Hone the Skill of “Seeing”

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Fred Mandell welcomes FPA Retreat 2015 attendees.

Fred Mandell welcomes FPA Retreat 2015 attendees.

In a world of fast-paced change and uncertainty, “creativity” can be your strategy for finding success and maintaining sanity. According to artist, author, life-change expert, and FPA Retreat 2015 keynote speaker Fred Mandell, creativity is the 21st century meta skill. Break that meta skill down into a portfolio of supporting skills, and one of those—perhaps the most critical—is “seeing.”

Mandell explained to the sold out crowd gathered just north of Atlanta at Chateau Elan, that there are four strategies to “seeing”:


FPA Retreat 2015 attendees get creative in Fred Mandell’s session on Tuesday morning.

Step back from the canvas. Move yourself some distance from your daily life or work to gain a fresh perspective. Doing this is critical, Mandell said, not on an annual basis, but on a regular basis. Go on a personal retreat, he said. Go someplace that gives you an opportunity to reflect or gain perspective.

Turn things upside down. Mandell opened his session with an assignment for the 300+ planning professionals in attendance: draw the image displayed without thinking too much about what you’re drawing. The image was an upside down horse, and attendees were surprised at how well they could the draw it. The idea here is to radically shift your perspective; turn the premise of your thinking completely around.

Pay attention to negative space. Tune in to the thoughts, feelings and data you tend to avoid, deny or undervalue. So-called negative space defines its subject as much as the subject defines itself, Mandell said. Negative space is not a “bad thing,” it’s just out there!

Cultivate the mid of a child. Remember the spirit of play and spontaneity? Allow yourself to return to what gave you joy and energy without pre-judgment into the way we look at things, unbound by rules.

Here’s to a creative and productive FPA Retreat 2015!

Schulaka Carly_resizedCarly Schulaka
Journal of Financial Planning
Denver, CO

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