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Beautiphol: Art in a State of Entertainment

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Art has to be entertaining. If not, it will fail to communicate with its audience in any constructive way and any message that it might carry will be lost. Any song you write about love that doesn’t entertain the ear, will be discarded… and its message of love will be dissolved by the sounds of boredom and indifference of your listener.

The same applies to all forms of art. Directors know that once people start snoring during their movies, they’ve lost the game. Writers, painters… they all know that once you fail to entertain your reader/viewer, any chance you had at communicating your emotions and your beliefs, is evaporated faster than hydrogen on a bright sunny day in the heart of Cairo.

That being said, art being entertaining is one thing… and art being “entertainment” is another.

A good example here is the magician. He is an entertainer and his goal is by definition self-explanatory… to entertain with the use of magic. What he does takes tremendous skills, an abundance in talent and dedication to his work. By being an entertainer, does he care if the members of his audience become more informed and more knowledgeable individuals after his show? No… Actually, the less they know about what they have just seen, the greater the entertainment. Does the entertainer concern himself with the enrichment of his audience’s spiritual state? And by saying “spiritual”, I do not mean the religious interpretation of the term. A person enhances his “spirit” by acquiring information, knowledge, ideas, perceptions and a greater understanding on a subject which he did not possess before becoming exposed to the source of that information. So can a magician enrich his audience’s spirit? Yes… he can. Is it mandatory though because he is an entertainer? No… it’s not.

I believe this is the core difference between an artist and an entertainer. When art is created simply to serve its self and satisfy the tastes of individuals by providing them with a short, joyful experience, without elevating their knowledge-base or introducing a new perspective or understanding on the issue it concerns its self… then the artist seizes to be an artist and transforms into an entertainer. That is the point when art becomes a product, and its core function is no longer to contribute, to expand, to enrich or to elevate its field… but to be consumed. A short-term action which stimulates the brain in a passive way, creating a positive emotional reaction, which as pleasant as it may be, once its influence passes by, leaves you in no greater spiritual state than you were in before. Another product which serves the exact same function is of course, the use of drugs.

There are great examples of entertainers who have managed to entertain successfully throughout their careers, while simultaneously being a tremendous source of knowledge and originality. They provide their audience with new ideas, new perceptions and raise issues which could only benefit our culture, elevating their own work to a creative level which is very difficult to reach. A good example of this is the field of stand-up comedy. When entertainers like George Carlin, or Eddie Izzard got on stage, they didn’t just want for their audience to have a good time. They wanted their audience to have a good time and leave the theater more informed and more knowledgeable. Entertainment wasn’t enough, there had to be a lasting, cultural and spiritual gain for the people to take home. These entertainers, subsequently, become something more than entertainers… they become artists. Another great example is painting. When Picasso introduced cubism, he achieved not only in creating entertaining visual work, but he also succeeded in enriching the art of painting with a new style, new methodology and elevated his own artistic field to a new level. Picasso didn’t just entertain his viewer… he evolved his viewer’s perception and understanding of beauty and composition.

Creating beauty in art is beautiful…

Creating art because you need to see beauty is beautiphol.

In literature and the film industry, the entertainment mechanisms have overshadowed the artistic mechanisms and the market is overloaded with works of either very slim spiritual contribution, or very often not any at all. I have recently read a book in the Sci-Fi genre which had an interesting plot (I do not enjoy hammering down other authors or their work, so I will not mention the title) and I was astonished by how little difference it made to my “spirit” once I finished reading it. It literally gave me nothing that I could possibly keep. There was a formula there; With a fixed plot, fixed characters, a fixed environment for the plot and the characters to work in, and their aim was simple… to provide a fix. Did I enjoy it? Yes, it was an entertaining book, extremely well written and the plot kept me interested. But it failed to find a good balance between art and entertainment, leaning entirely towards the latter, I suppose due to marketing reasons. It had nothing to offer to its reader other than an instant positive emotional satisfaction which is doomed to fade away and leave back nothing unchanged. Do I consider it as a work of art? I do not. And allow me to explain why…

The product and desired result of sexual activity is of course the orgasm. You can get an orgasm by making love to your partner or by masturbating. The difference is that by making love, you can gain more than just an orgasm. While with masturbation, you only get an orgasm. If the action of writing a book which only strives to provide me with an “orgasm” is considered “art,” then what do you call the act of masturbating in order to get an orgasm?…

“… making love?”

The following quote by Ernst Fischer summarises and expresses my own personal artistic motivations perfectly. And since I am nowhere near Fischer’s level or articulation and writing skills, I have nothing to add.

“In a decaying society, art, if it is truthful, must also reflect decay. And unless it wants to break faith with its social function, art must show the world as changeable… and help to change it.” -Ernst Fischer

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Creative Real Estate

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I am well known for saying: I don’t buy properties, I buy problems – I acquire the properties since they are attached to the problems. I solve the problem and make money. Problems may be with the owner(s) personally, the property itself, or the title to the property. With this win-win attitude you will succeed much more than the person who is only looking out for himself.

Thinking creatively in these situations is essential.

Realize that No Money Down might not mean No Money Down but None of YOUR Money Down. In other words, put someone else’s money down for your real estate acquisition. Use “OPM” (Other People’s Money).

Learn how to balance price and terms when negotiating a purchase or a sale. If you are buying and the seller is firm on his PRICE then negotiation must be under the Buyer’s TERMS. If the seller does not want to entertain creative terms, then he must move on the price. Take a look at the following examples:

1. The seller is stuck on a $200,000 sale price.

  1. Lender loans $170,000 for new first mortgage.
  2. Seller holds $20,000 in a second mortgage (terms)
  3. You put down $10,000 cash

2. Three siblings have inherited a free and clear property and they do not get along. They are demanding $50,000 cash each, bringing the sale price to $150,000 FIRM! With repairs, the house will be worth $200,000.

Repairs needed:

Roof $15,000

Windows $5,000

Paint $5,000

TOTAL $25,000

Estate Appraisal is $135,000

What questions should I ask?

I ask the brother who is handling the transaction what he and his siblings are going to use the money for.

  1. He says that he is going to have an $80,000 addition put on his own personal house and has $30,000 in the bank but needs $50,000 from the sale to avoid having any loans associated with the addition.
  2. His brother wants to buy a new Porsche for $45,000. He is just going to blow the money all at once!
  3. Their Sister has some credit problems and owes about $41,000 in credit cards She is planning to use the money to get out of debt.

How can we make it work?

  1. On his behalf, use your negotiation skills with his contractor who will be building the addition. Possibly supply materials for the contractor bought on your credit card or credit line. Possible result: $13,000 saved.
  2. For his brother, use your negotiation skills with the auto dealer to get a lower price, and possibly finance the new Porsche with your good credit. Possible result: $7,000 saved.
  3. For his sister, negotiate with the credit card companies or work with a credit counseling company. Possible result: $22,000 saved.
  4. The total of these is a possible result of saving up to $42k cash.

They can hold three separate mortgages for $36,000 each. Then, your payoff is the amounts you have successfully negotiated. You then apply to a traditional lender to refinance the lower mortgage balances totaling $108,000.

That’s a good deal! Here’s a better deal: The sellers jointly hold one single mortgage for the entire amount of $108,000. You reduce the payoff of the mortgage the same way mentioned above. Then sometime in the future, you tell them that you are coming into some money within the next month. If they can agree to take $80,000 for the balance, you tell then that you will have all their cash within that month. If not, they have to wait out the terms of the mortgage, which you negotiated to be the longest time possible. This saves you another $28,000. I have used this method many times. Total savings on this deal $70,000.00! That’s a 40% savings!

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Digital Photo Frames – Five Creative Ways You Can Use

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Are you wondering how to use your digital photo frame in a more attractive, funkier and useful way? Well, here is a guide-line for all you digital frame lovers out there. Now you can actually use your digital photo frame in a creative and productive way. Here are five creative ways you can use your digital frames:

Theme-Based slide shows

Do you have photographs that fall under a similar category? Well then how about sharing them with your friends and family by placing it on the mantle piece and creating a theme-based slide show for them. The screen of a digital photo frame allows everyone to have a look at your photography skills. Just click the remote control and leave your friends amazed. You can also do the same with your wedding, college or even Halloween pictures!

Interactive Entertainment

How about scaring those little trick-or-treater this Halloween? Place your digital frame on the window sill and set it on a time-interval based slide show. Upload scary pictures and play your favorite horror clip in the background. It looks very real when actually played. Besides, what is wrong with giving those naughty kids a little jump-scare?

Presentation slide shows

You can always impress your colleagues and boss by showing up with your digital picture frame for presentations and other job-related meetings. Got a graph to share? Upload it on your digital photo frame and share your views with your co-workers. It is easier to work with since it offers smooth transition unlike most video and photograph projectors that require manual control.

Relax with your digital photo frame

If you feel tired and worn out at the end of a long day, you can always relax with the help of your digital picture frame. Upload natural scenic photographs along with a soft tune playing in the background and here you go: The ambience for an evening dedicated just to you. This is easy to do since most digital picture frames have built-in speakers.

Tell stories

You can always entertain your little ones at home or, if you are a teacher, in class. Just take your digital photo frame and upload pictures of the story you plan to tell. You can also enter music and presto! Perfect way to get children attention and their imagination working up.

So those were five creative ways you can use digital photo frames! Hope you enjoy!

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Be Creative: 10 Easy Steps To Increase Your Confidence, Creativity and Cash In The Attention Economy

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How can you be more creative? How can you turn creative ideas into cash. Want to be better at creative thinking?

In Australia at the moment we are celebrating the Australian Innovation Festival.

This years theme is Innovation and You.

The festival was established to celebrate the best in Australian innovation.

According to the official brochure innovation can be defined as “a process that transfers ideas through business activity into saleable goods, processes and services”.

I have been proud to present a range of seminars as part of the festival and attend the official launch.

I was impressed by guest speaker, John Howkins who is a leading figure in global communications, media and entertainment. I’m currently reading his groundbreaking book The Creative Economy.

As I sat, listened and then reflected on his presentation, here is my analysis distilled down into my Top 10 Tips:

1. Create a Confidence Culture.
Don’t rely only on your own individual talent to have and implement ideas. When you have ideas you need to convince people to invest in those ideas. This relies on your confidence and ability to persuade people to turn a dream into reality. If you’re not confident in your idea how can you convince others to invest time, money and resources in it?

2. Sit and Think and Look and Question.
The best answers to problems are solved by observation, analysis and insight. Take time out to practice these too often lost skills. Appreciate time working on your own. As Dr Karl Kruszelnicki says in his IQ case study on Nobel Prize Winners (who by the way have normal IQs around the 120 mark), “its not the answers that get you to the blue hall, but the questions!”

3. Attitude.
Ideas are available to anyone. All you need is your brain because it is made up of perceptions and memories which form inherited ideas. Put the priority on ideas rather than data. In our democratic and populist societies, we’re seeing the rise of the individual. Be an individual to stand out from the crowd and nurture your uniqueness, but also be a team player. This unique combination is essential for success.

It is a credo I live by. Framed hanging on the wall in my office in a prominent position is a poster with my logo and this message:

“OUR CORE VALUES. The following values are actively fostered, encouraged and central to the way we do business:
Creativity
Excellence
Service
Teamwork”

Have an attitude, live it and be consistent.

4. Be Competitive and Tough.
The barriers of entry for new ideas are extremely low, even non-existent. You need to outsmart your competition and understand patents, copyright, trademarks and other intellectual property laws that protect ideas. What business is about, is not the technology, but about ideas and the application and protection of ideas.

Howkins compares the examples of two brilliant men, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and inventor of the Internet, Tim Berners-Lee. Gates protected his idea and is now the wealthiest man on the planet. Berners-Lee didn’t and yet his invention has changed the way we communicate.

5. The Ability To Change People’s Mind.
Being part of the creative economy is about changing people’s minds. If you want your ideas to be taken seriously, you need to have outstanding persuasion and influence skills.

6. Learn Endlessly.
Ideas are about doing something different and better. Borrow. Innovate. In beautiful Perth where I live, as well as the low cost of living, stunning lifestyle and great weather – we have another advantage. I call it the isolation, ideas and innovation factor. We live in the most isolated city in the world and this is both a negative and positive. The positive is remoteness breeds creativity. When you stop learning, you stop being creative.

7. Excel In The Attention Economy
We now live in an economy where creativity, the media and entertainment dominate. It seeps into every crease, fold and cranny in our lives. Learn to excel in this economy. Understand the pressures and the principles of living in this age.

I call this a time when the Three C’s of Change are on the increase:

Chaos,
Clutter, and
Competition
Chaos – Our lives are getting busier and busier and more and more chaotic as we sift through the masses of information coming at us.

Clutter – This mass of information is getting held up, like grains of sand in an hourglass, and the sheer volume is cluttering up our lives and decision-making processes.

Competition – It is an increasingly competitive marketplace now, with me too brands, look at me brands, and global brands dominating the marketplace. It is increasingly difficult to be truly unique and standout from the crowd.

8. To Make A Mistake Is Not To Fail.
There’s a well-known saying along the lines of “a mistake is only a mistake if you don’t learn from it”. The rate of failure is high within an economy built on ideas. That failure can be at a personal, company or even Government policy level. Learn how to deal with failure and manage it. Traditionally bureaucrats have focussed on policy and businesses avoid risk.

When a senior executive at the ABC, I always found this a challenge as a manager. A delicate balancing act was required to encourage creativity to make good programs on the one hand, while working within a dinosaur-like, bureacratic, public service culture where policy and process dominate. I learnt the hard way there is an unstable relationship between creativity, innovation and bureacracy. You can read a full article about these challenges originally published in The West Australian newspaper in November 2000 here.

9. Build A Powerful Personal Brand.
How creative you are, whether your ideas are accepted and how often you fail will impact on your personal identity. Your identity is how others see you. Manage these perceptions and build a strong personal brand that is resilient, reliable and real.

10. Have Ideas, Make Fun, Make Money.
Ideas are the currency and rules by which we get access to capital. If you have the right idea, with the right support, you can have great fun and make a huge amount of money along the way.

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Easy, Creative Holiday Decorating and Entertaining Ideas

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Most everyone loves to decorate for the holidays. It gives you a chance to change up your decor and add a new twist during the month of December. Here are some fun and easy creative ideas to add some pizzazz to your home, especially great for entertaining.

Create Memorable Place Settings – Attach personalized ornaments to a colorful ribbon, and tie around the napkin at each place setting. Fill clear glass orbs, available at craft stores, with glittery garland, pine needles, or special trinkets. Place three to five festive candle pillars at the center of your table surrounded by some fresh greenery. It will not only create a beautiful centerpiece, it will also have an amazing fragrance.

Cast the Perfect Glow – To create soft, flickering light for a mantel or a table in a dark corner, group inexpensive frosted-glass vases of different sizes, add tealights, and enjoy the glow. Candlelight is especially soothing at this time of year. Group candles together on coffee tables, your kitchen island, sofa tables, and entry pieces. There’s nothing like the soft glow of candlelight to create a warm and welcoming feeling for your holiday guests.

Fill a Wreath with Wishes – Hang an unadorned twig wreath in a spot where guests can’t miss it. Set out red magic markers and small white cards on a table next to it. Post a little sign asking visitors to scribble a greeting or a wish for the upcoming New Year, along with their names, and have them slip the notes into the wreath.

Personalize Your Stemware – Use leftover ribbon to tie around the stems of your champagne flutes or wine glasses for an extra bit of festivity. Choosing a different color for every glass will help guests keep track of their drinks.

Make a Statement with Poinsettias – Dress up a poinsettia from the supermarket by placing it in a beautiful container. Add curly willow to add pizzazz and make it special. Try grouping three or five poinsettias together to really make a statement. For elegance, use white poinsettias and place them in gold or silver containers.

I hope that you get inspired by some of these ideas. If you try any of them, or come up with some of your own, please drop me a line and let me know what you did and how it turned out.

May your home be filled with joy and love now and throughout the coming year.

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5 Steps on How to Improve Your Creativity

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Let’s start by defining what being creative is and before you read on, I would like you to think for a moment how you would define creativity?

Being creative means to create something that does not exists. What you create is entirely up to you, it could be a solution or a method or an idea that you could work upon in your personal or professional life.

If you think that being creative is for people in art and you happen to be working for big corporations then you may decide that increased creativity is not important for you. But creativity is something far broader than artistic expression and is required in many aspects of life.

If you still think that being creative is for artists, painters, musicians and others who directly belong to any form of Arts, then you need to think again. Don’t CEOs and people at various levels in the organization require creativity to conceptualize a new product or create a new idea to sell their product to the market?

They are all working on problems and devising solutions that didn’t exist before. These people are using their minds to imagine fresh ways of doing something, putting together existing forms and ideas in new ways.

They may be creating a new idea, a new look, a new product, or new technique. Sometimes the ability to be more creative can lead to personal fame and fortune; sometimes it just provides a deep sense of personal satisfaction.

Can we improve creativity? Yes, of course we can. Read on to find out how.

1. Visualize through Meditation

Creativity is reduced when our senses are dulled. Sleep well, eat well and meditate often. I know many of us don’t have the liberty of time available to mediate at home, so apply a bit of creativity. You have a problem with availability of time; use your time while traveling to do so. Just a good 10 – 15 minutes of meditation can put you in the right path towards becoming creative.

During this exercise, learn to breathe softly and try to relax your body completely. Once at this state, try to imagine being in a forest or any place that you like. Try visualizing the surrounding in details. Try to listen to your surrounding and keep strolling around that place and keep discovering new things.

2. Be curious about the world

I would recommend that you start watching the Discovery channel. Watch the programming that you like the best and keep thinking about the why and how from it. Watching such programs help your brain to learn something new. Such learning can be applied to a situation where you would require creative thinking.

3. Do something which does not interest you

If you hate reading, then start reading a book. If you don’t like a particular type of music, then start listening to such music. The point here is to expose your brain to as many new things and concepts as possible. You never know what new learning you might use to solve a problem later in life.

4. Keep observing your environment

While traveling to work or anywhere, observe your surroundings. Look at the various billboards and scenery around you. Enjoy what you see and start asking questions of what-if. I personally enjoy reading all billboards and attach my what-if questions to advertisements. I try to dig and understand what the creator of the advertiser had in mind when he/she created the piece
of work.

5. Pick up a hobby that you enjoy

Do you have a hobby? If no, then start now by asking yourself what you enjoy. Do you enjoy music? Do you enjoy collecting items? Do you enjoy entertaining people? Do you enjoy writing? Do you enjoy drawing/painting? Do you enjoy crafts?

Having a hobby helps you in many ways and directly helps you in improving your creativity. It forces you to think out of the box during the period when you are conducting your hobby. My only hobby is magic. I enjoy entertaining people and hence learn new moves & techniques all the time and spend some of my time in practicing and mastering them. You might not like magic, but that’s ok. Try finding something that you like and devote some time to it. You will see a remarkable improvement in your creative ability.

Closing notes:

There are two sides of the brain, left and right. The right side of the brain is responsible for creativity, whereas the left side of the brain is logical.

How do you find what type of person you are? If you can remember names more than faces, then you are a left brained person and if you can remember faces more than names then you are right brained person. This means that either your left or the right brain has greater impact on you.

Some quotes on creativity:

The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking.

Albert Einstein

To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.

Henri L Bergson

There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence transform a yellow spot into the sun.

Pablo Picasso

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Learn the 4 Secrets to Unleash the Power of Your Creative Thought – Part 1

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Part 1 of a 3 part series: Finding Your Creativity

Spring is here. It’s time to clean out the cobwebs in your brain. Open your mind to all ideas you ignore, argue with or push to the backburner for later. Well, later is here.

Women have the capacity to take the unknown and give it a form that speaks in a different voice to each listener. Women own the power (and passion) of creative thought to paint, write, compose, think and perform.

What is creative thought in relation to the female brain? How do women influence their creative thought? Where should you start to find the power of your creative thought? Answers to these questions serve the influential intuitive woman.

There are three stages to actualizing your creative process: Finding Your Creativity, Conquering Creativity Challenges and Living Creative Results. Within each area you will find the 4 secrets dispelling the mystery of creativity – driving your mastery.

Secret #1: Accept Your Creativity. Creativity isn’t only for the Picasso geniuses. Women exercise their creativity when they intuit what’s next, take risks and believe in their inner guide.

“We need to remember that we are all created creative and can invent new scenarios as frequently as they are needed.” Maya Angelou

Learn to recognize and respond to what is going on inside your creative brain. What habits do you need to change? What needs to be different to allow the presence of your creativity to come forth?

Secret #2: Nurture Your Inspiration. Women have an innate ability to inspire what pulls them toward everything that is good. Attraction of the thought, feeling, idea, and soul is where it starts. Our soul is the message we receive when looking for answers. It is up to us to listen, respond, negotiate, improve and apply that message.

The creative woman notices and takes in her surroundings, the nature of human interaction, the meaning of intention. She does not hide from what is unseen. She goes deeper into her intuitive nature to capture all that is present.

No idea is useless. Use your insight key to unlock the purpose of the idea, the spark that ignites your creativity.

Secret #3: Say yes to a new journey. Plan a new method – a new path to open up your creative juices. This new path may mean encouraging wildly different self-expression. What limits are you placing on your expression? What self-limiting beliefs are you entertaining? Push them to the side or better yet, eliminate them – for good.

Become aware of your reality distortions. Our reality becomes distorted by jumping to conclusions based on erroneous assumptions.

Women can act from a space of self and not others.

Secret #4: Embrace YOUR creative process. What do you do when you hit a void? A void is simple a silence in the process. A time to reflect, honor and be patient. Nature shows us the balance of giving and receiving.

William Bridges refers to this as the ‘neutral zone.” Before there can be a beginning something has to end. Understanding this concept, or reality, is a shortcut to being comfortable with reinventing ourselves, experiencing conflict, uncertainty or confusion.

Understanding the void of your creative process is equally as important as the aspects of true creativity.

“If you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.” Erica Jong

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