Roger von Oech

Creative Think

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Paul (from Idea Sandbox)

It is not enough to be good, when you dream of being great.

Stephen Denny

Roger: I just came upon this post on The Fix -- didn't see it on your blog, I must have started reading it after you put this up.

I'm not sure I have a proper mantra. Must be a 'to-do list' thing for '07. The closest thing I have is a borrowed motto (is that a mantra?) from Seneca, which seems fitting. Goes like this:

"Say what you will be, then do what must be done."

Very Stoic, very Shut-Up-And-Play-Your-Guitar.

I like your 2nd best answer very much -- the first is often unreflected; the second comes with observation, more insight, and greater care.



It crosses all aspects of life, and the "more" does not necessitate material possession. This is about striving to be the best person you and be, and expecting it from others.

H. Michael Karshis

I'm not sure if these are mantras or not, but these few lines and words of wisdom continue to inspire and reinforce my belief and passion for not settling for half-assed, lazy or second best anything.

First things first. You can't find solutions until you identify the problems.

Discovery + Exploration + Development + Refinement + Implementation = Goodness

Intuitive improvisation is the secret of genius.

In response and regard to any idea, thought or opinion I always find myself asking: Compared to What?

Linus Pauling nails it with: The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.

Pablo Picasso: Originality = having the most obscure sources.

When I'm trusting and being myself... everything in my life reflects this by falling into place easily, often miraculously.
Shakti Gawain

And we can't leave out Friedrich Nietzsche who reminds us that: He who has a why can endure any how.

And for those poor souls stuck in the backstabbing, cover your ass, corporate world of professional liars and NTAC (No Talent Ass Clowns), I offer these words of wisdom:

It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust.
Samuel Johnson

After all is said and done, there is always more said than done.

And thank you Sir Winston Churchill, for your wit and wisdom : “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”

And finally, my favorite words to live by:

It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one's dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent.
W. Somerset Maugham

Here's to true blue friends and honest colleagues!

Nice blog and great food for thought, thanks..


H. Michael Karshis

Erin O'Keefe

Hi Roger,

Thanks for the post - quite a dialogue you've begun on this topic! Interesting that it has become part mantra, part favourite sayings, and that so many have a few that they rotate as the words seem relevant.

Patience, Purpose.

Half of this mantra is a reminder to stop expecting the world on my doorstep, packaged and ready for my specific uses. This is at times an age/career stage thing, but I think it's also a tendency of my ADHD-prone generation. It's not about having everything, now - whether it's change, the development of ideas or new opportunities.
The other half is about purpose - it also answers the first half. With purpose, we can have patience. It's a two-word statement to answer the phrase 'figure out where you're going, then figure out how you need to get there'.

The other mantra I have used came from my cycling water bottle. It is a tagline used by a small triathlon boutique here in Toronto, and it is simply:

Surprise Yourself

There is so much in this simple statement. What does it take to surprise yourself? Applying unconventional thinking, hard work and passion; accepting that something matters enough to dedicate your time to it; accepting the defeats and setbacks along the way; and finally, recognizing the joyful experience of surprising yourself.

Ralph Becker

Hi Roger.
I'd have to say I have a duopoly of mantras:

Status who?


What goes 'round, comes 'round.

So far, they've served me well...

Milos Pesic

What goes around comes around....I like this one. Treat others with respect and you will be respected. Love others and you will be loved.

Elizabeth B.

My mantra is "You choose to be happy."
Whenever I'm grumpy or upset about something, or think something has ruined my day, I just remember "Hey, things can only TRY to make you unhappy, it's your resignation that makes it so!"
And yeah, I may still be kind of bothered AT FIRST, but when I smile and think how silly it is to wast your day being mad, I soon forget my problems and concentrate on the good things in life.

Great website! (I'm new, and look forward to reading more!)

Sue Player

Sacred Cows make the best steaks!

Sunny Bonnell

What a great post and what wonderful responses. My firm is actually called Motto and the responses here remind me why we decided on the word Motto. My motto, or mantra is Live from your Core.

Stephen Paul

Hell is but a state of mind
a warning of what maybe
to keep us within these laws
these laws that keep us free
but should we react against them then as sure as life will be
we shall all be prisoners held by these laws that keep us free.
written in sept 1980


"Bite of more than you can chew, and then chew like hell."
It has always inspired in me the sense of strength through adversity.


Try, try, again.
Solitaire games. Replay them-same set-up. Again and again.
More times than not. You will find the completion.
Every choice matters if you know what the goal is.

disney store merchandise

this is so good. thanks for the great read.


"Allow the Moment"


Hi Roger:
I think a mantra is powerful- it influences our conciousness, directs our thought process and thererby our decision making. A mantra can also be a comfort / moral support during adversity. In Indian Literature it is said -u r what is your deep driving desire, as is u'r desire so is your deed, as is u'r deed so is your destiny. My personal expereicne validates this. I cant say that I have had a single mantra all my life, but depending on the challenge at hand I have adopted a mantra conciously as a guide for decision making. And i cant say i have been disappointed.


nothing is wasted when all is used up

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