Can Play Win You A Nobel Prize? Just Turn on Your Innovation Machine.

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Photo of Gail Whipple, MTP ACC - Belmont, CA, United States. Gail Whipple, MTP, CTC

“We are the ones we are waiting for.”

Gail Whipple, MATP is an  ITP at Sofia University alumna. She graduated with her M.A. in Transpersonal Psychology, specializing in creativity and innovation. Gail is a writer, coach, teacher, mentor and pastor who is passionate about creativity, kindness, courage and human potential.  She is ordained as a pastor and has a black belt in To-Shin Do.

She has also produced an album of inspirational songs called Prayers from the Heartland, co-authored an online course on Parenting to Potential, and wrote both a poetry book called Rhymes With Spirit – and a little book called You Can’t Make Yourself Perfect. She believes strongly that from our earliest days, learning self-love and self-care can make us more powerful beings. And the world needs us to grow up as powerful as possible, in order to take on the challenges facing the Creation of self. She and her blog posts can be found through her website.

We have re-posted her article on taking initiative here.

woman-1586499_1920Be An Innovation Machine

Since we’re constantly hearing the message, “be innovative,” you may wonder how to get to that place. In reality, the key is in the word “be.” There’s no place to go, except inside yourself.

Innovation is synonymous with creativity, and creativity is everybody’s birthright, although as with other human attributes, some people stand out. You’re an innovation machine, actually. All you have to do is turn on to that truth, and explore your innovative capabilities.

(If you doubt this perspective, take this blind spot test and realize that just because you don’t see something doesn’t mean it’s not there.)

hang-out-1521445_1920Here’s some practical advice on how to flex your creative muscles: Relax. Explore. Play.

This is the “be” of “be innovative.” It’s also the advice of the most celebrated innovators of all time. Physicist Richard Feynman draws a direct line from play to the contribution that won him and his colleagues the Nobel Prize for “fundamental work in quantum electrodynamics, with deep-ploughing consequences for the physics of elementary particles.”

He tells how he was in the Cornell cafeteria when someone threw a plate up in the air like a frisbee. He watched it wobble round and round – and noticed the red Cornell logo was spinning faster than the plate it was on. It intrigued him, so he started playing with the idea. Feynman recalled:

“It was like uncorking a bottle: Everything flowed out effortlessly. I almost tried to resist it! There was no importance to what I was doing, but ultimately there was. The diagrams and the whole business that I got the Nobel Prize for came from that piddling around with the wobbling plate.”

However inspirational Feynman’s quote is, it reveals his blind spot. He calls his accomplishment effortless, but if he had not taken initiative to follow his muse, nothing would have happened.

block-1512119_1920Sometimes at work, innovation stalls because of dueling blind spots: We all see the need to create something new. But employees don’t see a path to add to a bigger picture and leaders don’t see the lack of a path. Nothing changes if we don’t. That’s where initiative comes in.​

True initiative means “to take charge before others do” and creativity is, as expert Theresa Amabile says, the “formation of novel, appropriate, and useful ideas.”  We are the ones we are waiting for. What steps can you take to give yourself and others permission and time to play with ideas just to see where they may lead?

ITP-logo_smallAbout The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology at Sofia University

Since 1975, the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology at Sofia University has continued to be an international leader and pioneer, moving humanity forward in the areas of transpersonal research and transpersonal education. training clinicians, spiritual guides, wellness caregivers, and consultants who apply transpersonal principles and values in a variety of settings.  The Sofia educational model offers students not only a solid intellectual foundation, but an extraordinary opportunity for deep transformational growth and personal experience of the subject matter. How does Sofia University accomplish this? The university builds upon its strong, whole-person psychological foundation to give students a greater understanding of the human condition.


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