Roger von Oech

Creative Think

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ann michael

Roger - you read my mind!

When I was writing my "Manage To Change Manifesto" this was one of the points that I had a hard time articulating in 25 words or less - generally first reactions are negative.

Interestingly, "using your shield" is one side of a two sided coin. The other side is being aware of your own negative reactions and fighting them long enough to truly consider something with an open mind before you either 1) offer someone else feedback from which they might want to shield themselves or 2) miss feedback on your own ideas that are worth considering to refine your approach.

Thanks Roger - always love reading what you have to say!!!

David Armano

What's the opposite of using your shield? Using your sword. But what do we learn if we only "counter attack" vs. deflecting? We learn how to take wounds and return them. Using our shield helps us absorb the blows—it buys us time to think, consider and make our next move all that much smarter and dare I say, more creative?

Roger, this card is one of my favorites. I've had to use my shield a lot in the past year as I came out if nowhere and I sometimes challenge the status quo. I've learned first hand to take arrows without letting the projectiles stop my momentum. I've allowed feedback and criticism to give me pause to reflect, without taking away the will to move forward or move on without bitterness. Only a shield can accomplish that. Without one, we are stopped dead in our tracks.

And there is a time for the sword too. For the warrior as well—just as there is a time to seek understanding.

Roger von Oech

Ann: You make a good point about fighting off OUR OWN negative reactions. One thing I like to do whenever I see an unusal new idea is force myself to WAIT 60 SECONDS before saying critical about the new idea. This allows me to create a context where the idea might make some sense.

David: You make a good point about "counter-attacking" versus "deflecting." Sometimes the latter is the more necessary strategy to moving ahead, while the former can be energy and time consuming.


For me the opposite of a shield is an open and enlivened heart. When I feel the passion of my idea and trust the strength of my commitment, that powerful heart creates a force field that repels judgment and idea killers. The focus is less on my potential or real attackers and whether I need to protect myself or slay them. My attention is on the richness of my idea. My intention is to give birth to this project. This provides the energy to diffuse criticism and paves the way for my good idea to flourish.

Roger von Oech

Wendy: Thanks for your comment. So for you, an open heart creates a force field that repels negative judgment and gratuitous criticism. That's a pretty nifty shield!

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