The “Mother” of Invention

we can do itjpgWhat do the following have in common?
• Bulletproof vests
• Fire escapes
• Windshield wipers
• Laser printers

The answer is that they were all invented by women, smart, imaginative women, not cautious observers on the sidelines. Of course there are many more inventions that were created by women, but these are not in the so called, “pink industries” or women’s product ghettos. Why are fashion or cosmetics or family focused inventions marginalized by using dismissive language to describe their category placement? These are multi-billion dollar industries and growing every day.

How many more good or even great ideas have been passed on before they’ve ever had a chance to see the light of day? Afraid to fail? Get it right the first time! Women are diagnosed with depression and anxiety twice as often as men. According to Harvard psychologist, Shelley Carson, “ If someone criticizes her work, a woman is more likely to walk away, tail between her legs, and sulk, while a man tends to be aggressive and fight back: ‘You don’t like that one? Here try this idea!’ Perhaps testosterone does play a part in this responsive behavior. She states further, “Women have been socialized to please, and when we don’t, we feel bad about ourselves.”

According to other sources, women take missteps more personally than men do. We tend to be “intropunitive,” blaming ourselves for failure, whereas men are more likely to attribute failure to circumstances and the actions of others. Women tend to ruminate more, replaying and magnifying the setback and thereby increasing the temptation to quit.

So, how do we get beyond abandoning an idea or innovation? How can we turn on the creativity machine and turn off the inner voice? How big a part does fear of criticism or failure have to do with your success? We regret the things we did not do, far more than the things we did. Begin with your own process:
• Notice what you are observing and maintain an idea book.
• Brainstorm/discuss your idea/approach with a trusted group for feedback
• Pivot and change your strategy as needed
• Consider setbacks as learning lessons
• Don’t be afraid…Be inspired!


Journaling…To Write or Not to Write

imagesCA38GE3VWhat happens when we assign a name to an activity that was once not formalized as more than just writing? There is a seriousness, a decisiveness attached to it that is different now. You can find journals for travel, calling out to you with the illusive guarantee of a record to be kept alongside photos, ticket stubs and other mementos of trips taken. Baby books are timelines of another journey, so precious it is impossible not to note milestones on their pages. Fill in the blanks and your diary will come alive, your thoughts preserved for future reflection…or not.

It is easy to be overwhelmed by the myriad of options. After all, an abundance of stores and sites are dedicated to selling beautifully bound journals, pens and more. I should know better by now. I have shelves and drawers filled with them, gifts from friends or purchased by me, begun half-heartedly or abandoned to a newer addition. Each volume beckons with a promise of being the one that will be the keeper of my words, the container of my thoughts, the chosen one…or not.

At its best, journaling has a meditative quality. It is a peaceful activity, a grounding experience, an internal process that stops time for the moment. It is a good habit and once engaged, provides a platform for expression that is very personal. Likewise, there is no end to the self judgments that abound when not doing it in the proscribed form.

What are some other ways to get going when you are not inspired?
• Set a timer for 5 minutes and just write, sans punctuation, only stream of consciousness
• Select a single thought, object or memory and write-dig deep and just write
• Go backwards. Start with the end of your day and complete with the beginning.

If the “written” word is not the best way for you to express yourself:
• Speak or sing your thoughts into a recording device
• Draw, collage or use color in ways to convey your inner feelings
• Use music/instruments as a medium

Access your creativity in ways that support you best and perhaps intersperse one method with another. After all, it is about YOU finding YOUR voice and the best way for YOU to express yourself is changeable!

©2015 Maureen Weisner