Creativity Manifesto

Of the manifestos I’ve wanted to write to simplify and solidify my core values, Creativity turned out to be the biggest challenge. (Seems I have very clear ideas on what makes me feel Kind and Happy.) I’ve shared so many books, experiments, and studies on creativity on my blog and podcast. I finally feel I’ve found a few core themes:

Seven Creative Virtues

  1. Go. Take action. (Be Bold and decisive about trying actions that might work.)
  2. Listen for your voice. (Looking is more worthwhile than finding.)
  3. Collect thoughts and ideas. (Save freely your own thoughts and those of others. )
  4. Know Like a Kid. (Kids know they don’t know it all. They play courageously anyway. Find a child-like sense of modest participation.)
  5. Think Big, Medium, Small. (Chase the big picture, the little details, and the in-between.)
  6. Find Fun. (Enjoy the weird. Humor yourself in the present.)
  7. Use Your Powers For Good (Take your turn to help. Everything will be okay. No one has it all figured out. )

“The generous listener is ready to be surprised.” Krista Tippett

“The generous listener is ready to be surprised. You go in with an assumption that you don’t know everything or understand everything. You’re truly curious which means becoming open to having any assumptions you bring to be unsettled. You’re gonna be graceful about that. You’ll be curious about that when that happens.”

Krista Tippett (American journalist, author, entrepreneur, and host of the public radio program and podcast On Being)

Listen to the full podcast interview: Krista Tippett on Design Matters with Debbie Millman

On Manners: “If they are superficial, so are the dew-drops which give such a depth to the morning meadows.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Manners are the happy ways of doing things; each one a stroke of genius or of love, now repeated and hardened into usage, they form at last a rich varnish, with which the routine of life is washed, and its details adorned. If they are superficial, so are the dew-drops which give such a depth to the morning meadows.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Level Up Your Skill With Deliberate Practice

I love to occasionally walk over and watch Peabody’s awesome free classical piano Masterclasses. The theme when viewing these classes demonstrates talent, time, and natural characteristics are lesser factors in improvement.

The actual key? Deliberate Practice:

“We agree that expert performance is qualitatively different from normal performance and even that expert performers have characteristics and abilities that are qualitatively different from or at least outside the range of those of normal adults. However, we deny that these differences are immutable, that is, due to innate talent. Only a few exceptions, most notably height, are genetically prescribed. Instead, we argue that the differences between expert performers and normal adults reflect a life-long period of deliberate effort to improve performance in a specific domain.” (Psychologist K. Anders Ericsson)

  • Leveling up in skills links mostly to HOW one practices. Those fluent in a skill tend to break down skills and apply those ideas both in practice and in day-to-day life.
  • Skill fluent people also learn to look for immediate feedback or information, adapting quickly.
  • Mastering deliberate practice also involves quickly taking on new challenges.
  • Malcolm Gladwell adds that dedication to practice and a support system helps. Those who are good at deliberate practice tend to be positioned to do so.

Read more in The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance

Happy Anthems: Songs That Boost My Mood

Here’s my list of 229 songs I love when I need to make my day a little better. They remind me to have fun. Let go. Feel connected to others. Be myself.

Any songs you’d add? Do any of these seem weird to you?

“A 2010 study published by the Association for Psychological Science linked creativity most with positive moods. Using music and video clips, participants were primed for certain moods by researchers of the University of Western Ontario. Those who listened to the happiest music or watched an cheerful video were most able to recognize creative patterns. The happy volunteers were better at learning the rules behind patterns than those in neutral or sad moods.” Read more about how mood impacts creativity.

Aaliyah Everything’s Gonna Be Alright
Aaliyah Try Again (f. Timbaland)
Aaliyah Journey To The Past
Aaliyah I Care 4 U
Ace Of Base Beautiful Life
Adele Right As Rain
AJR Weak
Alanis Morissette Thank You
Alanis Morissette You Learn
Alanis Morissette That I Would Be Good
Alanis Morissette Hand in My Pocket
Alanis Morissette Ironic
Alessia Cara How Far Ill Go
Alesso Heroes (we could be) (feat. Tove Lo)
Alicia Keys Lesson Learned [Ft. John Mayer]
AlunaGeorge You Know You Like It (DJ Snake Remix)
American Authors Best Day of My Life
Andy Grammer Keep Your Head Up
Arcade Fire Ready to Start
Ariana Grande The Way
Ariana Grande Break Free (feat. Zedd)
Avril Lavigne Complicated
Avril Lavigne Here’s to Never Growing Up
Bad Veins Kindness
Bastille Flaws
Becky G Shower
Becky G Shower
Beyoncé ***Flawless (feat. Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche)
Beyoncé Listen (From the Motion Picture “Dreamgirls”)
Beyoncé Pretty Hurts
Bjork Declare Independence
Breathe Carolina Blackout
Britney Spears Circus
Britney Spears Stronger
Capital Cities Safe And Sound
Carly Rae Jepsen Making The Most Of The Night
Cars Drive
Cheryl Cole Ghetto Baby
Christina Aguilera The Voice Within
Christina Aguilera Keeps Gettin’ Better
Christina Aguilera Not Myself Tonight
Christina Aguilera Beautiful
Christina Aguilera You Are What You Are [Beautiful]
Christina Aguilera I Am
Christina Perri Human
Clean Bandit Ft. Jess Glynne Rather Be (Original Mix)
Colbie Caillat Realize
Colbie Caillat Brighter Than the Sun
Colbie Caillat Try
Danity Kane One Shot
David Guetta Bang My Head (Feat. Sia)
David Guetta Feat Sia Titanium
Demi Lovato Confident
Destiny’s Child Survivor
Eminem Guts Over Fear (f. Sia)
Eminem Lose Yourself
Fergie Life Goes On
Fleetwood Mac Landslide (Live Album Version)
Florence + The Machine Dog Days Are Over
Florence + The Machine Shake It Out
Frou Frou Let Go
Fun. We Are Young (Feat. Janelle Monae)
Galantis No Money
Grouplove Tongue Tied
Hailee Steinfeld Love Myself
Hilary Duff So Yesterday
Hunter Hunted Lucky Day
Idina Menzel Let It Go
Idina Menzel/Kristin Chenoweth Defying Gravity
Idina Menzel/Kristin Chenoweth For Good
Iggy Azalea Fancy (feat. Charli XCX)
Imagine Dragons On Top Of The World
India.Arie The Heart Of The Matter
James Taylor Shower The People
Jason Mraz Wordplay
Jason Mraz The Remedy (I Won’t Worry)
Jason Mraz I Won’t Give Up
Jimmy Eat World The Middle
Journey Any Way You Want It
Judy Garland Get Happy
Justin Bieber Life Is Worth Living
Karmin Coming Up Strong
Kate Nash Mouthwash
Katy Perry Firework
Katy Perry Roar
Katy Perry This Is How We Do
Ke$ha We R Who We R
Ke$ha Die Young
Ke$ha C’mon
Ke$ha Crazy Kids
Keane The Starting Line
Keane Stop For A Minute (feat K’naan)
Keane Can’t Stop Now
Kelis Lil’ Star (f. Cee-Loo)
Kelis Appreciate Me
Kelly Clarkson A Moment Like This
Kelly Clarkson Thankful
Kelly Clarkson Breakaway
Kelly Clarkson Invincible
Kelly Clarkson Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)
Kelly Clarkson Bad Reputation
Kelly Clarkson Dark Side
Lady GaGa Born This Way
Lady GaGa Just Dance
Lady GaGa So Happy I Could Die
Lana Del Rey Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood
Lana Del Rey National Anthem
Lea Michele Cannonball
Lily Allen Hard Out Here
Lily Allen Fuck You
Lorde Royals
Luke Christopher Lot to Learn
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Same Love (feat. Mary Lambert)
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Can’t Hold Us (feat. Ray Dalton)
Madcon Don’t Worry (f. Ray Dalton)
Madeon feat. Passion Pit Pay No Mind
Madonna Express Yourself
Marina And The Diamonds I Am Not A Robot
Marina And The Diamonds The State of Dreaming
Marina And The Diamonds Oh No!
Marina And The Diamonds Blue
Marina And The Diamonds Happy
Marky Mark Good Vibrations
Maroon 5 Sugar
Meghan Trainor Better When I’m Dancin
MGMT Time To Pretend (High Contrast Remix)
MGMT Time to Pretend
Michael Jackson Man In The Mirror
Michelle Branch Breathe
MIKA Popular Song
MIKA Celebrate (feat. Pharrell Williams)
Mika Relax [Take It Easy]
Miley Cyrus Party In The USA
Miley Cyrus The Climb
Miley Cyrus Do My Thang
Miley Cyrus Rooting For My Baby
Miley Cyrus We Can’t Stop
Morrissey I Like You
Natasha Bedingfield Unwritten
Natasha Bedingfield Single
Ne-Yo Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself)
Nelly Furtado Try
Nelly Furtado Powerless (Say What You Want)
One Direction Drag Me Down
One Direction What Makes You Beautiful
OneRepublic Good Life
Owl City Good Time
P!nk Raise Your Glass
Panic at the Disco Nine In The Afternoon
Panic! At The Disco Ready to Go (Get Me Out Of My Mind)
Panic! at the Disco New Perspective
Panic! at the Disco Camisado
Panic! at the Disco That Green Gentlemen
Panic! at the Disco Pas de Cheval
Panic! At the Disco Hallelujah
Panic! At The Disco Emperor’s New Clothes
Panic! At The Disco Victorious
Panic! at the Disco Hurricane
Panic! At The Disco Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time
Panic! At The Disco Hallelujah
Panic! At The Disco Emperor’s New Clothes
Panic! At The Disco LA Devotee
Panic! At The Disco The Good, The Bad And The Dirty
Panic! at the Disco Hurricane
Passion Pit Carried Away
Pharrell Williams Happy
PHASES I’m In Love With My Life
Pink Try
Pink Get the Party Started
Rachel Platten Fight Song
Radiohead Optimistic
Rihanna Diamonds
Robbie Williams Candy
Sara Bareilles Brave
Sara Bareilles King of Anything
Sara Bareilles Bottle It Up
Sara Bareilles I Wanna Be Like Me
Sarah McLachlan The Rainbow Connection
Sarah McLachlan Adia
Sarah McLachlan Perfect Girl
Selena Gomez Kill Em With Kindness
Selena Gomez & The Scene Who Says
Shakira Try Everything (From “Zootopia”)
Sheppard Geronimo (Matoma Remix)
Sia Burn The Pages
Sia You’ve Changed
Sia Stop Trying
Sia The Fight
Sia Bird Set Free
Sia Chandelier
Sia Alive
Sia You Have Been Loved
Sia Death By Chocolate
Sia Soon We’ll Be Found
Sia Lentil
Sia The Greatest (f. Kendrick Lamar)
Sneaky Sound System It’s Not My Problem
Sofia Carson Back to Beautiful ft. Alan Walker
Starship Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now
Taylor Swift Shake It Off
Taylor Swift Mean
Tegan & Sara Everything Is AWESOME!!! (feat. The Lonely Island)
The Aliens The Happy Song
The Beach Boys Good Vibrations
The Cool Kids x Hey Champ (We Are) Champions
The Killers Smile Like You Mean It
The Mowgli’s I’m Good
The Script Superheroes
The Vamps All Night (F. Matoma)
The Wombats Schumacher The Champagne
The Wombats Let’s Dance To Joy Division
TI Live Your Life (feat. Rihanna)
Timeflies Once In A While
Tlc Unpretty
Tove Lo Moments
Train Drive By
Train Calling All Angels
Travis The Last Laugh Of The Laughter
Two Door Cinema Club Something Good Can Work
Two Door Cinema Club This Is The Life
Vance Joy Riptide
Whitney Houston Exhale (Shoop Shoop)
Yael Naim New soul
Years & Years King
Zedd Beautiful Now (feat. Jon Bellion)


“I’ll let the dishes pile up until I need to get a bucket to keep them in. I can’t let my music pile up.” Dan Deacon

“I’ll let the dishes pile up until I need to get a bucket to keep them in. I can’t let my music pile up.” Dan Deacon (Baltimore musician)

Exactly how I feel about personal creative projects. And dishes.

We’re hoping to learn about how the city informs their work, and how they are shaping Baltimore itself, by working.Dan Deacon makes inventive, playful electronic music, and leads crowds through silly group exercises. He tells us about how he finds time to make new music, how he first began his famous crowd participation games at his shows, and his relationship with the city of Baltimore.


Listen to the Working Podcast from Slate: In Baltimore: How Does Dan Deacon Work? from Slate’s Working