In his recurring series of interviews with creative professionals, IDEO partner Diego Rodriguez recently sat down with director and photographer Jeff Zwart. In the interview, Zwart not only shares insights gleaned from years of traveling around the world, he also explains how optimism can influence the outcome of your work. Here’s his — metaphorical and literal — perspective on approaching storms:
If there’s an amazing rainstorm coming towards you, don’t run the other way. Use it as a backdrop! There’s just so many things in this great world we live in that offer opportunities to you… weather has brought more opportunity to me that it’s taken away. Some of the most amazing scenes, some of the most amazing shoots I’ve been on are where weather has been marginal, yet you make the best of it. You have to be constantly be open enough to make the best of it, and not become paralyzed to go forward.
The next time you’re faced with a storm at work, ask: how can you turn it into an opportunity? Looking for opportunities to turn a negative situation into one where you can learn from, adapt to, or explore in detail will keep you moving no matter what. If, for example, you find yourself constricted with what you can do on a project, look at it as an opportunity to flex your creativity or try something new within constraints.
Click here to catch the full interview for details on how to do just that, plus more highlights and quotes from Zwart.
As we do every Friday, we’ve collected our most-shared Twitter links for your weekend reading pleasure.
From around the web:
Follow us on Twitter.
Armed only with hustle, sweat equity, and creativity, Mark Ecko flipped a $5,000 bag of cash into a global corporation now worth hundreds of millions of dollars. In the video below, he talks about how he first started to gain momentum by focusing on ideas that emotionally connected with his customers:
Note: brief adult language
Want to hear more? Get your ticket and learn from him directly at the 99U Conference.
In her 2012 TED talk titled What fear can teach us (20:49) Karen Thompson Walker explains how fear is like an unintentional story we tell ourselves. By learning how to read our fears, we can make smarter decisions:
Want to meet the real movers and shakers in your industry? Spend your weekends making something. Need/Want co-founder Marshall Haas explains why making stuff is really the way to meet great people:
When you execute on ideas, you are forever associated with a tangible thing. People remember tangibles, not ideas.
Looking back and connecting the dots, I’ve realized that any big career advancements or opportunities that came my way were always linked to something I made, or built. And so, the single best way I’ve found to meet interesting people is to make things, and then share them with the world. You’ll be surprised with who you meet along the way.
As a result of launching a project he had the idea for over one weekend, Haas was able to get a job and start a business with $57,000 through crowd funding. See how Haas did it — and why you should consider doing something similar too — by reading his full story right here.
Plus, if you want some inspiration for your next weekend project and you want to mingle with creative experts at the same time, be sure to learn more about the 99u Conference.
Dabbling, according to neuroscientist Jeff Stibel, can make you a more interesting worker or entrepreneur:
While you might feel taking a personal-interest course in knitting, for example, is giving your brain a break from the problem solving you spend all day doing, Stibel says far from turning off the brain, taking a personal-interest course changes the challenge for the brain which makes you more efficient and productive when you return to the task at hand. “The way you’re recharging is stopping a particular problem and doing something very different,” he says. While the brain can only handle so much of one task before it starts to shut down, Stibel says it can handle a lot of many different tasks. “When you hit that breaking point and take a break and hit another one, your brain can ramp back up, so you’ll be twice as productive as you would have been otherwise by just doing a single task,” says Stibel.
Learn more on Entrepreneur.com.
We typically think of “burnout” as the result of working too many hard, stressful hours. However, new research shows that burnouts actually come in three different types, and each requires a different strategy to fix.
The frenetic employee who works toward success until exhaustion, is most closely related to emotional venting. These individuals might try to cope with their stress by complaining about the organizational hierarchy at work, feeling as though it imposes limits on their goals and ambitions. That coping strategy, unsurprisingly, seems to lead to a stress overload and a tendency to throw in the towel.
2. Lack of Development:
Most closely associated with an avoidance coping strategy. These under-challenged workers tend to manage stress by distancing themselves from work, a strategy that leads to depersonalization and cynicism — a harbinger for burning out and packing up shop.
Seems to stem from a coping strategy based on giving up in the face of stress. Even though these individuals want to achieve a certain goal, they lack the motivation to plow through barriers to get to it.
Knowing the signs of each type (e.g. a coworker talking badly about their boss, becoming aloof, missing deadlines, etc.) is key to recognizing, and thus being able to fix, the problem as a whole.
Read the rest of the article at Psychological Science.