Roger von Oech

Creative Think

What I Post About:

AddThis Feed Button

« My Scariest Situations | Main | See the Big Picture »


Tim Siedell

Roger, this is very inspirational. Thank you. I don't have a problem waiting around, per se, but I do have a problem over thinking and tinkering and pushing for perfection. I also tend to have so many ideas it's hard to focus on which ones to push through to the marketplace. It's a habit I've been slowly breaking. Your post came at a good time for me. Again, thanks.


What reasons can you think of for the "unplanned, unexpected" good things that you've received?

When you are busy giving, you have little time to prepare for receiving and the good things that return to you, the harvest from the seeds you planted will seam most of the time "unplanned and unexpected".


Thanks for another thought provoking and paradoxical post, Roger! When I read the Carl Sanburg quote I hear him suggesting a posture of disengagement, of stepping back, surrendering control, allowing his expectations and attachments to fall away. I hear him saying, the best things came when he wasn't putting forth effort but had an open and receptive stance where the muses and the Spirit could lead the dance.

This takes my thinking to the I Ching (the Chinese Book of Changes) where the two principles of the Creative and the Receptive are the source of all. You point to the Creative aspect, putting something into the world such as your books and seminars and this blog. I hear also a willingness to be surprised, an openness to the unplanned and a receptivity to the unexpected. So they co-exist, these two qualities of the Creative and the Receptive.

The other place your post takes my thinking is to the biology of our genders. As a woman, one of the best things in my life came from receiving seed that pollinated my womb. Then I waited and gestated and allowed an amazing process to create a life, separate and different from my own or that of my co-creator. The male is often engaged in spreading his seed. He has to get out there and do something for the good new different unexpected thing to come into fruition.

May more unplanned and unexpected good things come to us all!


Does blogging count as engaging with the world? Some of us aren't smart enough to write books, histories, and the like.

I've been blogging for almost a year and the unexpected is yet to happen!

Mike Wagner

What reasons can you think of for the "unplanned, unexpected" good things that you've received?

Wonderful question!

A lot of good things have come my way when I was willing to embrace "not knowing".

In day to day life that has meant asking lots of questions, ignoring conventions created by educational degrees and job titles, and a bias for action.

Not done thinking about this question. Will squirrel it away and munch on it some more later.

Thanks for rousing our thoughts.

Keep creating,

Roger von Oech

Tim: Good luck with your business,

Peter: That's a good point.

Wendy: What a thoughtful perspective. When I was thinking of my interpretation of Sandburg's quote, I realized that a very valid way of looking at it is the one you suggest. But I went with the one closer to my experience (kind of like the old quote: "The harder I work, the luckier I am"). I've found that more unexpected good things happen to me when I've put something out there. Good unexpected things have also happened to me when I've done absolutely nothing.

Mike: Thanks for stopping by. This is a tangent of your comment: "A lot of good things have come my way when I was willing to embrace 'not knowing'." I find that if I allow myself not to know, then I can get into a kind of "beginner's mind" and that allows me to try new things and fail — and also discover unexpected things.

John Koetsier

Jody: hasn't it? Are you "getting out there" by being on Technorati, bloglines, delicious, etc. etc.?

Hey, here's a least one unexpected thing: some guy from Vancouver Canada is talking to you via some guy from California's blog.

John Koetsier

Oh, and Jody?

Put your blog address in the URL box when you comment on someone else's blog so we can go to your blog and check it out and maybe interact with it and maybe even with you.



may be too late for feedback, but--

this makes me think of spam. not the product itself, but the icon it had become. what was once a clever way to preserve a processed meat food product became a term for unwanted junk email, and a whole lot of fodder for monty python. certainly an idea that took on a life of its own!

The comments to this entry are closed.