Look Around, Look Around

After telling a story to my undergraduate arts entrepreneurship seminar yesterday, one student said, “that would make a good blog post.” So….here it is.

First, the set-up: One of several objectives for this course is to help students increase their capacity to recognize opportunities, especially opportunities for creative action. In week three of the semester, I noticed that the students in the class always took the same seats around the conference table. I invited them (OK…required them) to move to different seats so that they could get a new perspective on the room, perhaps inspiring new creative thoughts. On more than one occasion since, a student has remarked upon entering the room, “I don’t know where to sit…” “Sit wherever you like,” I reply.

What do we miss when we always sit in the same seat?

The story: I went for a long afternoon walk this past weekend. The weather was extraordinarily nice, even by February-in-Phoenix standards. I was bopping along the sidewalk, the soundtrack from Hamilton playing through my earbuds as I passed the local middle school athletic fields. 50 yards or so in front me, a father and daughter are looking up and excitedly pointing at something behind and above me. I turned my head to the right and didn’t see anything. I was getting closer to them and their excitement seemed to be growing, so I turned fully around, and there, about 100 feet in the air and somewhat behind me, a hang-glider was floating down to the ground for a landing in the field. hanggliderI live near an (urban) mountain preserve and there are frequently hang-gliders on beautiful Sunday afternoons, but they usually land in the designated landing area. The pilot had overshot by about a ¼ mile – but found an opportunity to land and took it. I never would have known had I not turned around when a neighbor pointed at the sky behind me. We don’t always have someone pointing the way to an opportunity, but when we do, take a minute to turn around and find it!

As Eliza Schuyler sings it: “Look around, look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now.”

About lindaessig

Linda Essig is director of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Programs at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University, including its award-winning arts entrepreneurship program, Pave: http://pave.asu.edu The opinions expressed on creativeinfrastructure are her own and not those of ASU. You can follow her on twitter @LindaInPhoenix and "like" the Pave Program in Arts Entrepreneurship at http://www.facebook.com/pages/pave-program-in-arts-entrepreneurship/386328970101 Find Pave's journal, Artivate, at http://artivate.org
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