Cellphoning Out for a Day

I’ve been years without a cellphone, until my daughters became tall enough to go to school and the city alone, by foot, bus, tramway. Then I got one for obvious reasons.

Until then I sarcastically invented the laws of cellphone :

  1. Don’t have a cellphone
  2. If you have one, don’t take it with you : drawer & off
  3. If you have to take it, put it off
  4. If you have it in your bag and it’s beeping, don’t answer
  5. If you answer, say : “It’s a secret”

Today I propose an exercise. Go out, for a walk or to work, without your phone. YES it’s possible. Try it. Go erranding without your phone.

Then, mindfully, realize your sense of panic “at the idea”, and when you do it. For real.

Then… Whatever. Think about it!

Have a nice day, though…


Reaching by Taking Off

Is it important to not believe?

The answer is probably yes for creatives.  If you invent something you have to, at some point, target the “I don’t believe it” factor. “You can’t do that” must be addressed.

We invent mainly by modifying. You add a characteristic or you make it smaller, or bigger.  Bending what you already have increases the strength of the item.  Maybe !


There is another way to invent something : Taking off.

Pick any human activity and play with that lever. Take off. The “less is more” tool.

Steve Jobs invented the iPhone when he decided to kill the physical keyboard.  This concept left a place for the screen and eventually the dropdown keyboard came to life.

Google had a great idea when they decided to take off everything from their page except the logo and the search tool.  No publicity or list of pages was there.  This was contrary to their Yahoo or Altavista competition at the time.

Peter Gabriel once asked his drummer to throw the high-hat. What?!! He replied, “I have a free hand now. What will I do with it?”. That was the point, exactly…

It can be useful to draw a picture of this activity or make a list of what’s already at play here. Then: CUT SOMETHING!

Take an umbrella.  Take the color off.  Now it’s transparent.  Kill the handle and you suddenly need to find a way to hold it (magic? levitation? fixing it to where?). And what if you take off the fabric, or the plastic, or the umbrella ribs?  Is it still an umbrella?

Now for a poem. What can you cut?

A few words – up to the reader to decide?
Structure – words wandering off the page – a calligram?
Support – no paper, so where is the poem now?

What else is there?


Maybe sometimes, instead of pushing all the levers to maximize the course, you can try to cut one small element off the machine and then watch what happens.  Maybe the whole system will move along faster, or maybe you’ll find an idea so great it becomes ground-breaking.