Repeat After Me…

Repeat after me:

  • less is more
  • limits empower creativity 
  • "I will master something, then the creativity will come." Japanese Proverb

With those thoughts in mind, here's your assignment: For whatever project you're working on, create a 3-5 word phrase that captures the essence of that project. 

Many companies refer to this as a tagline, I've recently heard it referred to as a mantra. I like the term mantra, as it brings to mind up images of repeating the phrase over and over. And that's the goal, to engrain and embed the essence of the project, as embodied in the mantra. Once you understand the essence of the project, creativity will have boundaries (limits) that shape and direct the directions you head creatively. 

Understanding the essence of the project forces you to research and dig into "Who, What, Where, When, Why and How?" In that discovery, you'll likely find the shape of creative directions beginning to form. Keep digging. The deeper you dig, and the better you understand, the easier the ideas will flow.

From there, you could write goals and objectives for the project. But those usually contain lots of meaningless phrases or jargon that seem to say in 5 sentences what a mantra can do in 5 words.

Here's an example. GE's tagline is "Imagination at work." I'm sure GE has a lengthy mission statement filled with marketing buzzwords, and that each project has goals and objectives filled with the same old phrases. But everything the company does, from lightbulbs to diesel locomotives, is inspired by their three-word tagline. 

The current tagline for my company is "Imagination at play." I was inspired by the GE's tagline , and obviously, did not stretch too hard to get to my versionI've been thinking about what my new mantra could be. I'm leaning towards "Passionately Creative". That phrase captures the essence of who I am, both professionally and personally. 

I have a new project I'll be working on for the Seattle Public Library's Summer Reading program. I'm going to practice what I preach and create a mantra for this project. I'll keep you posted.

What is your mantra (personally and professionally)?

One Response to “Repeat After Me…”

  1. Erik U. says:

    This is a really helpful post, Michael. I’m in the throws of a powerful (but exhausting) curriculum-writing project that requires a TON of creativity. Thanks to this article, my new mantra is, “Learning that Lives and Moves”. Thanks for keeping my creative juices flowing!