Fields of opportunities


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Rock the Road Raffle – Prostate Cancer Canada Campaign

Raising campaign awareness was the goal of this creative project for Prostate Cancer Canada.  The video was used across their social media platforms to help raise funds through the raffle for important research.  It is one example of how video can be an easy and effective way of reaching thousands of people with your message.

#RockTheRoadRaffle #ProstateCancerCanada

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One way only?

The road to creating a digital strategy in a continuously shifting landscape is challenging.  We must continue to evolve and learn with the growing digital marketing industry.  With so many options for business solutions in the realm of digital marketing, it can be difficult to separate quality from quantity.

The creative process in developing a logo, website or social media strategy are different for each individual situation.  What is required for one, may not even make sense to implant for another business. The only absolute is that there is NO ABSOLUTES.

We believe in creating thought provoking design and solutions that will leave a lasting impression and get a reaction.  Isn’t that what good design is supposed to do, to get you to go in a certain direction.

We would like to work with you to create a strategy that works for you, and allows you to move at your own pace with our assistance.  Our background and passion is in Graphic Design and our strength lies in being uniquely creative which comes from being uninfluenced by the quo yet being aware of its existence.  It is like the reverse use of momentum in Judo.

There is no right way or magic formula, just using all the tools we have available to help you achieve your communication goals.  Sometimes you have to go off the main road to reach your destination and it doesn’t mean you are wrong…

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Call Tesla on your cell phone…

Nikola Tesla Describes the Modern Smartphone — in 1926

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Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) was a pioneer scientist during the turn of the 20th century best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system. Tesla was a physicist, mechanical and electric engineer, inventor and futurist, as well as the possessor of a near-eidetic memory. He spoke eight languages and held 300 patents by the end of his life. His legacy has experienced a major resurgence in recent years — the name Tesla, as you might have heard, is way in vogue right now — as many of his predictions about power and communication have come to fruition.

The quote below does well to show just how prophetic Tesla was. Here he basically sums up a modern smartphone… in 1926:

“When wireless is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole. We shall be able to communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance. Not only this, but through television and telephony we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distances of thousands of miles; and the instruments through which we shall be able to do his will be amazingly simple compared with our present telephone. A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket.” -Nikola Tesla, 1926


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Canada’s can-do attitude begins by encouraging students

“As a boy growing up in Brantford, Ont., I knew that anyone could make it in Canada just by believing in themselves. I tied up my skates every day and practised relentlessly.” Wayne Gretzky

Contributed to The Globe and Mail

Every great country has a national mantra. The American Dream stipulates that anyone, no matter what their background, can be a success if they work hard enough. Canada has no equivalent catchphrase, but the can-do values of hard work and perseverance have been a staple of our country for centuries.

Canadians value determination and those who succeed. Immigrants choose this country as their home because they know they will be afforded every opportunity in life, no matter what their circumstances. As a boy growing up in Brantford, Ont., I knew that anyone could make it in Canada just by believing in themselves. I tied up my skates every day and practised relentlessly.

That’s why it was disappointing to read Margaret Wente’s recent column(“Why grit is highly overrated”) arguing that some hard-working students should not be given the chance to overcome their difficult circumstances.

Ms. Wente advocated that schools focus more on stimulating the “brightest” students, while also doing a better job of ensuring that disadvantaged students can “read and add” and become good citizens. This was based on new research showing that “grit” is largely a hereditary trait, not something that can be learned.

It is my fundamental conviction that perseverance is a key to success in school, work, and life in general – and I’m living proof. That’s why I was honoured to be inducted into the Horatio Alger Association of Canada as a member in 2003. This association believes that hard work, determination and honesty can conquer all obstacles.

We provide 85 annual scholarships of up to $10,000 to high-school students who have overcome adversity while demonstrating strong character, a good academic record and a desire to contribute to society. The scholarships are fully financed by association members, a group of successful Canadians and Americans who have overcome their own adversities.

Our 2016 scholarship recipients prove that grit is anything but overrated. Their average annual family income is $20,042. One-fifth of the recipients experienced death of a parent or guardian; 12 per cent experienced incarceration of a parent or guardian; 42 per cent experienced abandonment; 14 per cent have been in foster care; 28 per cent have experienced some form of abuse; 20 per cent struggle with physical or mental disabilities. Three-quarters of them work during the school year to help their families. And yet, they continue to push forward and work for a better future for themselves.

The association received thousands of applications for these scholarships – each representing a determined student who would be left behind if perseverance were devalued by society. Thankfully, groups such as the Horatio Alger Association of Canada continue to encourage students who demonstrate true “grit” and show them that their efforts are not in vain.

Ms. Wente may not be the ballet dancer her six-year-old self dreamed of. But there is no doubt that her successful career as a journalist is the result of a persistent drive for excellence in her early life.

To suggest that some may not be worthy of this same opportunity, and that unless they are born with these traits there is no point in trying, is beneath anyone who believes in equality of opportunity for all.



#UnherdPro #Blog #Practice #Repetition #Athletics #Motivation #Sports #Psychology #Canada #Wayne #Gretzky

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The Secret To Creativity:

Become An Intellectual Middleman

The most creative people combine old ideas in new ways. Here’s how to get better at mixing things up.

In Charles Duhigg’s new book on productivity, Smarter Faster Better, he devotes a chapter to how innovation happens. The answer? Generally not as lightning out of the blue.

One analysis of scientific papers found that the most creative ideas contained deeply conventional ideas, but also combined things in ways that they hadn’t been combined before.

One of the researchers on that project, Northwestern University professor Brian Uzzi, told Duhigg, “A lot of the people we think of as exceptionally creative are essentially intellectual middlemen.” That is, “They’ve learned how to transfer knowledge between different industries or groups. They’ve seen a lot of different people attack the same problems in different settings, and so they know which kinds of ideas are more likely to work.”

So how do you become an intellectual middleman?


“People become creative brokers,” Duhigg writes, “when they learn to pay attention to how things make them react and feel.” You are a human being, and your emotions and experiences can provide fodder for doing old things in new ways. He attributes the creative hit theme song from Frozen, “Let It Go,” in part to songwriter Kristen Anderson-Lopez’s experience of feeling judged at times, and not thinking she should apologize for not being perfect. As Frozen writer Jennifer Lee told Duhigg, “‘Let It Go’ made Elsa feel like one of us.”

Keep a journal. Take notes. Get your head out of your phone. All of these increase awareness of the world and yourself. When you find yourself reacting to different things in the same way, take notice. There may be something there.


You can’t combine ideas from disparate fields if you’re not cognizant of disparate fields, or even of distant branches of your own industry. “Large fields tend to have different communities, even though they’re part of the same field,” Uzzi told me in an interview.

“These sub-communities rarely ever cross talk.” So go figure out what’s going on elsewhere. Follow experts in other fields on Twitter. Buy new-to-you magazines in an airport bookstore if you’ve got time to kill. Go to the library and pick up books in a section you don’t normally browse. Attend a new conference and see what you find most interesting, or attend a new-to-you track of a conference you already frequent. While you’re in a town on business, take a quick swing through a museum that’s a bit out of the box for you. You never know where interesting ideas will come from.


This is harder than it sounds. The modern world is good at putting us in little bubbles. We naturally seek out kindred spirits, and even if we pride ourselves on achieving some metrics of diversity (friends and colleagues from various racial groups) we can miss others.

New York Times columnist David Brooks recently wrote that he and others had been blindsided by the alienation that white, working-class Donald Trump supporters felt. “We expected Trump to fizzle because we were not socially intermingled with his supporters and did not listen carefully enough,” he writes. “For me, it’s a lesson that I have to change the way I do my job if I’m going to report accurately on this country.” You have to consciously put yourself in places you would not normally go, and seek out conversations you would not normally have, including with people who disagree with you.

“It’s really about maintaining diverse relationships,” Uzzi told me, with a focus on the relationship part. “To be creative with someone you really have to trust them,” he says, and “the people most unlike us are the people we have the hardest time trusting.” Figure that part out, though, and you can become a much in-demand intellectual middleman.


Unfortunately, simply stringing together concepts from disparate fields will not guarantee good ideas. You’re just as likely to get what sounds like a bad improv sketch. (“What if we played basketball underwater?”) But creativity is also a numbers game. Next Galaxy CEO Mary Spio writes in her book It’s Not Rocket Science: 7 Game-Changing Traits for Uncommon Success, that “the more possibilities you imagine and the more knowledge and experience you gain through following your curiosity, the larger your information database and the greater your chances of connecting never-before-connected dots.”

Ideas tend to multiply, and if you come up with a lot of combinations, eventually there will be some decent ones in there.

SOURCE: http://www.fastcompany.com/3058554/how-to-be-a-success-at-everything/the-secret-to-creativity-become-an-intellectual-middleman

#UnherdPro #Blog #Motivation #Think #Unherd #Design #Creative

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The Power And Problem Of Grit

APR 5, 2016

Before she was a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, Angela Duckworth was a middle school math teacher. As a rookie teacher, she was surprised when she calculated grades. Some of her sharpest students weren’t doing so well, while others who struggled through each lesson were getting A’s.

FULL ARTICLE: http://radio.wpsu.org/post/power-and-problem-grit


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How People Learn to Become Resilient

Norman Garmezy, a developmental psychologist and clinician at the University of Minnesota, met thousands of children in his four decades of research. But one boy in particular stuck with him. He was nine years old, with an alcoholic mother and an absent father. Each day, he would arrive at school with the exact same sandwich: two slices of bread with nothing in between. At home, there was no other food available, and no one to make any. Even so, Garmezy would later recall, the boy wanted to make sure that “no one would feel pity for him and no one would know the ineptitude of his mother.” Each day, without fail, he would walk in with a smile on his face and a “bread sandwich” tucked into his bag.

The boy with the bread sandwich was part of a special group of children. He belonged to a cohort of kids—the first of many—whom Garmezy would go on to identify as succeeding, even excelling, despite incredibly difficult circumstances. These were the children who exhibited a trait Garmezy would later identify as “resilience.” (He is widely credited with being the first to study the concept in an experimental setting.) Over many years, Garmezy would visit schools across the country, focussing on those in economically depressed areas, and follow a standard protocol. He would set up meetings with the principal, along with a school social worker or nurse, and pose the same question: Were there any children whose backgrounds had initially raised red flags—kids who seemed likely to become problem kids—who had instead become, surprisingly, a source of pride? “What I was saying was, ‘Can you identify stressed children who are making it here in your school?’ ” Garmezy said, in a 1999 interview.“There would be a long pause after my inquiry before the answer came. If I had said, ‘Do you have kids in this school who seem to be troubled?,’ there wouldn’t have been a moment’s delay. But to be asked about children who were adaptive and good citizens in the school and making it even though they had come out of very disturbed backgrounds—that was a new sort of inquiry. That’s the way we began.”

Resilience presents a challenge for psychologists. Whether you can be said to have it or not largely depends not on any particular psychological test but on the way your life unfolds. If you are lucky enough to never experience any sort of adversity, we won’t know how resilient you are. It’s only when you’re faced with obstacles, stress, and other environmental threats that resilience, or the lack of it, emerges: Do you succumb or do you surmount?

Environmental threats can come in various guises. Some are the result of low socioeconomic status and challenging home conditions. (Those are the threats studied in Garmezy’s work.) Often, such threatsparents with psychological or other problems; exposure to violence or poor treatment; being a child of problematic divorce—are chronic. Other threats are acute: experiencing or witnessing a traumatic violent encounter, for example, or being in an accident. What matters is the intensity and the duration of the stressor. In the case of acute stressors, the intensity is usually high. The stress resulting from chronic adversity, Garmezy wrote, might be lower—but it “exerts repeated and cumulative impact on resources and adaptation and persists for many months and typically considerably longer.”

Prior to Garmezy’s work on resilience, most research on trauma and negative life events had a reverse focus. Instead of looking at areas of strength, it looked at areas of vulnerability, investigating the experiences that make people susceptible to poor life outcomes (or that lead kids to be “troubled,” as Garmezy put it). Garmezy’s work opened the door to the study of protective factors: the elements of an individual’s background or personality that could enable success despite the challenges they faced. Garmezy retired from research before reaching any definitive conclusions—his career was cut short by early-onset Alzheimer’s—but his students and followers were able to identify elements that fell into two groups: individual, psychological factors and external, environmental factors, or disposition on the one hand and luck on the other.

In 1989 a developmental psychologist named Emmy Werner published the results of a thirty-two-year longitudinal project. She had followed a group of six hundred and ninety-eight children, in Kauai, Hawaii, from before birth through their third decade of life. Along the way, she’d monitored them for any exposure to stress: maternal stress in utero, poverty, problems in the family, and so on. Two-thirds of the children came from backgrounds that were, essentially, stable, successful, and happy; the other third qualified as “at risk.” Like Garmezy, she soon discovered that not all of the at-risk children reacted to stress in the same way. Two-thirds of them “developed serious learning or behavior problems by the age of ten, or had delinquency records, mental health problems, or teen-age pregnancies by the age of eighteen.” But the remaining third developed into “competent, confident, and caring young adults.” They had attained academic, domestic, and social success—and they were always ready to capitalize on new opportunities that arose.

What was it that set the resilient children apart? Because the individuals in her sample had been followed and tested consistently for three decades, Werner had a trove of data at her disposal. She found that several elements predicted resilience. Some elements had to do with luck: a resilient child might have a strong bond with a supportive caregiver, parent, teacher, or other mentor-like figure. But another, quite large set of elements was psychological, and had to do with how the children responded to the environment. From a young age, resilient children tended to “meet the world on their own terms.” They were autonomous and independent, would seek out new experiences, and had a “positive social orientation.” “Though not especially gifted, these children used whatever skills they had effectively,” Werner wrote. Perhaps most importantly, the resilient children had what psychologists call an “internal locus of control”: they believed that they, and not their circumstances, affected their achievements. The resilient children saw themselves as the orchestrators of their own fates. In fact, on a scale that measured locus of control, they scored more than two standard deviations away from the standardization group.

Werner also discovered that resilience could change over time. Some resilient children were especially unlucky: they experienced multiple strong stressors at vulnerable points and their resilience evaporated. Resilience, she explained, is like a constant calculation: Which side of the equation weighs more, the resilience or the stressors? The stressors can become so intense that resilience is overwhelmed. Most people, in short, have a breaking point. On the flip side, some people who weren’t resilient when they were little somehow learned the skills of resilience. They were able to overcome adversity later in life and went on to flourish as much as those who’d been resilient the whole way through. This, of course, raises the question of how resilience might be learned.

George Bonanno is a clinical psychologist at Columbia University’s Teachers College; he heads the Loss, Trauma, and Emotion Lab and has been studying resilience for nearly twenty-five years. Garmezy, Werner, and others have shown that some people are far better than others at dealing with adversity; Bonanno has been trying to figure out where that variation might come from. Bonanno’s theory of resilience starts with an observation: all of us possess the same fundamental stress-response system, which has evolved over millions of years and which we share with other animals. The vast majority of people are pretty good at using that system to deal with stress. When it comes to resilience, the question is: Why do some people use the system so much more frequently or effectively than others?

One of the central elements of resilience, Bonanno has found, is perception: Do you conceptualize an event as traumatic, or as an opportunity to learn and grow? “Events are not traumatic until we experience them as traumatic,” Bonanno told me, in December. “To call something a ‘traumatic event’ belies that fact.” He has coined a different term: PTE, or potentially traumatic event, which he argues is more accurate. The theory is straightforward. Every frightening event, no matter how negative it might seem from the sidelines, has the potential to be traumatic or not to the person experiencing it. (Bonanno focusses on acute negative events, where we may be seriously harmed; others who study resilience, including Garmezy and Werner, look more broadly.) Take something as terrible as the surprising death of a close friend: you might be sad, but if you can find a way to construe that event as filled with meaning—perhaps it leads to greater awareness of a certain disease, say, or to closer ties with the communitythen it may not be seen as a trauma. (Indeed, Werner found that resilient individuals were far more likely to report having sources of spiritual and religious support than those who weren’t.) The experience isn’t inherent in the event; it resides in the event’s psychological construal.

It’s for this reason, Bonanno told me, that “stressful” or “traumatic” events in and of themselves don’t have much predictive power when it comes to life outcomes. “The prospective epidemiological data shows that exposure to potentially traumatic events does not predict later functioning,” he said. “It’s only predictive if there’s a negative response.” In other words, living through adversity, be it endemic to your environment or an acute negative event, doesn’t guarantee that you’ll suffer going forward. What matters is whether that adversity becomes traumatizing.

The good news is that positive construal can be taught. “We can make ourselves more or less vulnerable by how we think about things,” Bonanno said. In research at Columbia, the neuroscientist Kevin Ochsner has shown that teaching people to think of stimuli in different ways—to reframe them in positive terms when the initial response is negative, or in a less emotional way when the initial response is emotionally “hot”—changes how they experience and react to the stimulus. You can train people to better regulate their emotions, and the training seems to have lasting effects.

Similar work has been done with explanatory styles—the techniques we use to explain events. I’ve written before about the research of Martin Seligman, the University of Pennsylvania psychologist who pioneered much of the field of positive psychology: Seligman found that training people to change their explanatory styles from internal to external (“Bad events aren’t my fault”), from global to specific (“This is one narrow thing rather than a massive indication that something is wrong with my life”), and from permanent to impermanent (“I can change the situation, rather than assuming it’s fixed”) made them more psychologically successful and less prone to depression. The same goes for locus of control: not only is a more internal locus tied to perceiving less stress and performing better but changing your locus from external to internal leads to positive changes in both psychological well-being and objective work performance. The cognitive skills that underpin resilience, then, seem like they can indeed be learned over time, creating resilience where there was none.

Unfortunately, the opposite may also be true. “We can become less resilient, or less likely to be resilient,” Bonanno says. “We can create or exaggerate stressors very easily in our own minds. That’s the danger of the human condition.” Human beings are capable of worry and rumination: we can take a minor thing, blow it up in our heads, run through it over and over, and drive ourselves crazy until we feel like that minor thing is the biggest thing that ever happened. In a sense, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Frame adversity as a challenge, and you become more flexible and able to deal with it, move on, learn from it, and grow. Focus on it, frame it as a threat, and a potentially traumatic event becomes an enduring problem; you become more inflexible, and more likely to be negatively affected.

In December the New York Times Magazine published an essay called “The Profound Emptiness of ‘Resilience.’ ” It pointed out that the word is now used everywhere, often in ways that drain it of meaning and link it to vague concepts like “character.” But resilience doesn’t have to be an empty or vague concept. In fact, decades of research have revealed a lot about how it works. This research shows that resilience is, ultimately, a set of skills that can be taught. In recent years, we’ve taken to using the term sloppily—but our sloppy usage doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been usefully and precisely defined. It’s time we invest the time and energy to understand what “resilience” really means.

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Life ‘Unplugged’ – why technology is clouding our perception of beauty

Philosophers argue that beauty is essential to life itself, a value so dear to humans that it can overcome evils. But what if I told you that by going about your daily routines, you’re greatly diminishing your chance to harness the power of beauty?

What if by each email you send, app you download, and screen you touch, you’re making your life less beautiful?

“I’m realizing every day that sometimes the most beautiful things in life can’t be downloaded.”

Challenge yourself to find beauty in real life experiences beyond screens.

Challenge yourself to find beauty in real life experiences beyond screens.

We’ve been conditioned to believe that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder,’ that it is completely unique to the individual. But what if we have it all wrong and beauty isn’t in the eye of the beholder?

“What if our perception of beauty is actually a response to natural selection – something pre-wired in our minds through centuries of Darwinian adaptations?”

In his TED talk entitled, ‘A Darwinian Theory of Beauty,’ Denis Dutton argues just that. After interviewing people all across the globe about their tastes in art, he found that perceptions of beauty transcend international borders. In almost every instance, people were drawn to images of natural landscapes over cityscapes, and generally preferred nature-themed paintings to any other subject.

Beautiful things transcend language and culture.

Beautiful things transcend language and culture.

“Consider briefly…the magnetic pull of beautiful landscapes. People in very different cultures all over the world tend to like a particular kind of landscape…that just happens to be similar to the savannas where we evolved. This landscape shows up today on calendars, on postcards, and in the design of golf courses and public parks.”

These pristine, ancient landscapes were considered most beautiful even by cultures who had never seen them before.

“Human beings everywhere find beauty in the natural – in the environments from which humans evolved.”

Find beauty in your own strength.

Find beauty in your own strength.

After listening to Dutton’s TED talk, I began to reflect on my own perceptions of beauty. As a city dweller, I rarely have the opportunity to spend time in beautiful natural landscapes – but as a Reebok employee, I do find myself reverting back to a more primal existence, one more closely linked to the humanity so highly revered by Dutton’s interviewees. At Reebok, we are encouraged to take an hour of our day to head to a boxing or Les Mills class, to yoga or to Reebok’s very own CrossFit Gym, RCF1, to do workouts grounded in functional movements using minimalistic equipment.

“Could it be that taking a step back from technology is the answer to bringing more beauty into our lives?”

I’ve certainly found that at the very least, this is true in my work outs. There’s something about jumping and running and sweating – picking up a barbell twice your weight, the sound of gloves against a heavy bag or your feet hitting the pavement, that awakens the same sense of beauty that I believe Dutton’s subjects felt from viewing these nature scenes.

“We think we need watches, and apps, fancy weight machines and treadmills, but all that these things really do is remove the natural, and thus the beautiful, from our workouts.”

Listen to your body and focus on your breath – no technology needed.

Listen to your body and focus on your breath – no technology needed.

By tracking every calorie, pacing around to hit our daily step goals and relying on a monitor to tell us when something is hard – we forget that our bodies, and what they can do, are amazing, beautiful, and natural.

And who’s to say that seeking the ‘natural’ should stop at our workouts? What about seeking out the honest and natural in the foods we eat? Research says that by eliminating added sugars in our diet, cravings subside and natural foods begin to taste sweet and delicious. And who decided that our work lives should be constantly ‘plugged in’? We’ve become conditioned to believe that shooting off an email to someone across a cube wall is normal.

“We’ve been overtaken by routine and overrun with choice – and it’s diminishing our human spirit.”

I’m not saying it’s necessary or realistic to go back to the pre-historic era, or ditch technology and innovation. That’s ridiculous. But maybe the key to finding beauty in our lives, and in the positive feelings it elicits, is a lot easier than we think… It’s in a face-to-face conversation, a wholesome meal, or even at the bottom of a push-up.

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3 simple life rules…


#UnherdPro #Blog #Life #Rules #Simple #Motivation #NoEgoWeGo

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