monday motivation

Special Delivery

Hey there,

It’s Monday. I got this flower for you. You’re beautiful. Have a great week.

xoxo,
Kohl

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the mathematics of collaboration

mathematics of collaboration

Better Together

The success of your project isn’t equivalent to how competent each individual is on your team, but the how well connected and collaborative that group is toward a common goal.

Sufficiently inspired this morning by Marty Neuheimer’s book The Brand Gap. Even it’s layout is a source of inspiration.

Go turn it up to an 11 today.

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combinatorial creativity & why it matters

combinatorial creativity

Stop the Insanity

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” – Albert Einstein

Though there are dozens of quotes similar to this attributed to Albert Einstein and others, the core thought is something we can’t be reminded of enough. We too easily fall into the same patterns of thinking, even as we are confronted with new problems and challenges.

I recently learned a term that has helped me to process through this age old paradox and encourage me toward healthier problem solving. I wanted to share it…

Combinatorial Creativity


The basic principle is that, nothing is truly original and all newly created things are put forth by innovators borrowing from a variety of thoughts, perspectives, and designs to create something new from the COMBINATION of those influences.

Even this statement has the tendency to come across as elementary or cliche, but how often do we think “harder work” will allow us to solve new problems? In fact, the more we consciously dwell on a problem that requires an innovative solution, the more likely we are to corner ourselves into the nooks of the familiar, entrenched in habitual patterns of thought that lead where they always have.

If we believe this to be true we need to stop reading more business books to find our solutions. We need to stop adding more meetings to gain the necessary perspective on the problem we’re trying to solve. What we must do instead is pursue our interests outside of work as fervently as we do the success of our vocation. It’s very possible (dare I say probable) that the solution you’re looking for is within your next visit to the museum, or when you’re playing your guitar and trying to write a song.

If you want proof, read biographies (or watch them on Netflix) that cover someone you truly respect. What you invariably will find is that this person took a very winding and circuitous path to arrive at the point of their prestige. They were able to borrow ideas from their broad array of experiences and interests to create something we all view as new or revolutionary.

Go do something different. Go do something that inspires you.

{NOTE: If you’re interested in reading further about combinatorial creativity, you can read this great article on Smithsonian Magazine’s website}

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comfort zone

Uncharted Territory

I just had a conversation with my brother about how our best learning and biggest moments of growth take place outside of our comfort zone. When we lose sight of what we know as familiar and we are forced to rely on our instincts or the grace of others to navigate uncharted territory.

We don’t go to this place often enough, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find it again.

Step out. Be courageous. Ask for help.

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less social media, more connection

Lessons learned when logged out.

I started off the year taking a break from social media. It proved to be a really positive and simple way to recalibrate priorities for the year ahead. I wanted to share a few thoughts on how it was helpful for me and to encourage you to consider taking a break yourself. 

1) It challenged my default habits.

How often do you turn on your phone and before you even realize it you have opened Instagram and you’re mindlessly scrolling through your feed? Muscle memory takes over and by default you have trained yourself to know exactly where your favorite apps are. You open them. You waste time. You’re mad at yourself. 

Even as I vowed to not use social media and logged out of all my accounts, I still clicked on the apps. However, I was quickly reminded this wasn’t an option and it forced me to engage with my surroundings (in a good way) or think about what I actually needed to be doing. 

2) I stopped thinking in tweet size thoughts. 

I am constantly taking in my surroundings and trying to think how to distill thoughts or funny anecdotes into 140 characters. I didn’t fully realize how much I did this until I stopped using social media, and I was not proud of it. 

Spending less energy crafting witty sentences in my head allowed me to do one of two things: a) realize the subject matter wasn’t important and more quickly move on, or b) allow me to spend more time digesting the concept instead of trying to shrink it to down to two sentences. 

3) I spent more time with my wife. 

My wife did the social media fast with me and simply put, we were able to spend more time together. We are very guilty of laying in bed and catching up on the lives of our friends, as opposed to diving deeper into how the day went for one another. 

It was a healthy and very important reminder for us. 

4) I did more important work online. 

I filled the time I would normally spend crafting an Instagram caption in much more important ways. There were a handful of things that I always meant to do (research college savings options for our son, researching a new camera I wanted to buy, read that one article, etc.), but inevitably those activities I wanted to do fell by the wayside when I opened my phone and got wrapped up in incessant scrolling. 

I had an extremely productive January and felt good about how I set a solid foundation for the new year. There wasn’t drastically less screentime for me but I was definitely more productive 

All in all, there were some great personal realizations that came from this exercise. Mind you, I only stopped using social media for TWO WEEKS. One of my biggest realizations is that this needs to happen frequently. Checking out and recalibrating your activities is a vital life practice. 

Now, go log out of all your social media accounts and engage the world around you. 

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