A Key Factor in Creativity: Boredom

What's the next big trend on the horizon? Being present. Branding expert and author Martin Lindstrom joined The Glenn Beck Program on Thursday for a fascinating discussion about cultivating creativity. His book Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends documents how to harness the power of tiny bits of information in order to discover the next big thing.

Lindstrom was hired by the world's leading brands to find out what makes their customers tick. In his quest, he spent 300 nights in strangers’ homes, carefully observing every detail to uncover their hidden desires, and, ultimately, the clues to a multi-million dollar product. A modern-day Sherlock Holmes, he noted three major consequences of being engaged every waking moment with technology and managing life.

"The first thing is we don't connect with people anymore. I spoke to a bartender the other day, and he told me he never speaks to his customers anymore because they're on their phones. The second thing is we don't see things anymore. We don't observe things anymore, and it's a bit bad. But the third thing is even worse. We never get bored anymore. And boredom, or that pause in our life, is the foundation for creativity," he said.

Lindstrom, who wrote his book in a swimming pool, calls it "the water moment."

"Some people have it in the shower, some people when they're running, when they're in the car --- but people feel this is an unproductive time. Do you know what? It couldn't be further from the truth. You actually need to have a break with yourself, and that moment will help you to reflect on things," Lindstrom said.

Listen to this segment, which includes an intriguing case study on the LEGO brand, from The Glenn Beck Program:

DOC: Joining us now, Martin Lindstrom. Hey, Martin, how are you?

MARTIN: I'm doing well.

DOC: I love the people who talk about trends because that's really what it takes if you're in business or even if you're just promoting yourself at work or trying to get better jobs. If you know trends, you know where to fish; right? You know where the fish are going to be.

MARTIN: Absolutely. And I think what it helps you to do is be one step ahead of everybody else. So it's a matter of picking up those small clues around you. And basically translate that into a new direction five minutes before everyone else realizes this is a direction; right?

DOC: Yeah, absolutely. Give me some example of some of the trends that you think are on the horizon.

MARTIN: Well, I think there's three challenging trends. The first trend is that we are not present anymore, and that would be the next big trend. Let me give you an example. And be honest here, Doc. If you're standing in a bar and you're waiting for a person to show up, the person is late and the first thing you do is grab something with your phone, do something with it, anything with it.

DOC: Martin, please, I don't go to bars. Those are negative places. Alcohol I don't associate with such people. I mean, if I go to church, I'll do that if they're late with the sermon.

Yeah, we all, we grab our phone. If you're bored for a second at the doctors office or anything, the phone's on; right?

MARTIN: Exactly. That is the issue. There's three major consequences with this. The first thing is we don't connect with people anymore. I spoke to a bartender the other day, and he told me he never speaks to his customers anymore because they're on their phones. The second thing is we don't see things anymore. We don't observe things anymore, and it's a bit bad. But the third thing is even worse. We never get bored anymore. And boredom or that pause in our life is the foundation for creativity. So what we see happening right now is that being present is disappearing. And the counterbalance to that will be the more present. So people on cruise ships, on concepts, concepts going up 15 percent. People going to the farmers market up 70 percent. So really training people to be present and pay a fortune to be present because we're never present anymore; right?

DOC: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. If your mind is occupied on all of this stuff we have to think about, and we a lot more stuff to think about every day. Just trying to remember all the codes for your passwords for your computer and everything and all of the stuff we have to do. Everybody has to be on social media and multiple platforms and all of this. If your mind is filled with all of that stuff, you're not going to have time to just think what could I do that would be creative in this area?

MARTIN: When I wrote the book small data, I wrote it in a swimming pool.

DOC: I would have thought the papers would get wet or the computer would --

BRAD: Thank you.

MARTIN: I'm pretty impressed right now, actually.

DOC: Waterproof paper. It will be the rage for writing books in swimming pools.

MARTIN: I call it the water moment. And some people have it in the shower, some people when they're running, when they're in the car. But people feel this is an unproductive time. Do you know what? It couldn't be further from the truth. You actually need to have a break with yourself, and that moment will help you to reflect on things. It gives you a cause. Because here's the issue. Think about it. The first thing we do when we wake up in the morning is to grab our phone; right? So we work in the bed. And let me just remind you the main purpose to be in the bed is two purposes but not three; right?

DOC: Right.

MARTIN: We go to the bar, listen to this. This is crazy. We did a study the other day with young kids, boys from the years of 15 to 18 years of age. And this is so crazy. One third of these young kids were on the phone in the shower; right?

DOC: Writing books. Writing books.

MARTIN: Of course. Paper-based; right?

DOC: Yeah.

MARTIN: And then what is happening is we're doing our work in the bathroom, we're doing our work when we have our breakfast, we're doing our work on the way to work in our car. And then we're doing private stuff at work; right? What's so fascinating about this and scary is we never have a transformation moment anymore. We never transform from one state of mind to another. And you know what's happening with your computer. We never reset it anymore. It's just on all the time. And we all know if we don't do it, it gets slower. Well, that's the case with our brains. We actually get slower right now. So we need to create these transformational points in our lives to become more creative, to become more present. And actually to connect to people more. And that is the biggest downside right now.

So you ask me what is one of the trends? It's definitely that. And now think one of the things you have to do is find your personal water moment, and that helps you to pause for a second.

BRAD: Martin, this is Brad. I'm here with Doc. And I'm familiar with some CEOs that do something called creative fitness, basically, where they'll have a logic problem that they have to solve. And they'll go off and do something like knitting. Something that uses the other side of the brain. Is that along the same lines? Does that give your brain the same break?

MARTIN: It does because here's the issue: When you -- that's called the chicken cage syndrome and let me explain this for a moment. A story was done seven years ago where if you put a chicken in a cage, and it stays that cage for half a year and one day you open the gate and push the chicken out, it will walk into the beautiful green grass with the birds singing and after ten seconds, it will go 180 degrees back into the cage. And I call that the chicken cage syndrome, and we're all suffering from that. In our daily lives we're so packed with duties, we almost act like robots because we have no space to be different. So what the CEOs are doing, what these creative talents are doing is to free themselves up from going back to the chicken cage and force their mind to be different. And I think in many ways coming back to the small business theme, I think this is in many ways what a business leader has to do because this is a way you point out a trend before everyone else. Because if you stand in a cage, while it's a little bit like you can't see the forest with just trees. You see it from your own angle. But if you jump out of that angle and see the world completely differently, that's where you see business opportunities. And think -- I guess, the best way to illustrate that is to really take you back to a brand like LEGO. You guys are familiar with LEGO; right?

DOC: Yeah.

MARTIN: So in 2013, 2012, the LEGO company was closed to bankruptcy. Can you believe that? And back then, the LEGO brand had learned that there was something called the instant gratification generation. These young kids had no patience for anything whatsoever and wouldn't have the time to play with Legos. Guess what? The executives basically concluding using big data and all of this stuff that forget about the small bricks. Let's create gigantic building blocks so you can build a castle in half an hour rather than six hours. So to do that, they change the size of the LEGO bricks and December 2013, the sales drop was 31 percent and time management goes into panic. Now, what you normally would have done is think let's create more big blocks and stuff like that. But the LEGO team did something differently. They jumped out of the chicken cage and the way they did that was to move to young kids' bedrooms, literally. So they end up in the home of an 11-year-old kid, a German kid. And they're sitting on the bedroom floor, they ask this kid one, simple question. What are you most proud of? And this kid, he pauses for a second. He points at himself, and on himself is an old warn down pair of sneakers. And of course the team from LEGO is completely perplexed thought he would say Sony PlayStation or Nintendo or something, but he doesn't. So he takes down this pair of sneakers and asks him why. And the kid is replying back, well, I'm the best skater in town. But the evidence I have for my friends is the wear and tear on the side of the sole. You see, when you're a really good skateboarder, you slide down the skateboard, and it creates the wear and tear on the side of the sole.

And of course the team from LEGO realizes that very second that this is the revolution for Legos. This is the answer. Because this kids has tens, hundreds, if not thousands of hours of time to fine-tune the sole on their sneaker, why wouldn't they have time to play with Legos? So they change the bricks back to the small bricks, they event the LEGO movie, which was number two in the U.S., and also team up with Harry Potter and Star Wars and today LEGO is not only the number one toy brand in the world, it was recently announced to be the biggest brand in the world. And all of that began with an old, worn down pair of sneakers. And this is my message to both of you guys and all of the listeners is that we see the world from one point of view. You have to wake up. You have to go out of that chicken cage and start to pick up what I call small data. And this is really seemingly significant observation you pick up in the daily lives which actually represents an amazing opportunity no one has seen.

DOC: We're going to go ahead and tweet out a link. It's MartinLindstrom.com and the book is small data. The LEGO story is just one like many that's going to help you as you look for future trends to brand yourself, help your family, or start a business or further your business. Martin, thank you so much for joining us. Appreciate it.

MARTIN: You're welcome.

DOC: We'll tweet it out again. It's MartinLindstrom.com.

Critical race theory: Struggle sessions

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China has a rich legacy of torture. During the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese Communist Party used a variety of torture techniques. These became more and more advanced over time. This included public humiliation and public executions.

One specific kind of public humiliation is what's called "The Struggle Session." It was a punishment reserved for people who committed wrong-think. The point was to publicly degrade the person until they swore allegiance to the Communist Party. Their focus is on the elimination of the power base and/or class position of enemy classes or groups. It was also a warning to everyone watching: If you don't bend your knee to communism, you will be destroyed.

If you don't bend your knee to communism, you will be destroyed.

It was a way to punish anyone who so much as disagreed with Communist Party dogma.

These struggle sessions often took place in busy areas.

They also took place at universities, like the struggle session for the professor You Xiaoli, as recounted by Anne Thurston, in Enemies of the People:

You Xiaoli was standing, precariously balanced, on a stool. Her body was bent over from the waist into a right angle, and her arms, elbows stiff and straight, were behind her back, one hand grasping the other at the wrist. It was the position known as "doing the airplane." Around her neck was a heavy chain, and attached to the chain was a blackboard, a real blackboard, one that had been removed from a classroom at the university where You Xiaoli, for more than ten years, had served as a full professor. On both sides of the blackboard were chalked her name and the myriad crimes she was alleged to have committed...

The scene was taking place at the university, too, in a sports field at one of China's most prestigious institutions of higher learning. In the audience were You Xiaoli's students and colleagues and former friends. Workers from local factories and peasants from nearby communes had been bussed in for the spectacle. From the audience came repeated, rhythmic chants ... "down with You Xiaoli! Down with You Xiaoli!"

"I had many feelings at that struggle session," recalls You Xiaoli. "I thought there were some bad people in the audience. But I also thought there were many ignorant people, people who did not understand what was happening, so I pitied that kind of person. They brought workers and peasants into the meetings, and they could not understand what was happening. But I was also angry."

Struggle sessions have been revived, and exported to America. They come in many forms.

Forced apologies.

Beatings in public—like the mob attack on Rand Paul.

Or the 12-year-old boy who was sucker-punched.

Or the 12-year-old boy who was stabbed for being white.

Anti-racism seminars, like the one in Seattle.

Or the one involving Sandia Labs executives seminar.

This post is part of a series on critical race theory. Read the full series here.

The long-awaited New York Attorney General's report on the sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo is out — and it is bad for Cuomo. The Democratic AG concluded that the Governor did sexually harass multiple women during his time in office.

On Tuesday's radio program, Glenn Beck questioned is the AG's report would be enough for Democrats to condemn him and call for his resignation? This is what the #MeToo movement was started for, Glenn noted, if Gov. Cuomo doesn't resign quickly, that says a whole lot about today's Democratic Party. Watch the clip to hear more of the conversation. Can't watch? Download the podcast here.

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Critical race theory: The education trap

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The fall semester isn't far away. If you aren't prepared for that, someone else is. Predatory behavior. The most important takeaway from this piece is, whatever is happening on campuses right now is what is going to play out through the rest of society in about 30 years. We're seeing it right now with Critical Race Theory.

It started on the campus. It started in the classroom. And our children are set to be the next victims in the cultural warfare for a nightmare that seems like it will never end.

Colleges are manipulating the system.

It's a little ironic that colleges are overflowing with Marxist professors who preach the Gospel of Karl Marx in their classrooms, because academia in America is the perfect example of capitalist achievement. If anything, colleges are manipulating the system in a way that should make Marxists furious. And they hurt the people that Marxism is supposed to rescue.

Colleges are an enterprise. They are Big Business. It means nothing to them to send thousands of students into debt—not if it means the campus will get a new fountain or another office for the Diversity and Inclusion department.

They'll never admit it, but a big part of their problem is that they have put so much into the myth of progress. They can't even admit that it's a myth. Because it's useful to them.

Roger Scruton once said:

Hence the invocations of "progress", of "growth", of constant "advance" towards the goal which, however, must remain always somewhere in the future.

In reality, they don't give a damn about actual progress.

That's how they have turned academia into instruments of social engineering. They use college to change society.

Their purpose is no longer educational. It's social. They're using the classrooms to cause social change.

This post is part of a series on critical race theory. Read the full series here.

On Monday's radio program, Glenn Beck and Stu Burguiere were joined by Pat Gray to discuss "woke" Olympic athletes.

In this clip, the guys discussed how "bravely" some athletes are for threatening to protest the national anthem, for twerking on stage, and for showing off how woke they are.

Glenn reminded America of actual bravery at the Olympics when Jesse Owens won the gold medal at the Berlin Olympics. "He [Owens] was oppressed," Glenn said.

Watch the clip to hear Glenn tell the full story. Can't watch? Download the podcast here.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.