Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Whack on the Side of the Head Wednesday: Purple Rain

Newcomers to our site. Today is Whack on the Side of the Head Wednesday. It's the day we join forces with Roger von Oech, creator of the Whack Pack. He presents a creative principle and we, in turn, use the principle to advance an idea.

Today's idea... more rain.

Monday we joined together and created a rainstorm by filling buckets with droplets of thoughtfulness. Tuesday we danced in the rain while wearing red boots. That is to say we embraced our inner child by continuing to send notes, but this time in secret code. One more day of rain couldn't hurt, especially when so many of us are experiencing droughts (literally and figuratively).

Today, fun rain. Creative rain. Purple rain.

To get us going... von Oech.

Get Out of the Dogma House: Nothing clouds your decision-making abilities like dogma. Example: none other than Plato himself dictated that the circle was the perfect form of celestial movement, and for the next two thousand years, astronomers said that planetary orbits were circular - even though their observational data suggested otherwise. Even Copernicus used circles in his heliocentric model of the universe. Only after much soul-searching did Kepler use the ellipse to describe the heavenly paths. Everyone has externally imposed "shoulds" and values that influence their thinking. What dogma is clouding your mind?

Ms. Manners and others provide us with plenty of dogma about thank you notes and other notes of recognition. In fact, to prove the point I did a poll of all the people in my afternoon meeting yesterday. What preconceived notions do you have about writing or sending someone a note," I asked.

Answers. Billy, they should be prompt and brief; Tiffany, they should be sincere; Sharon, they should be unexpected and handmade; Philip, they should be personal; and Katie, a note should be specific.

If prompt, brief, sincere, unexpected, handmade, personal, and specific is some of the dogma associated with sending a note, then how might that be clouding our thinking? That's what I spent yesterday thinking about.

Long about 4:15 p.m. it hit me. By ascribing to the dogma that ALL notes have to be personal, I miss out on the impact that an impersonal, yet uplifting message might have on an unsuspecting passer-by.

By 5:00 p.m. Matthew and I were kneeling on the pavement outside our local Starbucks. We were using side walk chalk to write customers an impersonal, but uplifting message. So much fun were we having, we immediately zoomed over to his preschool and left a message on the steps for this morning. After that the post office, then the supermarket, and finally a welcome home message to the neighbors in the culdesac.

Never has an impersonal and non-specific message felt so good!

So how about you? Use my dogma or come up with your own. How is it clouding your thinking? And, how can you whack your thinking to create purple rain that even Ms. Manners would approve of?
Signing off until tomorrow...

35 comments:

heather said...

This is fun! I love the idea and it is so RAK like. I can't wait to see the message at daycare.

Chaotic said...

Spent an hour this morning impersonating Mother Nature as I manually rained on all our (trying to survive the drought) trees... back later from work!

Peggy said...

You're very good Claudia! Your enthusiasm and energy are just amazing!! It would be fun to put a huge eyeball at my place of work and say something like... "I C U" but they aren't fun like that there!! (And don't say just do it.... it's a very respectful place of business, no silliness aloud) But I can think it!!!

Have a good day everyone!

Claudia said...

Peggy... I love that you knew I was going to tell you to "Just do it!" It means we're starting to think alike!

O.k. maybe not at work, but where can your kids do it?

Cheryl said...

I KNEW THAT WAS YOU!!!!

When did the Starbucks on Glade over by Albertson's close? I was going to go over there because that's where the lady who looked like my friend from Utah worked and they're closed! So, I went over to Claudia's Starbucks and I saw that Smile Today note! I just knew it was you! And I did. I smiled.

I missed this past year but the year before I wrote Happy Birthday notes in chalk on the drive to my boys on their birthdays.

Okay- so how else can we send notes... an airplane in the sky either pulling a sign or sky writing... Is sky-writing a lost art? Does anyone do it anymore?... The most common forms of notes these days are emails and text messages. Facebook and gmail. sigh...I miss the long letters that my friends and I used to send each other... okay... I'll be thinking. I'm getting ready for us to go on our trip.

Heather said...

So Claudia definitely made purple rain at daycare...I watched this morning as family after family read the message and walked away smiling. It was fun to know the inside scoop on how the message got there.

For my purple rain...I work in student conduct so people hate getting "notes" from me as it means they are in trouble.
What if I started to send out some summons every month asking students to come in so I could praise them for doing the right thing...what do you guys think?

Heather said...

such a cool video: Check this out...an awesome RAK in New York.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lVS22y4uoU

Anonymous said...

I'm all for positive re-enforcement! Going back to that post a few months ago on how we like recognition? Pat on the back, positive feedback, a little gift ... to acknowledge us!

Just like being called into the principals office for my kids in elementary and middle school... they started calling in kids for good decision making and positive attitudes.... wow~ it's amazaing being recognized... and then for doing something good! goes a long way!

Thanks Claudia for the idea for the kids... but.... but.... but.... this is the first summer I've worked all day... kids are home alone and are kind of highway locked (think land locked) can't quite go anywhere public... good thing... but they are so excited to see me when I get home.... ah summer!

aka Peggy at work@@ (10 more days)

Heather said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EYAUazLI9k&annotation_id=annotation_72265&fe

This is SO worth watching...talk about making purple rain!

eknoxuk said...

That cracks me up! I can't believe you did that! Did anyone say anything? I'm such a scaredy cat, I'd be afraid someone would come out and get mad at me:)
I've been very into writing thank you notes lately since people have been so good to me while I've been on bed rest. The hardest was writing them to people at Mike's work that I don't know who they are. I do feel like they should be personal, but that did add a lot of time to the process. I've actually gotten more of an appreciation for thank yous in the last year. I realized I love to do stuff for people, but want it to be recognized too. That sounds bad, but its honest!
Heather, I think that's an awesome idea to summons people for praise! I would start with some of the student office staff.
As for an update on me, we have the c section scheduled for next Thursday!!

eknoxuk said...

Heather, I love those videos! Improv everywhere is hilarious, I've definitely wasted some time looking up their other videos before! I loved the wedding reception, it made me teary eyed, what an impact they had on that couple making their wedding so special!

Claudia said...

Such good energy today. I attribute it to the natural high we get when we do something nice for someone else.

Heather, your idea is a GREAT one! Do it. Become the talk of the campus! Summon students for doing the right thing. Maybe you can even set up a few sanctions. You know... sanctioned to a free coffee in the student union. Sanctioned to a new UTA t-shirt. Sanctioned to a ticketed campus event.

Another successful whack!

Keep 'em coming folks. I love this.

Chaotic said...

Heather, GREAT IDEA!!

How is dogma clouding my thinking? I must say, I am a fan of ridding the world of "Should". I find that when I find myself thinking "I should" it is the world's ideas trying to guilt me into something I am just not into. "I should go to this meeting, even tho I am tired & I have things to do at home" actually translates to "I feel guilty going home & taking care of myself when my community needs me.". We are taught from an early age (as female) to take care of others... I would like to turn that dogma into catma... they take time for themselves 1st. So I will post signs here at work saying "Be good to yourself!" with a cat sunning herself on the windowsill.

Claudia said...

Catma! How perfect.

Down with Dogma
Up with Catma

Nice going, Chaotic

Katie K said...

How can I whack my thinking today? Maybe I'll go write "You Are Beuatiful" in dry erase marker on the mirrors of the women's bathroom I use in my building at work. Now, I just need to get my hands on a dry-erase marker. Heather???

Anonymous said...

HLA is back! Today's post was great and it seems has the same energy it once had, I have enjoyed the writing this week so very much.

Katie K said...

Thanks to Heather- mission accomplished! I was finishing up the last message as a woman walked in. I was able to hide the markers and pretend like I was washing my hands in enough time so she didn't know it was me!

I love it! Keep up the purple rain!

Cheryl said...

completely off topic but i have to tell someone! UGH! I just came home from going to the store... I think I left at about 10:45 and I forgot I was putting water in the pool! Hey! The pool is FULL!

:sigh: can't wait to get that water bill.

Claudia said...

Cheryl... consider your bucket FULL!

heather said...

Cheryl, OH NO!!!!

Peggy, could you leave a message for your kids in the morning before you leave for work?
On the road in the neighborhood as you drive in to neighbors wishing them a good day?
Could your daughter chalk a fellow volleyball player's driveway?

Peggy said...

Thanks Heather! I love the suggestions... but I have to be honest.... we would have done this when the kids were little.... the neighbors and neighborhood would have got a 'kick' out of it.... but we no longer have sidewalk chalk, and my kids would look at me like I was MORE crazy than I am.

cassie p said...

The only reason I dont like working so far is that I leave too early in the morning that HLA isnt posted for the day yet, and by time I get home in the evening, everyone is done posting comments for the day!!! Im off tomorrow so you will be graced by my early morning presence once again! :-D

Claudia said...

Don't worry Cassie. We check in at night to see if we've had any friends visit.

We see your comments. What time do you have to leave in the morning. Maybe we can arrange to post earlier.

cassie p said...

I leave no later than 6am, but that would mean a post time of about 530...EST. But its only three days a week, so dont worry about it. Ill live without my morning dose of HLA...hopefully! ;-)

And I know you guys look at the posts in the evening, but there is not much "action" at 8pm when I get home from work!

Cheryl said...

Cassie and Peggy, if you're still out there this late... I finally got your Taste of USA packages in the mail today. Mr. USPS said that it would take 3 days. :)

I'm out the door early tomorrow with a car to load still so I'm not sure if I'll be on in the morning or not... if not, then everyone have a great weekend.

Chaotic said...

hey y'all...anyone in the Grapevine area? Grapevine, TX ~ July 18 & 19 is the Heirloom RUBBER STAMP AND PAPER ARTS FESTIVAL.... and I wanna go... NEVER BEEN... 4 hour drive for me... wondered if anyone else is going?

Misty said...

The post today made me smile!! In fact, I have been smiling all day. I was lucky enough to see the steps at the daycare in person today. "MAKE TODAY GREAT" was the highlight of my morning and set me on the right path for a happy Wednesday. Thank you Claudia for your lovely energy.

Dropped off a surprise thank you card to a man that has been generous in helping us deal with a personal matter. My husband and I filled it with dinner passes to enjoy a night out with his wife. "Purple Rain" :)

Claudia said...

Misty... dinner passes and a thoughtful card definately constitutes Purple Rain!!!!!

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