what goes on in our mind's eye as 'inside' of us and what goes on in the world as 'outside' of us. What if you reverse that and look at the world as though it were inside your head. And when you close your eyes, imagine that what you see in your mind space is actually outside of yourself.

Think about it: Words were originally applied arbitrarily. A word was simply chosen to represent something. Man was called 'man'. Woman was called 'woman'. However those words become embedded in our consciousness. Like chewing gum stuck like cement to the sidewalk, they become part and parcel of the path we walk. Let's turn a high pressure hose on that sidewalk and blast that gum into the air to see what happens. Reverse things. What if in some altered reality men were called women? What if women were actually called men? Make up your own reversals and see what affect that have on your thinking.

Intentions: Let reversal thoughts gently lever your encrusted thoughts from their previously untouched foundations. By prising thoughts up like this, you allow space and room for new life to flow in. New life equates to freshness, novelty, flexibility and creativity.

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Unleashing altruistic creativity technique

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


In our on-going quest for additional ways to rub the magic lamp to release the creative genie-in-us (genius!), here's another grain for the millstone....

Most of us are intrinsically wired to be helpful.

So that means, if you are struggling to get ideas going for your own selfish reasons, try and tap into your innate altruism instead.

You'll be amazed at how much more creative and productive you can be when you are inspired to help another, help a cause, or help save the world.

Many of us lack for meaning and purpose. We aren't inspired. We have no real drive.

But if you can find some cause that you can relate to... watch out world! Here come the new super heros!

Would Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Albert Schweitzer or the Dalai Lama have been nearly so dynamic without the causes that they championed?

Can you imagine Winston Churchill without WWII? Could Walt Disney have made Disneyland just for himself? Where would Bill Gates be without his vision of an affordable PC in every home?

We need to build, invent, create and make for each other....


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Expand your problem to solve your problem

Sunday, April 22, 2007


Hey, what are you up to?

Here's a great problem solving mind trick that will make all those big bad problems seem like inky-dinky little problems that you can solve a lot easier.

Make your problem a lot bigger
Sounds crazy, huh? Why would you want to give yourself even more hassle, more confusion, more effort and more challenge?

By changing your scale of reference and the way you frame your problem, you change the way you feel about it.

Let's say you are a college wrestler and you have a tournament bout coming up. The guy you are to fight against is bigger than you. Oh no! What a problem!

But now what would happen if you imagine that instead of that one big guy you actually have to fight against 5 big guys? Imagine they're all on top of you and pinning you down and you have to struggle with all your might to try and move but it's next to impossible. What if you actually trained like that in real life -- you got 5 buddies to act as your opponents -- and you face up to this monumental task and struggle against insurmountable odds.

What's going to happen when you only have to fight the one guy in your tournament? It'll seem so much easier by comparison!

Making your problem look easy to solve
Try this technique out on YOUR problems and challenges. If you have a big sales quota that you have to achieve, imagine that it is 20-100 times greater and brainstorm how you would achieve that super big quota. Struggle with that idea and how you would achieve it. When you finally look back at your real sales quota, it will seem a lot more manageable.

Making your problems and tasks bigger and more challenging and mentally visualizing what you'd go through to meet that challenge or task, and then going back to your real problem is a great technique for getting rid of the fearful, critical, procrastinating inner voice. The change of scale makes your problems seem smaller and much easier to accomplish. Once you let go of the fear and doubt, your creativity can just do what it does best and come up with the ideas and solutions you need.

Upwards and onwards,
Wily Walnut

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How to stop being creative... and how to start being creative!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

What stops you from being creative? And how can you start being creative right now?

Here are some valuable pointers that I discovered in an 1997 article by top NLP trainer and author Joseph O'Connor:

How to STOP being creative:

  1. Be remorselessly practical.
  2. Be logical.
  3. Follow the rules.
  4. Be serious.
  5. Don't be curious.
  6. Avoid ambiguity -- jump to conclusions as fast as possible.
  7. Believe that mistakes are wrong and will be punished.
  8. Believe you are not creative. (It helps to have a narrow definition of creativity.)
  9. Believe there is only one right answer and you know it.

How to START being creative:

  1. Never mind if it is practical (for now).
  2. Logic can't be proved logically so it can't be much use whichever way you look at it.
  3. What rules?
  4. Have fun!
  5. Be curious.
  6. Bathe in ambiguity and enjoy it.
  7. Mistakes are feedback to get back on track again.
  8. Believe you are creative!
  9. There are plenty of right answers to go around.

~~~~~~~~ :-) ~~~~~~~~ ;-) ~~~~~~~~~ :-))

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Creative discernment and critical thinking

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Hey, what's up?

I seem to be getting a lot of messages hitting my radar that essentially concern the idea of being a little more discerning in your thinking.

I tend to be a kind of scatter-gun thinker in that I fire everything I can think of out there and just trust that something will hit the mark. To be honest, I think that works quite well for me, but I think it can also be quite irresponsible (when giving instruction to others). And that's something I'd like to change and upgrade in my life.

Creative thinking often requires that you take off all the brakes and just go for it. But the top creative thinker gurus like Edward de Bono (see video posted here a few days ago) really don't like that approach. They see it as lazy and ill-disciplined. But I think it's a good way for people who don't normally think of themselves as creative to bust loose from their self-imposed straight jacket and get to feel a sense of creative freedom -- and to start to create an identity of being a creative person.

The negative and positive faces of creative thinking
Let's get real about this though. Creative thinking can be used positively to affect a benificial result or it can be used in ways that actually end up limiting you. Let's give an example of that.
Okay. You are home alone. You hear a noise in the daytime and you think, 'oh that's just the hot water pipes' and you ignore it. But if you wake up in the middle of the night, the same noise occurs, and immediately your mind starts spinning creative thoughts of burglars, rapists, monsters, ghosts and ghouls, earthquakes, rats, or whatever your particular brand of fears are. Same data but under different conditions your creative ability has run in different directions. One way served you and the other left you in a state of irrational fear and dread.

The brain is a solution machine
Creative thinking occurs all the time. It seems to be intimately involved with the way you process information hitting your senses and understanding the world. Where there are breaks in your factual knowledge the mind creatively fills in the gaps with ideas of what a thing 'could' be. So, where the ancients had no factual knowledge of the world, they made up tales of powerful superbeings called gods who made it all work. Somehow the mind would rather have an explanation, even a false one, than to persist in a state of unknowing and mystery. If you closely examine your own life, you will find lots and lots of examples where you trade in such falsehoods in order to feel a greater sense of security in the world.

Upgrading your answers
Developing discernment about your answers requires more effort, there's no doubt about that. That's why so many of us shy away from it. It gets hard to stay thinking on a subject. We exhaust our thinking muscle all too easily. But there has to be a critical thinking component if you want to make sure you don't get trapped in old, out-worn, limiting and parochial ways of thinking. The old myths and legends from different cultures around the world make for great stories, but I wouldn't want to get caught in that limited mindset anymore than I would wish to go through life with a mental age of three. When we look back into history, we kind of smile indulgently and laugh inside at what people used to think. But we only have to project forward in time and imagine what future people will think of us to have the smirk wiped from our faces. No doubt, we are thinking in limited 'crazy' ways today -- and don't even know it. That's why you have to examine what you are accepting as fact. You have to test your beliefs from a perspective that demands honesty, clarity and real 'value-for-money'. Really the search is always for a better answer.

Questions that create control
Once you start to think of yourself as a creative thinker, then it's useful to channel your ability in practical and profitable ways. This requires that you create frameworks within which you can do your thinking, and have an evaluation system to continually push for upgrades in your ideas and results. Triggering profitable creative thinking obviously requires that you focus in on a particular problem, challenge or form of creative expression.

You can use questions to kick-start your mind's solution machine qualities...

How can I boost sales of this widget by 15% within 4 months?

What could I add as a bonus to my sales offer that would immediately increase conversions?

What could I do for our anniversary weekend that would absolutely blow my wife's mind and give her the biggest and best surprise of her life?

You can then use critical thinking type questions to evaluate your answers, and improve upon them...

Is it really realistic to think that you could project an advertisement onto the surface of the moon, or would it be better to focus on maybe getting ad space on the foam cups at the local ball game?

Hmm, do my gardening ebook customers really want a bonus ebook on 'How to care for your fence' or would they go for something more tasty like, 'Where to get garden plants at wholesale prices!'?

Is donning that fireman's uniform and performing a full monty strip show at her office really the way to show my appreciation for 20 years of marraige? Or could I do something more thoughtful, like take her to that place in France she's always dreamed about?

Okay, okay, not the best examples of critical thinking you've ever seen but I want to keep this light hearted and I know you are wise enought to get the main idea.

And the main idea is simply this. To focus your creative thinking in useful, productive and profitable ways that enhance and benefit yourself and others. To question and evaluate the fuzzy thinking in your life, and push to upgrade it. To fill in the gaps in your knowledge with facts and truths rather than creatively spun ideas. To push beyond what you are being force fed and ask, is this actually true in all situations? Could there be a better explanation?

I think that when we do this, we are part of the evolution and progress of humanity.

Okay, gotta go, take care,

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Edward de Bono video on creative thinking

Friday, March 23, 2007

Here's a video of Edward de Bono talking on the subject of creative thinking. (Look to the right of the video for links to more de Bono video clips....)

What do you think about what he says?

Wily x

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