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January 19, 2020


Thank you. And I need some help…

Thank you. And I need some help.
The "paper prayer" image above is from Austin Kleon's latest book, Keep Going. The book is a great kick-off to the new year, sharing approaches for staying creative, especially when it feels like the muse has moved to another galaxy.

In particular, we were struck by what Mr. Kleon says about that image...

"When I'm stuck and I don't know what to write about, I'll draw a line down the middle of the page. In one column I’ll list what I'm thankful for, and in the other column, I'll write down what I need help with. It's a paper prayer." 

Through the lens of Catalytic Thinking, we realize that these two lists are actually about conditions for success!

Giving gratitude for the conditions that have led to today’s success is about that chain reaction of gratitude we have talked about in past eJournals (this one, for example!).

And the things we need help with are the conditions for our future success. What do we need to have? What do we need to know or understand? We’ve talked about that in past eJournals as well – the importance of laying down the dominoes that turn dreams into reality.

We can therefore think of no better exercise to prepare us for 2020 than this one!

Try This
This week’s exercise is simply the one that Austin Kleon suggests.

Each day for a whole week, create those two columns on a sheet of paper and fill in the blanks.

Thinking about those lists even for a few minutes each day will open up all sorts of possibilities, simply by identifying those factors.

If you’re feeling inspired, begin practicing that chain reaction of gratitude. “If I’m grateful for X, what led to X in the first place?” Then you can show gratitude for that, too!

As for things you need help with, Catalytic Thinking’s “Conditions for Success” questions will help you turn that list into reality.

To be able to provide you with that help, what would other people need to know? What would they need to believe? What would they need to be assured of?

And the same for you – what would you need to know? What would you need to believe or feel assured of?

As you transform the past into the story of what led to today’s success, and the future into doable steps towards your dreams, you will be taking huge steps towards creating the future you want. That is why identifying and creating conditions for success is so important to the Catalytic Thinking framework.

Resources to Support Your Practice
These resources will help turn your dreams into doable steps:

  • WATCH: For a simple and powerful example of “conditions for success,” watch Hildy’s TEDx talk
  • LISTEN: Your 2020 plans can create your own conditions for success. This click-and-play class takes you through every step. (Check out the Quiz on that page, too!)
  • LEARN: Austin Kleon writes inspiring, wise, and deliciously fun books. His latest, Keep Going, will help you get past what’s stopping you – perfect for this new year. And Show Your Work! provides so many insights into the “sharing” aspects of community engagement that it was part of the required reading for one of our immersion courses!*

* These purchase links help benefit Creating the Future’s programs.

Want to learn alongside other people who are also trying out Catalytic Thinking practices? Join our Catalytic Thinking in Action community on Facebook - a welcoming place where you can ask questions and learn from people like you who are experimenting with these practices. We look forward to seeing you there!

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If you find our programs of benefit, we hope you will consider contributing, to help keep these programs available to as many people as possible.   Donate here ...

eJournal Archives:
If you’re new to our eJournal, or just want to remind yourself of past practice exercises we’ve shared, check out our eJournal archives here.

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is a collection of people around the world supporting each other in a grand experiment:
To determine how much more humane the world could be
if the systems that guide our work and our lives 
were rooted in questions that bring out the best in each of us.

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