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Feng Shui and Creativity

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The ancient practice of feng shui originated in China, but affects every living being, much like gravity. As a metaphysical art form, feng shui is a vast body of theories and techniques for improving the quality of life. Health, finances and relationships are all influenced by where you live and work and feng shui reveals that on a level which most people are not aware of.

One area of life and livelihood that is extremely important to many people is their creative potential. Writers, actors, artists, musicians, and many creative people in the entertainment industry, food or fashion industries can all benefit from feng shui remedies designed to heighten creative potential or enhance the inherent creative areas that already exist in their house.

The key is how to identify where those creative areas are and then utilize those areas of your floor plan. I once had a client whose home revealed that the most creative area landed in her master bathroom. This is usually considered a waste of good space, which is why feng shui can be so powerful in the design phase. If someone knew in advance where the best areas of their home would be located, they could build the house to make sure the bedrooms, home office and main entrance landed in the good areas and not wasted on rooms that one hardly uses. With the client whose major creative area landed in her bathroom, I began to explain how that was not so desirable, but she assured me that she actually got most of her ideas for screenplays while soaking in her tub!

Every house has a couple of locations that can be enhanced to stimulate creativity. Typical remedies often employ design and décor features, with water being one of the most powerful natural elements to add to the right location. This is why I love water fountains and aquariums. As well, there are some house types that naturally attract creative people. For example, houses built between 1924-1943 are called “Period 4″ houses and that Era of construction contains many house types that are great for creative people. One only needs to look at certain sections of Los Angeles that are filled with homes from this Era (West Hollywood, Beverly Hills) to see that people often match their homes. As well, some of the major studios have older structures on the lot from this Era called Period 4. At Fox Studios there are some buildings that face southwest and built between 1984-2003 that end up having this “4” energy in the very center, which also means the building can support creative ventures. The “4 star” is not to be understood literally as the number 4 or part of an address. It is just code for the energies that can be calculated in the same way that we can refer to water as H2O.

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The Need For An Entertainment Lawyer In Film Production

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Does the film producer really need a film lawyer or entertainment attorney as a matter of professional practice? An entertainment lawyer’s own bias and my stacking of the question notwithstanding, which might naturally indicate a “yes” answer 100% of the time – the forthright answer is, “it depends”. A number of producers these days are themselves film lawyers, entertainment attorneys, or other types of lawyers, and so, often can take care of themselves. But the film producers to worry about, are the ones who act as if they are entertainment lawyers – but without a license or entertainment attorney legal experience to back it up. Filmmaking and motion picture practice comprise an industry wherein these days, unfortunately, “bluff” and “bluster” sometimes serve as substitutes for actual knowledge and experience. But “bluffed” documents and cture production procedures will never escape the trained eye of entertainment attorneys working for the studios, the distributors, the banks, or the errors-and-omissions (E&O) insurance carriers. For this reason alone, I suppose, the job function of film production counsel and entertainment lawyer is still secure.

I also suppose that there will always be a few lucky filmmakers who, throughout the entire production process, fly under the proverbial radar without entertainment attorney accompaniment. They will seemingly avoid pitfalls and liabilities like flying bats are reputed to avoid people’s hair. By way of analogy, one of my best friends hasn’t had any health insurance for years, and he is still in good shape and economically afloat – this week, anyway. Taken in the aggregate, some people will always be luckier than others, and some people will always be more inclined than others to roll the dice.

But it is all too simplistic and pedestrian to tell oneself that “I’ll avoid the need for film lawyers if I simply stay out of trouble and be careful”. An entertainment lawyer, especially in the realm of film (or other) production, can be a real constructive asset to a motion picture producer, as well as the film producer’s personally-selected inoculation against potential liabilities. If the producer’s entertainment attorney has been through the process of film production previously, then that entertainment lawyer has already learned many of the harsh lessons regularly dished out by the commercial world and the film business.

The film and entertainment lawyer can therefore spare the producer many of those pitfalls. How? By clear thinking, careful planning, and – this is the absolute key – skilled, thoughtful and complete documentation of all film production and related activity. The film lawyer should not be thought of as simply the cowboy or cowgirl wearing the proverbial “black hat”. Sure, the entertainment lawyer may sometimes be the one who says “no”. But the entertainment attorney can be a positive force in the production as well.

The film lawyer can, in the course of legal representation, assist the producer as an effective business consultant, too. If that entertainment lawyer has been involved with scores of film productions, then the motion picture producer who hires that film lawyer entertainment attorney benefits from that very cache of experience. Yes, it sometimes may be difficult to stretch the film budget to allow for counsel, but professional filmmakers tend to view the legal cost expenditure to be a fixed, predictable, and necessary one – akin to the fixed obligation of rent for the production office, or the cost of film for the cameras. While some film and entertainment lawyers may price themselves out of the price range of the average independent film producer, other entertainment attorneys do not.

Enough generalities. For what specific tasks must a producer typically retain a film lawyer and entertainment attorney?:

1. INCORPORATION, OR FORMATION OF AN “LLC”: To paraphrase Michael Douglas’s Gordon Gekko character in the motion picture “Wall Street” when speaking to Bud Fox while on the morning beach on the oversized mobile phone, this entity-formation issue usually constitutes the entertainment attorney’s “wake-up call” to the film producer, telling the film producer that it is time. If the producer doesn’t properly create, file, and maintain a corporate or other appropriate entity through which to conduct business, and if the film producer doesn’t thereafter make every effort to keep that entity bullet-proof, says the entertainment lawyer, then the film producer is potentially shooting himself or herself in the foot. Without the shield against liability that an entity can provide, the entertainment attorney opines, the motion picture producer’s personal assets (like house, car, bank account) are at risk and, in a worst-case scenario, could ultimately be seized to satisfy the debts and liabilities of the film producer’s business. In other words:

Patient: “Doctor, it hurts my head when I do that”.

Doctor: “So? Don’t do that”.

Like it or not, the film lawyer entertainment attorney continues, “Film is a speculative business, and the statistical majority of motion pictures can fail economically – even at the San Fernando Valley film studio level. It is insane to run a film business or any other form of business out of one’s own personal bank account”. Besides, it looks unprofessional, a real concern if the producer wants to attract talent, bankers, and distributors at any point in the future.

The choices of where and how to file an entity are often prompted by entertainment lawyers but then driven by situation-specific variables, including tax concerns relating to the film or motion picture company sometimes. The film producer should let an entertainment attorney do it and do it correctly. Entity-creation is affordable. Good lawyers don’t look at incorporating a client as a profit-center anyway, because of the obvious potential for new business that an entity-creation brings. While the film producer should be aware that under U.S. law a client can fire his/her lawyer at any time at all, many entertainment lawyers who do the entity-creation work get asked to do further work for that same client – especially if the entertainment attorney bills the first job reasonably.

I wouldn’t recommend self-incorporation by a non-lawyer – any more than I would tell a film producer-client what actors to hire in a motion picture – or any more than I would tell a D.P.-client what lens to use on a specific film shot. As will be true on a film production set, everybody has their own job to do. And I believe that as soon as the producer lets a competent entertainment lawyer do his or her job, things will start to gel for the film production in ways that couldn’t even be originally foreseen by the motion picture producer.

2. SOLICITING INVESTMENT: This issue also often constitutes a wake-up call of sorts. Let’s say that the film producer wants to make a motion picture with other people’s money. (No, not an unusual scenario). The film producer will likely start soliciting funds for the movie from so-called “passive” investors in any number of possible ways, and may actually start collecting some monies as a result. Sometimes this occurs prior to the entertainment lawyer hearing about it post facto from his or her client.

If the film producer is not a lawyer, then the producer should not even think of “trying this at home”. Like it or not, the entertainment lawyer opines, the film producer will thereby be selling securities to people. If the producer promises investors some pie-in-the-sky results in the context of this inherently speculative business called film, and then collects money on the basis of that representation, believe me, the film producer will have even more grave problems than conscience to deal with. Securities compliance work is among the most difficult of matters faced by an entertainment attorney.

As both entertainment lawyers and securities lawyers will opine, botching a solicitation for film (or any other) investment can have severe and federally-mandated consequences. No matter how great the film script is, it’s never worth monetary fines and jail time – not to mention the veritable unspooling of the unfinished motion picture if and when the producer gets nailed. All the while, it is shocking to see how many ersatz film producers in the real world try to float their own “investment prospectus”, complete with boastful anticipated multipliers of the box office figures of the famed motion pictures “E.T.” and “Jurassic Park” combined. They draft these monstrosities with their own sheer creativity and imagination, but usually with no entertainment or film lawyer or other legal counsel. I’m sure that some of these producers think of themselves as “visionaries” while writing the prospectus. Entertainment attorneys and the rest of the bar, and bench, may tend to think of them, instead, as prospective ‘Defendants’.

Enough said.

3. DEALING WITH THE GUILDS: Let’s assume that the film producer has decided, even without entertainment attorney guidance yet, that the production entity will need to be a signatory to collective bargaining agreements of unions such as Screen Actors Guild (SAG), the Directors Guild (DGA), and/or the Writers Guild (WGA). This is a subject matter area that some film producers can handle themselves, particularly producers with experience. But if the film producer can afford it, the producer should consult with a film lawyer or entertainment lawyer prior to making even any initial contact with the guilds. The producer should certainly consult with an entertainment attorney or film lawyer prior to issuing any writings to the guilds, or signing any of their documents. Failure to plan out these guild issues with film or entertainment attorney counsel ahead of time, could lead to problems and expenses that sometimes make it cost-prohibitive to thereafter continue with the picture’s further production.

4. CONTRACTUAL AFFAIRS GENERALLY: A film production’s agreements should all be in writing, and not saved until the last minute, as any entertainment attorney will observe. It will be more expensive to bring film counsel in, late in the day – sort of like booking an airline flight a few days before the planned travel. A film producer should remember that a plaintiff suing for breach of a bungled contract might not only seek money for damages, but could also seek the equitable relief of an injunction (translation: “Judge, stop this production… stop this motion picture… stop this film… Cut!”).

A film producer does not want to suffer a back claim for talent compensation, or a disgruntled location-landlord, or state child labor authorities – threatening to enjoin or shut the motion picture production down for reasons that could have been easily avoided by careful planning, drafting, research, and communication with one’s film lawyer or entertainment lawyer. The movie production’s agreements should be drafted with care by the entertainment attorney, and should be customized to encompass the special characteristics of the production.

As an entertainment lawyer, I have seen non-lawyer film producers try to do their own legal drafting for their own pictures. As mentioned above, some few are lucky, and remain under the proverbial radar. But consider this: if the film producer sells or options the project, one of the first things that the film distributor or film buyer (or its own film and entertainment attorney counsel) will want to see, is the “chain of title” and development and production file, complete with all signed agreements. The production’s insurance carrier may also want to see these same documents. So might the guilds, too. And their entertainment lawyers. The documents must be written so as to survive the audience.

Therefore, for a film producer to try to “fake it” oneself is simply to put many problems off for another day, as well as create an air of non-attorney amateurism to the production file. It will be less expensive for the film producer to attack all of these issues earlier as opposed to later, through use of a film lawyer or entertainment attorney. And the likelihood is that any self-respecting film attorney and entertainment lawyer is going to have to re-draft substantial parts (if not all) of the producer’s self-drafted production file, once he or she sees what the non-lawyer film producer has done to it on his or her own – and that translates into unfortunate and wasted expense. I would no sooner want my chiropractor to draft and negotiate his own filmed motion picture contracts, than I would put myself on his table and try to crunch through my own backbone adjustments. Furthermore, I wouldn’t do half of the chiropractic adjustment myself, and then call the chiropractor into the examining room to finish what I had started. (I use the chiropractic motif only to spare you the cliché old saw of “performing surgery on oneself”).

There are many other reasons for retaining a film lawyer and entertainment attorney for motion picture work, and space won’t allow all of them. But the above-listed ones are the big ones.

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5 Crazy Entertainment Applications for Your iPhone

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Apple’s iPhone can always keep you entertained. There are plenty of applications in AppStore’s entertainment category that can get you out of absolute boredom and can keep your mood up and running. Further, after Apple has finally raised the curtains from iPhone 5, this category is going to get heaped up with apps as people would be inclined to get more and more of them. In the meanwhile, if you’re looking for some quirky apps that will keep the fun and amusement on for you, then here are five of them.

FaceGoo Lite
If you love to make faces, then FaceGoo Lite is just your kind of application. In this app, you can pinch, stretch and twist your photos and make it as crazy and funny as possible. You can make your friends look silly, or you can contort the faces of your foes to make them look fat and idiotic. Upgrade to the full version of the app to save screenshots and upload those crazy funny faces on Facebook. You just need to choose picture from the Photo Library, and use your fingers to twist, punch and push the face.

StumbleUpon!
This app is meant for those people who never get tired of exploring and discovering new things, and when it comes to exploring and discovering, then nothing can provide them more fun than this one. With just a tap on the “Stumble!” button, StumbleUpon! Presents you with heaps of photos, videos and interesting web pages on iPhone’s touch screen. You can pick from 500 different interests, and it instantly recommends you with pages that have amazing stuffs. Also, your mobile account gets automatically synced with your web account; so now, you can start exploring anytime you want.

Spray Can
Spray Can is bliss to all those people who love to show their artistic side in extraordinary ways. Download this app in your iPhone, and join the biggest art community on iOS that has approximately 5 million users. It has an extremely creative and easy-to-use paint mode and an online gallery where users can publish their arts and rate and comment on other users’ tags. If your art is good enough, then you can build your own fan base and can become famous.

SimSimi
This one came as good news to all those chatter boxes who love to keep themselves entertained with non-stop chatting and gossips. SimSimi is a cute, advanced chatting robot that can make amusing conversation to keep you away from boredom. To initiate the conversation, just start a talk session at the touch screen, and SimSimi instantly greets you. You can even teach new words to SimSimi and grow her vocabulary with your input. At first go, this may seem to be a kid’s game, but as you get used to talking to the cute chatting robot, you’ll find that it can amuse any person regardless of age.

Ghost Radar®: CLASSIC
So, if you love to get entertained with spooky experiences, then Ghost Radar® can help you. This app has been designed to detect paranormal activity, and for this task, it has been equipped with various sensors. However, Ghost Radar® is different from other traditional paranormal equipment because it analyzes the sensors’ readings only when it gets interesting patterns. It also has a voice to let you know when it detects interesting words.

All the five applications mentioned above are peculiar, but entertaining. The surprising thing is though AppStore provides users with lots of peculiar apps for fun and enjoyment, the fever of entertainment apps development for iPhone never seems to go. Well, one big reason for this might be that there are lots of people who have got crazier ideas for entertainment apps.

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Enjoyable Entertaining That’s Easy on the Budget

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If you are planning on hosting a get together with friends or family, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. With just a little creativity, everyone can have a wonderful time enjoying delicious food and great company. One of the best ways to do this is by giving your dinner party a creative theme. By choosing a certain theme, you can allow your guests to get in on the fun of designing a very unique and unforgettable gathering. By letting your guests bring a dish of food or some other item that goes along with the theme, they will feel like they helped plan the party and it will have a more personal feel. As the host of the party, you will need to provide the main dish, the drinks, the desserts, and some of the decorations, but you can incorporate the items and foods your guests bring with them to go along with the theme of the party.

For example, let’s say you want to plan a dinner function that has a theme based on a certain era of time, like the 1950s. You could easily plan the main dish as a type of food that many people enjoyed during that time. This could be anything from fried chicken, to meatloaf, to even hamburgers. You might want to get a little creative with the way you prepare that dish or even prepare it in a few different ways. During this time, Cola and milkshakes were very popular. You could easily serve different flavors of cola as the drinks and make homemade milkshakes for dessert. The side dishes would be where things would be very creative and fun. Ask each of your guests to bring their favorite side dish that they remember enjoying during the 1950s. Just be sure to find out what your guests will be bringing so that there isn’t too much of one particular food.

When it comes to the decorations for a 1950s themed party, you can also do this easily. Think of the type of decorations that were found in a few of your favorite restaurants or diners during that time. Things like old fashioned salt and pepper shakers, ketchup and mustard bottles, and even checkered tablecloths would be very fitting for this theme. These items can usually be found at a reasonable price at thrift store or you can even ask your guests to bring any of these that they might have on hand. If you happen to have any personal items of your own from this time be sure to have those out too. Ask your guests to bring or wear their favorite item from the 1950s. This could be clothing such as poodle skirts, saddleback shoes, or leather jackets. They could even bring things like old high school yearbooks, hula hoops, or even roller skates. With every item from the past that is brought, the guest who brought it can tell the story of what it represents in their life during the time they used it. So, as you can see, a dinner party can be planned without breaking the bank while also allowing the guests to get in on the fun.

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Four Myths About Creativity

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Some ideas on creativity are as fanciful as frog feathers. Now, I’m not claiming that frog feathers aren’t real, maybe they are. All I know is that frogs of my acquaintance have no feathers. Likewise, many of the notions floating around in modern culture about creativity are quite different from my experiences.

Sometimes it helps define something by eliminating things that are confused with it. That exercise will be particularly useful in our discussion of creativity. So, let’s talk about what creativity isn’t. Let’s “de-myth-tefy” creativity.

Myth #1: Creativity is doing whatever comes into your head.
While it is true that there are brainstorming techniques that do just that–elicit anything that pops into the participants’ minds–this isn’t the basis of true creativity it’s just randomness.

Myth #2: Creativity is doing whatever you want.
There has been a culture of elitism that would have you believe that this is so. This attitude dates back to at least Renaissance times. It became accepted to give special license to supposedly creative people. It was a concept of celebrity status that considers these artistic folks were somehow above the average person and above the normal rules of conduct.

Michelangelo was certainly one of the greatest artists of the Renaissance. Unfortunately, he really bought into this notion of artistic entitlement and milked it for all he was worth. He was given to being moody and grumpy. A very talented artist contemporary of Michelangelo’s, named Raphael, used to poke fun at him for his anti-social ways. Raphael even painted a large fresco titled The School of Athens, which shows Plato and Aristotle in earnest conversation in a setting where lots other great philosophers and artists are conversing. Raphael painted himself and a few of his artist friends in a little group at the side of the scene. Front and center in this fresco he put Michelangelo, sitting on a step and sulking. Raphael, who was an excellent artist himself, had very little patience with Michelangelo’s putting on “artsy-fartsy” airs.

Unfortunately, we still uphold the same artists-are-different delusion today. It’s a notion fostered by self-indulgent persons who want license to act badly. Sadly, it is well-engrained in our society, but it ought not to be. Creativity is no license to be self-centered, moody, selfish or rude, any more than being wealthy or famous should give folks license to be boorish or inconsiderate.

Myth #3: Creativity just happens when you are inspired.
The ancient Greeks believed that there were goddesses, called the Muses, who gave artists inspiration. The word, “inspire” means to “breathe in” or “inhale,” and the word “inspiration” originally implied being “breathed upon” by the gods.

Many people today may not believe in literal muses, but some still believe that creativity involves waiting for “inspiration” to light upon our shoulders and give us ideas. The notion that the truly creative individual can only create when “in the mood” is both undisciplined and untrue. It is the battle-cry of the lazy and under-achievers. The real creative geniuses of our world have worked at their craft, whether they were in the mood or not. Thomas Edison said, “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine per cent perspiration.”

Myth #4: Creativity is just breaking the boundaries.
That is the shallowest myth of all. Just breaking boundaries serves little purpose in and of itself, unless it solves a problem. To be sure, many a creative solution requires a new approach, but a new and different approach just for its own sake doesn’t constitute a creative one.

So what is creativity then? In the final analysis, creativity is the ability to solve problems.

There. That was easy.

That’s really what it’s all about. But when you have a problem there are always constraints, limitations and boundaries that come as part of the problem. Part of creativity is having clear vision to correctly perceive a problem and the constraints around it. That vision will also see real limitations as separate and different from imagined limitations.

Let’s say you’ve got a glass jar with a metal lid that won’t unscrew. You could smash the jar to separate the lid from the jar, but that’s hardly a creative solution. Nor is it a suitable solution. One of the real constraints of this problem is that, most of the time, the jar needs to remain intact after it’s open or its contents would be ruined if mixed with broken glass.

A creative solution might be that you pry a bit all around the edges of the lid to break the seal it has on the jar. You could run some hot water over the lid, but not the jar, to get the metal lid to expand a bit more than the jar and loosen up. You could wrap rubber bands around the lid and around the jar to increase the traction of your grip.

Some people think that a solution must be new and different in order to be creative. How superficial. Being new and different is not the necessary ingredient. Solving the problem is what is necessary. (By definition, “new and different” has already been done.) So don’t worry about it.

Often a genuinely successful solution can be discovered by entertaining non-traditional ideas; but not just because the idea was non-traditional.

When the Linux group was considering how to keep from being swallowed up in the Microsoft world, someone suggested, “Let’s make it free.” A crazy idea, but they did it.

3M made a new adhesive that didn’t stick very well. Instead of discarding it, they built a whole industry on it. And the Post-it Note(TM) was born.

In any problem, there are primary concerns and secondary concerns. The real creativity comes in separating secondary concerns, and, if necessary, sacrificing them in order to accomplish the primary concern.

Creativity is not only demonstrated in the arts, but in every area of human endeavor. It is what gives us solutions to every problem. From agriculture to politics, from computers to child-rearing, from business to education. Creativity is needed everywhere.

We all have creativity, even if we don’t know it. If we have ever solved any problem, we have demonstrated creativity. That’s what creativity really is.

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Mascots & Minglers – Eye Catching Entertainers

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Planning a part or event doesn’t have to be that difficult. If you want to improve your events, find a way to make them really special. One way to do that is to introduce a little spice into the mix – in the form of entertainers – break the ice and get things moving.

And what more entertaining spice can you think of than a good entertainer. Whatever their role, be it mascot, mingler, or in the spotlight, a good entertainer can make people feel relaxed and comfortable and add flare to an otherwise dull event.

When you use an entertainer to improve your event, think about the type of party you’ll be hosting. Of course, you must first identify your goal. Are you welcoming home a long lost uncle? Trying to sell a timeshare? Increasing your network of professional contacts? And what are the characteristics of your guests? Are they business people, families, students? What type of party will it be? A small, intimate affair for a few friends or a big bash for the whole neighborhood? When you’ve established who’ll be there and what you’ll all be doing, you can begin to search for the perfect entertainer to brighten up the affair and improve your events.

How will you use your entertainer? A DJ is perfect for a party where people will be dancing. A comedian makes a great emcee or stand-up performer. A public speaker can not only entertain, but motivate and inform. Dancers can teach while they entertain, and exotic dancers (like belly dancers) can keep the place sizzling. Musicians, including singers, are a wonderful
addition to most events. Here is a list of types of entertainers you may not think of without a little help:

- balloon twisters
– clowns
– face painters
– impersonators
– hypnotists
– magicians
– Elvis impersonators
– mentalists
– puppeteers
– ventriloquists

Musical entertainment doesn’t have to be a rock band or chamber orchestra. What about a barber shop quartet, folk singers, hip hop or rappers, or even a small gospel choir. It all depends on the people and the party.

You can probably find a number of choices by visiting your yellow pages or checking on the internet. The options are almost limitless. Most of these entertainers work at very reasonable prices because they’re either just starting out and need the experience, or they’ve already retired and want to keep active in their beloved profession.

If your budget won’t support a professional entertainer, you might think about bringing in someone who will mingle with your guests to get and keep the conversations and laughter going. Do you know someone who’s outgoing and funny? A good mingler is comfortable with all types of people and is a great conversationalist. If you bring someone in with that purpose in mind, it will probably improve your event and bring the best out in your guests. Of course, as host or hostess, you’ll want to play the role of mingler as well, making sure your guests are comfortable and involved.

One approach to party entertainment is to have activities in which the guests participate. A hypnotist can use your guests as subjects and keep everyone laughing. Impersonators can play role-playing games – what would you say to the President at a fun event? A local dance teacher can keep everyone involved in learning a new dance step. There are also theme parties where everyone has a role. One of the most familiar is the murder mystery where guests have to solve a crime. Casino or poker parties involve your guests in challenging and fun activities for hours!

And, of course, there’s the traditional costume party where your entertainer can play a specific role (like Caesar or George Washington). You can turn your costume party into a casual version of Trivial Pursuit, where the entertainer/character asks guests questions about his or her life or events of that day. You can offer prizes for most answers. Be creative! People love to get outside the old party box. A professional entertainer will give your party a special flare and improve your events.

Bringing in a professional photographer is a great way to get people excited. Few people don’t like to have their picture taken. Now, imagine them having their picture taken with Caesar, George Washington, or George Bush!

There’s only one down side to this approach. Once you’ve spiced up your party with a professional entertainer, your guests will expect all your events to be as much fun! They’ll be talking about you and the party for years to come. So, if you’ve run out of ways to bring smiles to the faces of your friends, family, and business acquaintances, consider introducing an entertainer into the mix. They’ll make your party a smashing success and improve all your events!

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How To Entertain A Thought

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After studying scores of great thinkers like Leonardo Da Vinci, I think I’ve stumbled upon what really set them apart from the rest of the folks living (and thinking) at the same time.

It’s remarkably simple. They learned how to entertain a thought.

Aristotle said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

Hmmm. To entertain a thought without accepting it.

We need to do that. Everyone needs to learn how to be good host or hostess to new ideas. In fact, our goal should be to become the Martha Stewart of mental entertaining!

What if you treated a new thought like a guest?

It’s easier to think about mental entertaining if we put together a to-do list, just like Martha. Here it is:

#1 Make the first move.
First of all, you issue an invitation. Nothing fancy. You don’t have to make any major investment or lifelong commitment. You’re simply inviting this person in.

It’s the same with initiating the entertainment of an idea. You might see a quote on the side of a bus somewhere, and decide you’d like to explore that concept more deeply. Or, maybe you find yourself bumping into the same topic all the time, and so you make up your mind to learn more about it. Either way, you need to be ready to initiate the process. Don’t hide–you won’t meet new ideas if you scurry away whenever the doorbell rings.

#2 Prepare.
Uh-oh. Your house is a mess. You’d better do some cleaning. You’re not really trying to impress, but hey, you could certainly do some sprucing up and get the place looking neat and inviting.

Prepare for a new thought in the same way. Make some space in your mind to think about something new. According to Deepak Chopra, the well-known author on health and longevity, the average human has 60,000 thoughts a day. Pretty impressive? Well, here’s the kicker: 57,000 of those are the same ones you had YESTERDAY! Now that’s some serious clutter! Get rid of a few of those dusty old thoughts and make room for new ones.

#3 Offer a warm greeting.
When your new guest arrives, be warm and inviting. After all, you’re hoping to start a friendship. Put your best foot forward.

It’s the same with an idea. If you face it with skepticism, fear or detachment, you won’t be entertaining it for long. You’ll be eyeing your watch, yawning, or looking for a way to end the discussion early. You’ve got to be open and full of anticipation to prepare an environment in which new ideas will be explored and integrated fully. Just as it’s no fair making lame excuses or having your friend call to interrupt the visit, it’s also cheating to cut out too soon when it comes to entertaining an idea.

#4 Make introductions.
This is the big one. You would certainly introduce your guest to everyone at the party, with a special effort to connect them to those with whom they may have something in common.

Any new idea you consider will be more likely to be welcomed if you actively and intentionally introduce it to your other ideas and interests. Look for unusual and inspired pairings. How does it fit? Where does it fit? DOES it fit? You won’t know until you try.

Picture Leonardo Da Vinci’s mental entertaining. His new idea, Human Flight, arrives, and immediately Leo sets about introducing him to others. “Human, meet my good friend, Engineering, and his lovely wife, Fabric Design. Oh, and have you met Bird Anatomy? She lives just around the corner from you. Oh, Dr. Entomology has arrived! Listen, Dr. E is absolutely brilliant, but a bit hard of hearing. Ask her about her recent work on the wings of insects! Now, you all make yourselves comfy and I’ll go get some more wine.”

What happened at that party? Leonardo threw these ideas together, and BAM! What emerged was the idea for a perfectly designed parachute as well as a remarkable helicopter–hundreds of years before the Wright brothers started building their flying machines! Talk about a soaring success! Don’t you wish you’d been there?

#5 Offer the best seat in the house.
You usually sit in that nice chair there by the fireplace, but when a special guest comes over, you graciously offer it.

When you are entertaining a new thought, give it the consideration it deserves. Every time you think a new thought, your brain is actually creating a new neural pathway. It’s like a jungle in there, full of nerve endings and ganglia and all kinds of connections. Help it along. Make it comfortable.

Once you’ve considered an idea, that pathway is there. All you have to do to keep it “live” is to keep going down that path often enough to clear the trail, but not so often that it becomes a rut.

#6 Listen, inquire, and show interest.
Ask questions. Dig a little deeper. Find the connections to other people, places, and activities. Learn as much as you can about your new idea.

#7 Relinquish control.
Just like when you introduce guests to each other, you should not try to control the outcome. Some guests might hate each other on sight, while others click instantly. People might argue, or a married guest might sneak off to a back room with someone other than their partner. Anything can happen!

That’s not up to you. You’re having this party to offer an opportunity for people to connect. Make introductions, insert a few comments, smile and acknowledge everyone, but for the most part, just let things happen. Don’t direct the flow of ideas.

#8 Leave room for future possibilities.
Even if you decide this guest of yours is insufferable, you don’t want to burn any bridges. Be gracious, and be glad you were excellent enough to offer the invitation.

You’re not going to like every idea that comes your way. And you might not find any other interest or idea that connects with it initially. That’s fine. You need to develop the ability to recognize useful concepts and distinguish valuable and valid ideas from those lacking a strong foundation. That’s what critical thinking is all about.

But you also need to file that idea away so that you can look it up if and when you DO meet a likely candidate for another gathering of thoughts.

There is a great deal of room for different styles of mental entertaining. Maybe you’re best at dealing with only two ideas at a time, or maybe you want to throw a huge bash and welcome all comers.

Entertain in whatever style suits you. Tete-a-tete or bacchanal–it doesn’t matter, as long as it’s happening.

Learn how to entertain a thought. With a little effort, you’ll become a perfect host or hostess to new ideas that come your way. And guess what? You’ll have no hangover, no cleaning up, and no regrets.

Party on!

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