A Happy Jar for joy, and a Stress Box for kicks

January 4, 2017

Wales rugby ball

An exchange of tweets this week resulted in a comparison between the merits of the happy jar and the stress box. I’m in favour of a matching set of two

It all started for me with a tweet about a happy jar. You write down any happy thought on a piece of paper and put it in a happy jar. This ‘idea about an idea’ worked for me. I could see its applications in education and home-life.

I later traced the idea via @janesanderow and tweets were exchanged. Mine started:


In creativity sessions, the invitation to positive thinking is WGAI [What’s Good About It]. I have seen training walls and whiteboards plastered with WGAI Post its. Recently, there was a great example at the Creativity and Innovation Management meeting in Potsdam, where participants looked at the with future strategy for the journal, encouraged by their two new dynamic editors. See also my recent post about WGAI and a good idea

The Stress Box

But what about The Stress box? I don’t think I have posted anything, but the tweets about the happy jar just reminded me of an anti-stress trick used in sports management to counter unhelpful thoughts. At a stretch, it also connects with fast and slow thinking, controlling your monkey and such ideas.

I came across the idea first with the Welsh rugby player (and now International kicking coach) Neil Jenkins, who explained how he prepared for a kick, by imagining his bad thoughts and locking them away.

Today, Wales rugby has a new kicking hero in Dan Biggar. In matches, his mentor Neil Jenkins is often seen close by,as Dan goes through his kicking routine. It looks bizarre. It has become a national iconic image known as the Biggerama [You can look it up on Utube].

Both And, not Either Or

Which is why I argue the case for Both And, not for Either Or.

Subscribers to LWD, I rest my case.

Seat-giving: TfL gets another good idea

December 29, 2016


A good idea often benefits from positive add-on suggestions which nudge it further. Take London for Transport’s seat-giving idea, for example

London for Transport has tested an idea for a Please offer me a seat card. It received a substantial level of support. The idea is yet another example of creative thinking. It builds on a previous idea, Baby on Board for pregnant mothers,

This kind of YES AND thinking, is encouraged in courses on creative problem-solving which also support idea-building through other trigger phrases  such as ‘what’s good about it?‘ (WGAI )

In that spirit, I found myself asking another trigger-phrase ‘In What Ways Might We . . .?‘ (IWWMW )

What if the Offer a Seat card idea was combined with:

A little thank you for seat donators?


Nomination for seat-giver of the week (SGOTW)?

A positive take

In times of general gloom, a new idea faces more negative reactions, and faster. I have shared some such reactions to recent political events. So, as National Independence Day, and Donald Trump’s inauguration approaches on January 20th , we all have time to practice some of these life-enhancing exercises.