Improvised Life » signs + reminders If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Tue, 22 Apr 2014 22:00:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 2 Ways to Listen that Will Change Your Life Thu, 17 Apr 2014 23:03:10 +0000

From Seth Godin:

You can listen to what people say, sure.

But you will be far more effective if (more…)

]]> 0
It’s NEVER Too Late to Start Wed, 16 Apr 2014 08:17:20 +0000

We recently stumbled on this great sign at Funders and Founders, a website of infographics about entrepreneurship.

We are startup evangelists and infographic authors. Our mission is to inspire everyone from engineers to moms to do a startup. 

YES! We are great believers that “it’s NEVER too late to start”, the key word being START. When people hear the word entrepreneur, they usually think MONEY…as in startup to make $$$$$$$.  But entrepreneurs can have a variety of goals, way beyond the making of money. The word entrepreneur comes from the French means “one who undertakes”. We know lots of people doing that: (more…)

]]> 1
The Subversive Power of Post-Its Tue, 08 Apr 2014 08:25:26 +0000

Susan Dworski

It’s tough being a nouvelle fashionista with a sudden influx of clothes: the myriad outfits that can be created with a few well-chosen separates! After taking my nine-year old granddaughter Roxy on a surprise shopping trip to the mall, I found her under the covers at midnight with a flashlight trained on a pad of yellow Post-Its, scribbling away, making a graph to help her decide what outfit she would wear the next morning for a play date. “I’m a Libra, and I have a hard time making decisions, so I like to make charts to help me.” 

]]> 1
Ferran Adrià: Creativity Needs Rest Mon, 24 Mar 2014 08:58:36 +0000

Sally Schneider

Yesterday, we thought we had set our favorite Arabia tea cup down on the edge of the bathroom sink, only to hear it smash into the bathtub. Okay, we got the message, we thought: SLOW DOWN. We take small accidents like that as warnings that we are too distracted to be present.

But we got the REAL message the next morning while scanning websites for illuminating ideas, images, and info that would resonate with Improvised Life: CREATIVITY NEEDS REST.  (more…)

]]> 11
Everyone You Will Ever Meet Knows Something You Don’t Tue, 18 Mar 2014 23:00:26 +0000


One of our favorite things are signs on walls: reminders that call us back to something really useful, true, mind shifting. We love that a church is posting quotes from unexpected sources, like this one from Bill Nye that resonates in unexpected ways.]]> 0
Embracing our Mortality to LIVE MAKE GROW Tue, 18 Mar 2014 08:12:39 +0000

Sally Schneider

In a recent New York Times, 36-year-old Paul Kalanithi wrote How Long Have I Got Left about his diagnosis of terminal cancer, and coming to terms with his doctor’s inability to tell him how much time he had left: The reason doctors don’t give patients specific prognoses is not merely because they cannot..[but because] ...the range of what is reasonably possible is so wide….Yes, you will die. But one wants a full pound of certainty, and that is not on offer.

Kalanithi eloquently addresses how he learned to live aware of but NOT knowing, with the gravest of uncertainties: (more…)

]]> 2
Productivity Practice: Do 1 Hour of Creative Work Before Anything Else Mon, 10 Mar 2014 07:54:34 +0000

Recently, while skyping with Improvised Life’s web developer Jason Lange, he told us of a technique he had been trying out to keep work moving forward on Share, a film he was making. For months, he’d been getting side-tracked by “paying-work”, expending all his energy on it during the day only to find himself without any creative juice left for what was most important to him. “A writer friend suggested I try reordering my day; I’ve been doing it for two weeks now and it WORKS.” (more…)

]]> 2
The Practice of Waiting is Part of Making Thu, 06 Mar 2014 09:06:43 +0000


Over the years, we’ve learned to embrace the practice of waiting — patiently — knowing that things will change and become unstuck, or simply are moving by another timing, that is not the one WE WANT. Sometimes, there is nothing else to do but wait.

Waiting is part of the many steps of making: a non-action that can very important action. But ‘non-action’ can be difficult to describe, since ‘doing nothing’ can be a time of hidden fermentation and unexpected ideas. So we looked up WAIT. In the definitions, we found words (in bold) that made a little poem: (more…)

]]> 0
Improvised Life’s Unfolding Path (+ Principles) Wed, 05 Mar 2014 09:09:46 +0000

Yoshinaga Yasuaki

I found this image from the great Miranda July in the early archives I created when the idea for Improvised Life was just forming. It’s from an installation called The Hallway that July made in Tokyo in 2008: a 125-foot hallway lined with 50 hand-painted wooden signs that act as an internal voice.  The signs raise questions that must have been on my mind as I contemplated a LEAP (more…)

]]> 0
What is the Opposite of Lack, Self-Criticism, Wishful Thinking? Tue, 28 Jan 2014 09:31:45 +0000


Eagle-eyed Maria Robledo sent us this fab art work (sadly unattributed). We wonder who the wise person/artist is who so clearly expressed the sense of LACK we all so often feel, that goes with self-criticism and imagining perfect worlds that don’t exist.

We wonder: (more…)

]]> 2
30 Ways to Stay Creative Mon, 27 Jan 2014 22:00:39 +0000

Islam Abudaoud

We spotted this great sign at A City that Endures, our friend Vanessa Hock’s tumblr. To the 29 Ways to Stay Creative, she’s added a great #30:

Stop thinking about it and just do it.

In our experience, taking an action — however small —and then another and another, IS the key to making.

Thanks Vanessa!

]]> 0
DO. Wed, 22 Jan 2014 19:27:40 +0000

This bright yellow sign, which appears to have pasted over an outdoor billboard, is a nice variation of Ai Weiwei's "My favorite word. It's ACT".]]> 0
Martin Luther King Day 2014 Redux Mon, 20 Jan 2014 09:01:14 +0000

Last Wednesday evening, our friend Sharase DeBouse suddenly said: It’s January 15th! It’s Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday!

And sure enough it was, so right away we went hunting for a quote which we posted with the headline “Martin Luther King Day 2014“. Which is wasn’t. The celebration of his life is the third Monday in January: today. So we’ve decided to post his stunning words again, along with Sharase’s:

 I have always been amazed by the incredible words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  I have to tell you, listening to his speeches have kept me at times that I felt I was in my darkest hours.
We love Sharase’s use of words. (more…)
]]> 1
Ai Weiwei-isms for the New Year Mon, 06 Jan 2014 09:16:18 +0000

(Video link here).  At first we thought a video of artist Ai Weiwei dancing around singing a cute kid’s tune with an iPad in his hand to be a fun, restorative, vicariously-liberating bit of ‘technobiophilia’. That’s researcher Sue Thomas’ word for our “innate attraction to life and lifelike processes as they appear in technology”, that actually enhance our digital well-being. After all, Ai Weiwei’s work is always life-affirming and illuminating; and we know for sure that just watching joyful stuff can help our mindset.

We discovered that Ai Weiwei’s video is also a message of rebellion and action. (more…)

]]> 0