Showing posts with label Creativity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Creativity. Show all posts

15 Uplifting Animations Guaranteed to Leave You Feeling Good

I am sharing this in a bid to send some positivity into the world and I invite you to do the same in your own small way. I have arranged the trailers starting with those of the animations made on the African continent. I am wishing you and your loved ones good health and peace of mind as we all stay home, stay safe, and keep our spirits high. Happy watching and rewatching!

1. Liyana

2. The Snail and the Whale

3. Home

4. The Emperors New Groove

5. Bolt

6. Despicable Me 1,2,3

7. Sing

8. Coco

9. Moana

10. Wonder Park

11. Smallfoot

12. Rio 1,2

13. The Crood 1,2

14. How to Train Your Dragon 1,2,3

15. Angry birds

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8 Interesting Ways to Remind Yourself That Every Experience Counts.

Source: Freepik

How did yours start? I mean the journey to where you are in your life at this moment. It all makes sense when you look backward.

For me, it all started with my love for cartoons,

which led to my love for drawing said cartoons. This, in turn, led me to take art classes in high school after which I took a detour and studied Business IT in University. All the while doing commissioned portraits for my classmates on the side.

The following is an account of my own experiences and how they have turned out well, in spite of me feeling like I had taken a wrong turn a couple of times such as in University. I know many of you have felt like this one time or another.

1.) Look back and identify that thing you've loved doing since childhood then pay attention to how life is nudging you to get back.

My detour introduced me to the world of Technology and Business which would then lead me back to the genesis, which was my love for cartoons.

How? well, I always had a wanting attitude towards computers and had avoided taking computer classes in favor of my art in High School.

I came to realize that it was because we were mostly taught theoretically and did not get to interact with the computers as much. Why? well, we had just one computer lab in a boarding school with close to 1000 students.

Fortunately, I got to enroll for IT essentials and Cisco Certified Network Associate classes right after finishing High School. The courses had lots of fun visual aids and were hands-on so I fell in love with computers as a result.

Source: Giphy

Once I got over my funk with Technology, I went on to graduate with a degree in Information Systems Technology from USIU-Africa.

My Tech background came in handy when I finally got back on track by enrolling for a certificate course in 3D Animation at Shang Tao Media Art College. I later met a lady that would end up changing my life in ways unimagined.

2.) Ask yourself who is doing the thing you love and succeeding at it.

Her name is Ng'endo Mukii and she is an Independent Filmmaker and Animator. I met her at a speed mentoring session called Match Mentor organized by The Arena Kenya.

When I first saw her that day, she was on the panel dressed in a lovely colorful African print jumpsuit. I loved her style, confidence, and I was impressed by what she had accomplished so far.

 After the panel discussion, a timer was set for us to go for our rounds of speed mentorship. It was like an intricate dance: one step forward, two steps back, turn to your left then go towards your right. This is the way we moved around in groups of 4-7 from one mentor to the next.

Maintaining a keen eye on her table, I continued with my dance around at the mentors stationed close to her. This continued until I eventually got the chance to go to her table. Our session felt super brief, but I remember leaving feeling so inspired, it had been worth the complicated dance.

3.) How can you be of help to them while in their presence as a mentee?

I got her contacts and right before I left, I asked her if by any chance she had an internship position in her company. She replied that she did not have any at the moment but I should email her and remind her I was the lady with a head wrap so that she could remember me.

I did as requested knowing too well that if I did not, she might not have remembered who I was considering she had met dozens of new people on that day. She was friendly in our conversations online and I kept tabs with her thereafter for close to a year. She would later contact me while I was

doing the internship I wrote about here in India. 

 Source: Clipart

4.) Count your blessings and remember that everything is always working out for your good.

Funny thing is she was also in India at the time of contacting me, only in a different state. What are the odds?

The universe is truly interesting and I am in complete awe at how things unfold in life. I told her  I'd be delighted to intern for her when I got back home.

This is how I was blessed with an opportunity to work closely with Ng'endo who is not only an amazing human but also a multiple award-winning Animator. I got to see how she goes about her daily activities and it was amazing how easy she made all of it seem.

5.) Cultivate a strong relationship with your mentor and be as helpful as you can even after your period of working together.

My internship with her was such a great experience. She would later trust me with her extra work which I did remotely after the internship. And since we had built a strong relationship, she knew about things I was interested in and would send me links and email forwards on the same.

6.) Heed to their advice and be open to trying out the new things they recommend. After all, you have to be willing to change the way you do things in order to be like the people you admire.

In one of our many conversations, I had mentioned my interest in games. One day she sent me an email about a workshop happening at the Goethe Institute on gamifying African cities. I was intrigued by the whole concept and so I applied and got in.

I had attended one-week workshops before so I was eager to absorb the knowledge and simply move on with my life. This particular workshop was different; it introduced us to a project called Enter Africa.

So when we were told about the magnitude of the project that is, it's running in 14 other African countries concurrently and the requirement to commit for the next two years, it all came as a surprise to me.

It was during this workshop and subsequent meet-ups while working on the project, that I started

getting acquainted with concepts such as gamification.

All the same, it ended up being a pleasant experience. I was sent to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on a one-week workshop and then to Munich, Germany to be a panelist for my very first time representing Enter Africa Nairobi.

7.) Request for help from your mentor when called to do something they have done numerous times.

I remember how ecstatic I was when I read the email that I had been chosen to represent the Enter Africa network as a panelist in Germany. Once all the excitement had died down and some normalcy kicked in, I realized that I would need some help preparing for the panel discussion.

So I called Ng'endo to share the good news with her as well as to ask her what she would advise me to do in preparation. I did as I was told and I remember being super calm and confident on D-day. Her advice had been of great help.

8.) Be open to change the trajectory of your life when you stumble upon new things that align with your interest and that compliment your passion.

We finished our 2 years as members of the Enter Africa project last year. I even compiled a list of gratitude messages from the team members below.

During my stay in Germany, which I was fortunate enough to extend to one month, I got to meet a Kenyan doing his PhD there. I first met him at the Munich Media Days Conference where I was speaking and later on we set a meet up with him, my father and myself a couple of weeks later.

Coincidentally, he had already met my father a year before. When I informed him of what my father does for a living in Germany, he asked me for his name. And when I mentioned "Mutisya", he retrieved my father's contacts from his phone like magic.

Thanks to this meeting, I am currently preparing to pursue a Master's degree in Game Development and Animation for Film. My first love Animation has found herself a new partner and I'm totally fine with that.

 I am currently studying German on Duolingo

and looking forward to enrolling for German classes later this year. All the while reminding myself that whichever way it goes, all is well. After all, at the end of the day, I will have a new language added to my arsenal. And every experience counts. Now it's your turn to look back at your own life and remind yourself how every experience in your journey counts.

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How to Build Enlightened Wealth As A Creative Entrepreneur

"You arrived here on planet Earth encoded with divine DNA -  a specific set of talents, gifts, opportunities, connections, and sensitivities.

Image: Freepik

We believe you have a destiny to fulfill. There is music in you, a song you are destined to sing, or instrument you are destined to play in the symphony of life.

Some people discover their destiny quickly, some people take decades to do so, and others never even look for it. When you tap into this pure vein of gold you become the person you were born to be." - Mark and Robert

Now join me in the journey of discovering our divine life path through a book whose entire theme is the higher power's approach to business success.

Higher power, God, the Creator, Source, we have different names for the Supreme Being that created us and cares for our well being.

Higher power should be the center of everything we do in business. We should think of how Higher power would treat our customers, how they would create our products and how they would give back to society.

The following are 5 business lessons that, as a Creative Entrepreneur, resonated with me. These lessons are from the enlightening book Cracking the Millionaire Code by Mark Victor Hansen and Robert G Allen.

1. Lesson One: Giving 

According to the book, we should think of giving not as a duty but as a privilege because other than amplifying the fact that we have enough to spare, giving lubricates the process of wealth building. 

Giving to me comes in many forms. One is creating a business solution that serves many people -another is finding ways to make people's lives a little better through monetary or in-kind donations.  This explains why most successful businesses have vibrant CSR programs.

It is a trend among the ultra-rich to have foundations where the surplus of what they have earned goes to charities in order to help other people. Oprah once said "when more is given, more is required" and she lives by example.

2. Lesson Two: Finding Your Purpose

The destiny code is your purpose in life. The music you were meant to sing in the symphony of the universe.

It took Oprah Winfrey's demotion from a lofty news anchor position - which she did not like anyway - to a stagnating talk show no one watched at that time, for her to discover her destiny.

At first, when she started the talk show, she was made to interview a couple with their child. The cheating husband confessed in front of the national TV that his girlfriend was pregnant and Oprah saw the humiliation in his wife's face. And that was when she decided that enough was enough.

She decided that she would not let TV use her but rather she would use TV to impact people's lives positively. She continues to do so using new media like YouTube even after a successful 25 years as a TV talk show host.

It is important to know that at times your destiny is shown to you in disguise. In Oprah's case, hers was what her boss thought was a demotion. Yours could be a lay off that led you to follow your passion of cooking that you were putting off for the future which never seemed to come.

The book also reminds us that we need a team and that there are people who are destined to be in our team. They will help us fulfill our destiny and we will help them fulfill theirs.

3. Lesson three: Finding Your Winners Circle

The authors introduce an interesting term in the book. The ANGELS code refers to the team of people working with you on your business. We need a strong team and they need us. It is good to have a team of people who are positive, forward-thinking and who have a track record for success.

One action step would be to come up with a list of people and start contacting them on whether they would be interested in collaborating on your joint business idea.

ANGELS stands for

Access to assets - The access to capital and financial assets your team members have.
Network capital - The people that your team members know.
Genius capital - The talents, gifts, and creativity of your team members.
Experience capital - The educational background as well as the street smarts of these members.
Light capital - Do they have a giving spirit and a strong belief in a higher power?
Serendestiny capital - What are their current opportunities and what does the future hold for them?

Use these to determine the right people to put in your dream team.

4. Lesson Four: Finding Multiple Revenue Streams

As a freelance artist and creative entrepreneur, I learned that there are multiple ways of earning from a single product.
These multiple ways can be summarised by the acronym PRISM

PRISM stands for 

Primary products
Related products
Services &

Say for instance your Primary product is a car; you could get another revenue stream from selling Related products such as spare parts of the car.

In order to ensure that your clients are satisfied with your product, you would want to share Information with them in the form of user training videos that show them how to use their cars in the best way possible.

You could also add to your revenue stream by creating Services that make the product easier to use. In this case, that could be car repairs and insurance.

Finally, through different Media, you can sell experiences through entertaining car events such as races and auto shows.

 5. Lesson Five: Treating Your Customers Like STARS

The star code is discovering and serving a special group of customers and treating them like the stars they are. According to this book, most of the startups that succeed are those whose owners focussed on this code.

A good example of treating customers like STARS would be a story I heard from an audiobook I listened to a while ago about someone, let's call him Sam.

Sam had gone to a bar to watch a baseball match. He found the bar TV already tuned to another sports channel.

 Since he was the only one at the bar at that time, he requested the waiter to change the channel to the one that was airing his favorite baseball match.

The waiter did and then proceeded to serve him his burger and drinks. Later on, as the bar started filling up, the TV was automatically tuned to the channel he had found on.

 So when the waiter noticed, he went to Sam and told him that it was not fair because he was the first one there and should be able to continue watching his game.

Not wanting to stir up the crowd that had gathered at the bar, Sam told the waiter that it was fine. He was willing to move to another room that had no one in it to continue watching the match.

The waiter went on and changed the channel to the baseball match anyway. He also took the remote, removed the batteries from the remote, and gave them to Sam.

After hearing this story, I could not help but imagine the reaction from the other customers - and smile at how special Sam must have felt.

It is said that Sam did not enjoy the burger from the bar, but he left that place with a lasting impression and a great story to tell.


All these lessons are strongly dependent on finding one's divine life path and I believe everything else gets better with time after that.

At the moment you are able to start giving even if it is in the form of volunteering your skills and talents.

You are also able to find a team of passionate friends to work with on a primary product as well as those that are linked to it. Remember PRISM?

And once you start earning loads from these multiple revenue streams, you are able to give back monetarily or by building platforms that share tips on how you made it work for you.

You can also start treating your customers like the stars they actually are.  I believe the business will keep coming back to you because of how special you make them feel.

It's a whole cycle people!

So join me this new decade in implementing these lessons into our Creative endeavors. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Let's crack that Millionaire code.

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How Gamification Can Help You Break Language Barriers

Imagine yourself at a workshop full of Africans in different cultural attires that represent all the colors of a rainbow. Africans from Francophone countries and from other Anglophone countries.

You are supposed to work together to come up with a particular solution for your countries but because of the language barrier, you have Duo. Duo's second name is Lingo and he is the translator.

Duo is your typical Ethiopian, handsome and pleasant with hair you feel like touching by mistake and saying oops I'm sorry! As you smile and walk away thinking - mission accomplished!

He tries to be at the workshop in good time before the sessions start and he also tries to translate what is said in a way that both parties understand satisfactorily.

But Duo is only human and on the third day of the conference, he has an emergency that he has to attend to. And so the rest of you are left looking at each other wondering how the hell you will communicate effectively without Duo.

This is until Francois comes in and saves the day. Francois is from Cameroon and has this interesting hat with green, red and yellow. Colors found on his country's flag. Although he is from a French-speaking country, he also knows the English language.

So you proceed with the session of the day with Francois helping with the translation. He too struggles to translate correctly.

The previous day, you already noticed from Duo how exhausting translating can be even when it's done by a pro.

Duo translated back in English when he was supposed to translate in French and vice versa a couple of times on that day. Because of this, he was met with looks of confusion and some squashed giggles.

I hope you have seen that picture because that was my experience earlier this year when I went to Ethiopia for a workshop organized for the gamification project Enter Africa at the Goethe Institute in Addis Ababa.

Since Enter Africa is an ongoing project during and after the workshop, we still have communication issues on WhatsApp. Some people translate but most times we English speakers are left wondering what is being discussed.

All these experiences, and the fact that in the evenings after the workshop I resorted to hanging out with the English speaking people in the hotel, sparked a strong desire in me to learn French.

I really wanted to interact with my newly made Francophone friends too but the barrier in language made that an impossible task.

This flame of desire was further ignited by a conversation I had with my cousin who happens to be a game enthusiast. I asked him if he had interacted with an app that uses gamification before and if so how it had worked out for him.

A spark lit in his eye as he narrated how the language learning app Duolingo had helped him ace his French exams. How he had scored the highest in the subject. And we are talking really high because he is currently studying Civil Engineering on scholarship abroad meaning he had also passed the other subjects.

I told him that I had learned a bit of French in high school before I picked art over french classes in my second year. A couple of years ago, I had also toyed around with Duolingo before I discovered and became passionate about gamification.

As a result of my phone's storage space problems, I had since uninstalled the app. Now I had a reason to reinstall it.

But wait.

There was a better solution. As we finished our conversation, he mentioned that there's no need to download the app because one can easily access it through a browser on the phone.

With that motivation from my cousin and knowledge on how to easily access the free platform, I resumed my Duolingo journey.

The following are screenshots of my experience so far with learning french through gamification on the app and how it is influencing my learning process so far. Just a heads up for those interested in the definition of gamification I defined it in my previous article.

List of achievements I have gotten so far.

An award for maintaining a 7-day streak of practice on Duolingo

Persuasion to complete a days lesson in order to join the leaderboard. A leaderboard is where your name as a Duolingo learner is ranked against others to bring about the competitiveness found in games.

In this case, I was number 28 on the leaderboard and had accumulated a total of 100xp(experience points)

This is the most recent shot of where I am currently ranked in the leaderboard. You can only imagine how excited I am to keep on improving.

I always earn points for completing my 20min daily goal

I was crowned for reaching level 1 in the activities category of my lessons

Advanced to the Gold league

Advanced to Sapphire league

Graph that compares previous performance with the current performance.

As I tracked my progress on the graph I was challenged to level up and 40 points later, I was close to the previous days level on the graph.

As Trevor Noah rightly put it in his book born a crime , language unites people even beyond race. So why not take the opportunity to learn it in a fun and efficient way for free.

It is important to note that Swahili is one of the languages you can also learn on Duolingo. I look forward to improving on my mother tongue through a similar solution one day. What about you?

I would like for you to join me in reimaginiing yourself fluent in the language you've always wanted to learn. Getting back to reality, open a new tab on the device you are using to read this and check Duolingo out. You will soon become your own personal translator.

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Inside Clever Art Gallery's Unique Outdoor Exhibition in Nairobi

Nairobi's 3rd edition of the biggest outdoor exhibition in the Visual Arts happened in Nairobi Railways Museum on the 4th and 5th of May 2019 courtesy of Clever Art Gallery. And I was there to see it.

I attended the exhibition on the 4th and it was one of the most unique art exhibitions I have been to so far with art pieces displayed on top of the beautiful old trains. The art and the trains complemented each other so well you could not help but appreciate both even more.

It was just the perfect time of the year to have this artsy event because of the cool but sunny weather and the glossy green grass thanks to the recent rain. That must be the reason why I spotted numerous insta moments going on inside and outside the trains, on the beautiful green grass and next to the artwork.

Glossy Green

Being an outdoors event, it goes without saying there was plenty of space to interact with the brilliant artists behind the beautiful art pieces exhibited. On that note, I'd like to share with you a bit about the Visual Artists I met.

I'll start with two ladies Dee and Rey who also happen to be classmates. They are both students at Kenyatta University and they had displayed their work next to each other.

 Dee does unique mixed-media pieces with paper on canvas such as the one below and thanks to her Instagram, I also found out that she also sings. It's always encouraging to meet people who are bravely pursuing all their artistic talents. 

Dee's mixed media piece

Rey's pieces, on the other hand, are inspired by animals and children - like the ones below.

Artistic Rey's pieces

llewxam is a student at BIFA (Buruburu Institute of Fine Arts). I found his name so interesting that I had to mention it and he made me laugh when he said it was Maxwell spelled the other way round.

He also shared how he got that name from his friends a while ago as they were talking about their dreams of succeeding in their artistic careers.  He is interested in doing live portraits at events. And he sent me the video below of a piece he completed in 6 minutes at an event in school. 
llewxam kenyan live painting artist

Llewxam painting a live portrait

Gideon and I discovered that we share something in common. We both studied art in high school but for one reason or the other, we could not pursue it in Uni. 

Gideon is currently doing Graphic Design at Talanta Institute. I found his portraits very interesting to look at, especially the one below done using a biro pen. There is a nice flowy vibe to the unique patterns he used on them.

Gideon's portrait

I then met three friends Dennow, Jimmy and Mwesh from Sketchmaster Art Studio, an Art school in Kasarani. 

Dennow is a really cool guy and I immediately fell in love with a piece he had done of a lady with some fly dreadlocks. I quizzed him further about it and he told me it was a piece he had done for a competition on drawing dreadlocks. 

Dennow's dreadlock piece

Jimmy, also based in Kasarani, has been in the industry for 6 years now. His art piece of an old guy winking made me smile.

Jimmy's portrait

Mwesh and I instantly broke into conversation after I mentioned that I have a sister called Mwende. It was a sweet ice breaker and she told me that many people ask her what Mwesh stands for so it's good to meet people who already know. 

Mwesh next to her artwork

Speaking of good things, it was also good to see a good number of female Visual Artists present.   

Ms. Ndunge made my day with her flower pots made out of reused fabric and concrete. It is always refreshing to see art that contributes positively to the environment. I spotted a really pretty one made out of a towel. She did Fashion Design at Kenyatta University and is the owner of the fashion brand Zaqara Kenya 

Ms. Ndunge's unique flower pot

Damaris is a self-taught artist. YouTube University is her jam. She had displayed her intricately made string art and I could not help but think of the amount of time she put into learning and creating this type of art. She is super talented and patient.

Damaris' string art

Steve Rotino is another patient, self-taught artist I met. He creates his pieces using millet and sorghum. He is based in Rongai and is also interested in string art.

Steve's millet and sorghum art

Ochi's story is quite a unique one. He did not go to high school so he is self-taught. He also told me there's a period in his artistic career he took a break for a decade. In spite of all these adversities, his pieces were the most unique and intricately done in the exhibition. He etches on wood and there's this piece he did of a lion that kept on calling people to his display section. Yes, his work is eye-catching.

Ochi's beautifully etched wood

Emanuel Kariuki was super helpful. I met him through Ochi and he linked me to an art expert I was really looking for. He learnt his craft at Sketchmaster Art Studio and is currently mentoring the new artists coming in.

Emanuel's monkey drawing

Wambui's pieces are the ones that welcomed us to the event. However, I could not trace her so I decided I'll try and meet her on my way out. Which I did. I marvelled at her beautiful mixed media piece of a peacock. It shone in the Saturday sun and brought out the lovely essence of the peacock impeccably. She is from Kenyatta University and is currently based at Dust Depo Art Studio in Nairobi Railways Museum.

Wambui's art display

And just like that after meeting Wambui, my time at Clever Art Gallery's unique outdoor exhibition came to an end. I left the exhibition with new artsy friends and inspiration to continue working on my craft. By the way, this is the first article I have written this year so it tells you a lot. I'd like to thank all you brilliant artists for sharing a bit about yourselves with me and for inspiring me through your art.
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10 Profound Treasures In The Book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert is an awesome, quick read with a couple hundred pages that I guarantee will hook you from the word go. Elizabeth Gilbert is best known for her memoir Eat Pray Love which happened to be on the New York BestSeller list for 3 years, and later became a Hollywood movie starring Julia Roberts.

As a huge fan of Elizabeth's work, I was eager to find out what she had in store for creatives like us in Big Magic. I say us because as you'll soon find out below, we were all created creators; in short, we are all creatives. I hope these 10 treasures will jog your memory if you have already read this book, or spark an urge in you to get your own copy and indulge yourself if you haven't.

The 1st treasure is:
Do whatever makes your heart sing and let it be imperfect because it is likely that no one will even notice.
Image source

Elizabeth mentions some advice she received from a woman in her mid-seventies whom she met while she was in her insecure twenties. The advice went like this:

"We all spend our twenties and thirties trying so hard to be perfect because we're so worried about what people will think of us. Then we get into our forties and fifties, and we finally start to be free, because we decide that we don't give a damn what anyone thinks of us. But you won't be completely free until you reach your sixties and seventies when you finally realize this liberating truth - nobody was ever thinking about you, anyhow."

With this knowledge, you have the ability to liberate yourself from your insecure thoughts. You can finally pursue the things that fascinate you and make your heart sing, giving the outcome permission to be imperfect because it is very likely that nobody will even notice. The most beautiful thing is now you understand that just like you, everyone else is too busy thinking about themselves and their lives to be talking all that much about you and yours. So it's time you live your life unapologetically.

The 2nd treasure is:
Creative living is more than owning the title artist, writer, poet e.t.c

Image Source

In the book, you will meet Susan, who at the age of forty took to figure skating after more than 2 decades. She had quit skating in her teens after realizing she did not have enough talent to be a champion. This way of thinking naturally places pressure on anything so I understand her decision.

When she turned forty, she went through some soul searching and realized that her current state of restlessness and heaviness had a remedy. It came from asking herself an important question - when is the last time she felt truly light, joyous, and yes creative in her own skin? After this soul-searching, she realized it was decades ago while figure skating as a teenager.

According to Elizabeth, "Susan was appalled that she had denied herself this life-affirming pursuit for so long, and she was curious to see if she still loved it. So she followed her curiosity. She bought a pair of skates, found a rink, hired a coach, She ignored the voice within her that told her she was being self-indulgent and preposterous to do this crazy thing.

She tamed down her feelings of extreme self-consciousness for being the only middle-aged woman on the ice, with all those tiny, feathery nine-year-old girls. She just did it. Susan still figure skates several mornings a week simply because skating is still the best way for her to unfold a certain beauty and transcendence within her life that she cannot seem to access in any other manner. And she would like to spend as much time as possible in such a state of transcendence while she is still here on earth.
That's what I call creative living."

It is important to note that Susan did not quit her job. She just added skating into her weekly to-do list. And so can you with your passion.

The 3rd treasure is 
Value curiosity more than you value passion

Image Source

As you noticed in the 2nd treasure, curiosity led Susan to discover something about herself she had forgotten. Elizabeth says she prefers curiosity to passion: curiosity is what keeps you working steadily, while hotter emotions may come and go.

She encourages us to follow our curiosity, ask questions, sniff around and remain open. She also says that we should trust in the miraculous truth that new and marvelous ideas are looking for human collaborators every single day. All we need to do is let them know we are available.

That brings us to the 4th treasure which is:
Ideas look for collaborative humans to partner with but if you do not give them the attention they deserve, just like any other relationship they move on to someone else who will.

Image Source

I was so used to the tired idea that if you share your ideas, someone might steal them - until I read Big Magic. Because unless you are ready to work on an idea, it is of no use to you. Just as the name of the book suggests, ideas are somewhat magical. For example, Elizabeth narrates how she and her friend Ann happened to have the exact same storyline for a book they each wanted to write.

Elizabeth got the idea first but due to a relationship issue, she lost the spark that came with the idea. And so the idea was transferred to her friend in the most remarkable way. In this case, the idea got a better collaborator in Ann to make it manifest. Ann later saw it to completion and published the book.

Instead of Elizabeth beating herself up she used this experience as evidence of her beliefs about creativity; that ideas are alive and that they seek the most available human collaborator.

Elizabeth says "Ideas have no material body, but they do have consciousness, and they most certainly have will. Ideas are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest. And the only way an idea can be made manifest in our world is through collaboration with a human partner. It is only through a human's efforts that an idea can be escorted out of the ether and into the realm of the actual."

The 5th treasure is
Hard work guarantees nothing in the realms of creativity we should work with stubborn gladness on our craft no matter the outcome.

Image Source

It is never guaranteed that one will succeed as a creative but one thing is for sure at the very least you will know that you tried. And that no matter the outcome, you have honored your heart and traveled a noble path.

Elizabeth also adds "My ultimate choice, then is to always approach my work from a place of stubborn gladness. I worked for years with stubborn gladness before I was published. I worked with stubborn gladness when I was still an unknown new writer, whose first book sold just a handful of copies - mostly to members of my own family.

I worked with stubborn gladness when I was riding high on a giant bestseller. I worked with stubborn gladness when I was not riding high on a giant bestseller anymore, and when my subsequent books did not sell millions of copies. I worked with stubborn gladness when critics praised me, and I worked with stubborn gladness when critics made fun of me. I've held to my stubborn gladness when my work is going badly, and also when it's going well."

The 6th treasure is
Shake off failure and shame in order to keep living a creative life.

And this is what Elizabeth had to say about this: "First of all, forgive yourself. If you made something and it didn't work out, let it go. Remember that you're nothing but a beginner - even if you've been working on your craft for fifty years. We are all just beginners here, and we shall all die beginners. So let it go. Forget about the last project, and go searching with an open heart for the next one."

If you have been studying a bit about the law of attraction, you may have come across the phrase what you focus on you attract. So if you keep on moping about your failure and how uncomfortable it makes you feel, then you are bound to keep on going in a loop of similar experiences. So I suggest you do yourself a favor and just let it go. All will be well. And remember the 1st treasure - it is exceedingly likely that nobody will remember or even notice your failure.

The 7th treasure is
There are times when you feel like things are too crazy and you need a break from your craft; look for another lighter creative avenue to pursue, while you take your break.

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Elizabeth put it so well, "Be not solitary be not idle. Find something to do - anything, even a different sort of creative work altogether - just to take your mind off your anxiety and pressure. Einstein called this tactic "combinatory play" - the act of opening up one mental channel by dabbling in another. This is why he would often play the violin when he was having difficulty solving a mathematical puzzle; after a few hours of sonatas, he could usually find the answer he needed."

The 8th treasure is
Reject the flawed notion of artist martyrdom

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I remember after the  creative entrepreneurship training

 I did in 2017 with GoDowns Art Center,

 we received some advice from the guests of honor during the graduation ceremony. One piece of advice stuck and it went something like "No matter what your craft takes you through, do not let yourself be at the mercy of substance abuse."

Elizabeth adds "All I can tell you for certain is that my entire life has been shaped by an early decision to reject the cult of artist martyrdom, and instead to place my trust in the crazy notion that my work loves me as much as I love it - that it wants to play with me as much as I want to play with it - and that this source of love and play is boundless."

That is a belief Elizabeth decided to cultivate. A belief is basically a thought that you continuously think until it becomes true to you. If you believe that you are just playing with your craft, and just like any other game at times you win and at times you lose, then it's no biggie. You will wake up the next day and play again no matter the outcome. Losing yourself to booze or on a puff is only a temporary fix. This simply takes us back to the 6th treasure which was you need to shake off your failure and shame in order to continue living as a creative.

The 9th treasure is
Avoid falling for the stereotype that creativity drives people crazy

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According to Elizabeth and I agree with her "Not expressing creativity turns people crazy. (If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you don't bring forth what is within you, what you don't bring forth will destroy you - Gospel of Thomas.) Bring forth what is within you, then, whether it succeeds or fails. Do it whether the final product (your souvenir) is crap or gold. Do it whether the critics love you or hate you - or whether the critics have never heard of you and perhaps never will hear of you. Do it whether people get it or don't get it."

The 10th treasure is
Learn to cooperate with inspiration, make the environment conducive for a worthwhile partnership.

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Inspiration and ideas are almost synonymous and as we learned in the 4th treasure, we are supposed to have a respectful partnership with inspiration too. Living a creative life comes with the responsibility to clear all the obstacles that may prevent creative living. If you are wondering what kind of obstacles these are, just know that what is bad for you is probably bad for your work too. Elizabeth advises that you may want to lay off the booze a bit in order to get a keener mind. Also, nourish healthier relationships in order to keep yourself from being distracted by self-invented emotional catastrophes.

To sum up all these 10 treasures, just know that it is okay to be pleased with what you have created. And if your project did not work, you can choose to take it as an experiment that taught you a couple of things - rather than a chance to carry blame and sink into shame. If it gets too heavy for you, don't let yourself be at the mercy of substance abuse.

You can battle your demons through other means such as meditation to quiet your mind and put you at ease; therapy, as a problem shared, is half solved; recovery, rest and restoration; prayer or any other way to get in touch with your spirituality. And through another creative endeavor that is different from your main one, just to mention a few.

Keep in mind that ideas and inspiration are your partners and require respect and commitment just like any other relationship. Also, remember that it is not guaranteed that you will "succeed" at your craft in societal terms. But the fact that you are even working on what makes your heart sing, means that you have won in your own relationship with your heart by following a noble path.

Have you read Big Magic? Which of these 10 treasures stands out to you and why?
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DOTs' Unconference 2018: What I learnt about Creative Internetwork of Humanity

"Instead of the Internet of things, we should be talking about the internet of humanity." Janet Longmore.

Let me introduce you to this wise woman. Janet is the CEO of DOT. which stands for Digital Opportunity Trust. DOT. is a social enterprise that offers entrepreneurship and leadership training for young people in Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America.

DOTs' 2018 Unconference was held in Kenya at the KCB Leadership Centre in Karen. It brought young social entrepreneurs from the 3 continents together to present their social innovations and share ideas with each other on how to make an impact in their respective countries.

These young participants stood out during DOTs' Impactathons which were short, intensive programs that introduce concepts on social innovation and enterprise and support youth to develop ideas to address specific problems in their communities.

The conference was scheduled to take place from the 17th to the 19th of October. It was an honor to be among the people invited to the first day of the conference. Esther Gathigi, the Country Director of DOT Kenya, gave the opening speech. The theme of the conference was on bridging gender and social barriers in order to build inclusive communities.

Then came Janet Longmore. She spoke of the rise of social businesses. She then introduced us to a new word: talentism which as the name suggests is the use of talent to make an impact in society. According to her, it is talentism that will make a difference. She also highlighted the fact that the internet was not made to connect things; it was made to facilitate communication. So instead of the Internet of Things (IoT) we should be talking about the Internet of Humanity.

On that note she introduced us to the Innojo app - an application whose role is to make sure there are zero barriers to social Innovators everywhere. After her address, there was a panel discussion where 3 former DOT. participants - Aisha from Kenya, George from Tanzania and Dalila from Jordan - joined  Janet and Esther on stage to discuss their experiences as social entrepreneurs.

A wealth of knowledge was exchanged. Aisha is the co-founder of Pwani Teknowgalz, a social enterprise that aims to inspire girls to join the STEM (Science Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields through mentorship and interactive training. Aisha told us of her school days where she was one of the three or five ladies in a class of sixty students. This is something I completely resonated with considering there were several times I was the only female or one of three females in my Tech classes in Uni. 

Meanwhile, George runs a Digital services agency called Smartcore Enterprise limited whose vision is to spark creativity in African learners through technology and provide the best learning experience.

He spoke of the fact that we are all content creators, therefore, we should play a part in content creation as Africans. George also suggested that we should find ways of transferring the knowledge we have to a format such as fun educational videos that other people far from us can learn from online .

His last point stuck in most of our minds especially after the MC kept reiterating it. "Don't just give business cards, make friends. If you are my friend, I can make money with you." My take away from this statement was once you build a relationship and cultivate trust between yourself and a fellow human, there is no limit to what you can both achieve working together.

Kamau Mugure was called on to give a short speech right after the panel discussion. I first met Kamau at the Digital Marketing Training by Kuza Biashara. He has always been an inspiring person to listen to.

His sharp memory is also something most of us admire. He greeted almost all the representatives of the African countries that were present in their native language. As Trevor Noah explained in his book Born A Crime  " A shared language says we're the same." You could see how intrigued and attentive the audience became after that. He would do the same with people's names at Kuza, never at once forgetting someone's name.

After Kamau's address, we broke out for the tea break as the first set of entrepreneurs prepared their presentation and other merchandise they would use to explain what their businesses are about. I will list a few of the many social entrepreneurs I managed to visit,

1. Lambert from Kigali, Rwanda. His business helps house helps with their job transition after working for a few years as house helps. They empower them with financial literacy training as well as carpet and basket weaving skills.

2. Raisa Akinyi of Kenya Biocyclers from Kisumu who came with her brother. They breed the black soldier fly insect that is later used to feed on organic waste at dumpsites in Kisumu. Her solution tackles the problem of inefficient waste management systems in Kisumu city. These soldier flies are then used as animal feed for pigs, chicken, and fish, thus creating affordable and consistent feed for farmers.

3. Anisha from the UK. She has created a web platform that links people to social enterprises near them.

4. Bright, a Ghanaian, employs graduates where they start a project with 500 direct and 1000 indirect employees and distributors. His model of business is so unique in that it is scalable depending on the skills of the people he has on board.

5. AmyAnne Smith from Canada. Her project was on sex work in Canada. She gave us a curious story of a lady who had been murdered in Canada. People were against the murder until they found out she was a sex worker. After that, they turned against her and even suggested that maybe she deserved it. AmyAnne found that change of heart repulsive and decided to do something about it. Her idea revolves around building a website that contains information for sex workers as well as a platform where they can share their stories.

6. Steven Ng'omba from Malawi had an amazing learning app which teaches children various classroom subjects through their phones. Steven is an animator and has a team of writers, videographers and designers who have helped the app to get to where it is now. The group is using the app to teach their students alongside actual classes over the weekends.

7. Then I met Deus from Dar es Salaam Tanzania.

I mentioned to him that I was in Dar a few months ago and how I loved the experience. 

We sparked a long conversation during the lunch break where he told me about his project which was about helping farmers access information on modern means of farming through physical and online training.

8. Khalil from Jordan was showcasing a Virtual Reality (VR) game he made. It took me back to 

In Khalil's game you were to look at 3 colors on the floor then walk around and spot those colors around the room. He said that the game is location-based because it works with sensors put in a specific room. If the player walks beyond those sensors, they will not be able to continue playing.

In one day, I got to experience the internetwork of humanity through these young inspiring and innovative entrepreneurs. It got me thinking about how to incorporate more humanity in my entrepreneurship ventures. After all, it is no longer about the internet of things. How do you see yourself combining the internet with helping humanity?

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