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Over the smell of smoky meats and luminous red lighting, I joined over 200 people to watch Bond Influence host Frank Warren, Mick Ebeling, Lance Weiler, and Vikram Gandhi at the Art + Innovation event during SXSW.

Many of you may know Mick Ebeling.  He and an army of folks created the EyeWriter through The Not Impossible Foundation.  Inspired by Tempt, a famous LA graffiti artist with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), the EyeWriter is a device similar to glasses that allows Tempt to draw again using just the movement of his eyes.

When it came time for Q&A, a woman sitting front and center in a wheelchair asked to have someone hold the mic for her. A sufferer of ALS herself, she shared that when you take away the ability to express yourself creatively – through words, walking, art – that’s when death begins. The EyeWriter gave Tempt a way to express himself – a way to speak when he couldn’t. It was a powerful moment – creative expression lets us live, even in the most dire of circumstances.

In creative business, creative expression can be taken for granted. We spend so much time selling ideas that the experience of creativity can be forgotten.

And most of you are in creative industries. Regardless of your profession, when was the last time you worked on a project you loved? One where you felt like you were literally part of the DNA of the project’s life – and being deeply invested was a good thing?

If the answer is, “it’s been a while,” find something that lights you up. …Start that screenplay you’ve been meaning to write.  Design a site for good.  Collaborate with someone in a different field to make art.  Sing.  Laugh.  Share a great joke.  Or perhaps share a secret.

If the answer is, “recently,” then think through the elements of what made that project so special. What made you feel connected and alive?  Was it the subject matter? Or your application of talent? Or the team you worked with?

Creativity is the strongest asset and commodity we have as a nation.  Remember to use it… every last drop you have.  Your life depends on it.

Your Wing Woman,

> Mick Ebeling TEDActive Talk
> Creativity Article “An Eye for Art: The Ebeling Group and Graffiti Research Lab Take on a Cause
> Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankel

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