How To Be Interesting

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I’ve read a book that really challanged me this month; How to be interesting, by Jessica Hagy. It combines fresh and honest life lessons with simple diagrams and graphs. Definitely one of the most ‘real’ guides (or self-help books) to leading a richer life. The content is all about ideas, creativity and risk… after all it’s what you DON’T know, that is interesting, right:)?

Microtrend: the Rise of the Left-Handers

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Artistic geniuses Michelangelo, Picasso, Beethoven and also Alfred Hitchcock, Paul McCartney and Barack Obama are famous lefties. I’ve also some very creative left-handed family members (my mom, for one:)). You will probably know a few yourself, since the number of left-handed people in the world is on the rise and… it’s likely to keep growing! According to trend-watcher Mark J. Penn this is one of those fascinating small phenomena behind tomorrow’s big changes. It’s going to alter our society’s.

In most cultures the left side of things has been associated with evil and inferiority. It’s even embedded in our language. The French word for ‘left’ gauche means ‘awkward’, in Chinese the adjective ‘left’ means ‘improper’ and in Dutch we say ‘you have two left-hands’ when people are acting clumsy. Left-handedness has been routinely discouraged or even beaten out of people until the seventies. But not less than 16% of all people is left-handed and they represent the creativity and innovation that is much needed in our economies.

Why will there be more lefties in the future? 1. Parents celebrate individuality instead of surpressing the uniqueness of their child. 2. Left-handed kids are disproportionately represented among twins (whose number grew by more than half in the past 20 years. 3. They are also more likely to be born to older moms. Women have children much later in life.

The rise of left-handed people means not just that we’ll have more lefties in school and in the workplace (product-designers: make swappable handles and alternative southpaw versions please:)) but also that society is becoming more open and tolerant. The percentage of lefties in a country may actually be one of the best indicators we have of whether a society is open and flexible or rigid and suppressive.

Photo: Left Store (Arthur Foliard) a concept store for left-handed people.

Urban Art Project Makes Chinese Cities Green

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Environmental issues in China… it’s a hot topic. Every day there seems to be a new horror-story in the news about toxic farmland, contaminated rivers or smog-filled cities. But this urban art project, done by Jody Xiong of DDB China in conjunction with the China Environmental Protection Foundation, is something really positive that deserves to be highlighted too.

This wonderful outdoor campaign created a subtle visual reminder of the environmental benefits of walking versus driving. By walking, people literally made their environment greener. Enormous white canvases with a bare tree were placed across 7 crosswalks in Shanghai. As pedestrians crossed, their shoe soles were imprinted with a small amount of green ink, leaving behind a trail of leaf-like footprints. The final posters were eventually hung as billboards in several urban locations.

Involving random people this way, resulted in a very powerful campaign. Love it!  (Via)

3 Creative Ways to Make Your Resume Stand Out

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Work-issues seem to haunt us more and more nowadays, especially in Europe where people still struggle with financial downfall. It’s harder to compete on the job-market for a more limited number of interesting positions. How can you make your resume stand out when you’re applying for a job? Three simple suggestions:

  • Use a quote to say what you stand for. A quote I like for example: ‘Be not simply good; be good for something’ (Thoreau) 
  • Make a bullet list of goals and motivators to show your passions.
  • Turn your resume into an infographic to make it more intuitive for people to read and get rid of the standard chronological list of achievements.

Last year I transformed some resumes into inforgraphics and all people got back to me with a surprising amount of interviews and job-offers! It was just so great to see it really worked;-) This illustration is one of the graphs I made for a resume last week. It’s a timeline with all kinds of icons that refer to color-coded text-boxes in which education and work-experienced are summed up.

If you want me to work on you resume as well and make it really stand out, drop me a line. (E 97.00 / HKD 960.00 for 1 resume-transformation)

Creative Travel Toolkit

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When I travel I always come home with loads of ideas, projects and inspiration and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Distance and Difference are two keys to creativity. It’s interesting to see that even research says so. Students who lived abroad, are more likely to solve a complicated computer problem than those who didn’t and… It’s not hard to see why.

Traveling or living in a different culture makes us realize that a single thing can have multiple meanings, that there are different ways to interpret the world. For example: leaving some food on your plate is considered polite in China. It shows that the host provided more than enough for his guests. In the Netherlands it’s not polite at all to NOT finnish your meal, it implies that you didn’t like the food. Apart from giving different perspectives, traveling makes us more creative because we have to improvise a lot (am I in the right train?, do I have to tip the waiter?). Even getting the right bus tickets can be an adventure in itself (last year in Vietnam that took us a whole day;-)). We’re totally disconnected from our daily routine, which makes us more inventive.

This week I met so many people with exciting travel plans for Chinese New Year, and with a little road trip in Australia to look forward to myself, I made a small travelkit to create, write and start new projects on the road. A way to make sure that I’ll come home inspired, to the max. Do you have more ‘tools’ that should be in this creative travelkit? Let me know, I’m packing this wednesday;-)