Words of Wisdom for
Leadership, Learning, and Life in
Exactly 99 Words

NEW at 99-Word Stories

Talk Quick!
99-Word Stories to Spark Discussion about Common Management Issues
by Brian Remer

Talk Quick! is a collection of group discussion starters designed to inspire meaningful conversations about important management issues.
(12 Discussion Activities, 33 pages, Cross Referenced, $10)

Learn more HERE.

99's On the Go

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99-Word Stories by ,
Creative Learning Director of
The Flirefly Group.
© 2014 Brian Remer
Updated May 2014

99's on the 9th

Ideas based on 99-Word Stories that
come to you on the 9th of every month.

Look Ahead...
Plan to attend Games for Learning: Design, Theory, Facilitation

Atlanta May 29, 2014 Sponsored by NASAGA and ASTD Atlanta

This workshop is designed for corporate trainers, instructional designers, facilitators, and performance consultants who want to master skills and concepts related to different types of training games,simulations, and learning exercises.

Presenters: Sivasailam "Thiagi" Thiagarajan, Brian Remer, Greg Koeser

Learn More Here


May 2014

Read this story aloud or make copies for your group or team members.

Good Grief!
He didn't just invent Charlie Brown; he created the whole universe of Peanuts. Daily comics, Sunday strips, books, TV, movies, products, endorsements, he was involved in all of it - including marketing the "empire." He even drew some cels for the animated flicks.

Charles Schulz was clearly the parent and manager of a world of comic inspiration. Before retiring, Schulz drew two months of comics. Astonishingly, he died the day before the last strip ran. The deep connection between passion and purpose was broken.

Sever links to a meaningful life, and you may relinquish your reason for living.


You can build upon the theme of this 99-Word Story by using some of the following questions for your own reflection or to spark a discussion within your team or organization.


There are many ways to understand this story as the discussion questions suggest. If you or your group would like to compare or contrast your interpretation with an outside viewpoint, consider this analysis.

Cook a meal, arrange some flowers, offer an idea at a meeting, bake cookies, write a journal entry, plant a garden, iron a shirt, mow the lawn, redo a web page, sing a song, tidy the house, dance to a new tune, listen to a friend. After doing any of these tasks, you would probably feel better. Most likely, you would gain a sense of accomplishment or satisfaction - especially if someone noticed your efforts.

Whether or not you agree that tasks like these take creative talent, when done well, they share an element with every creative act: they make the world a better place. That desire to make a difference is one we all share - though probably to varying degrees. Most people probably want to make a contribution and they are looking for just the right way to do it.

Most of us have been conditioned to think that creativity is the result of an innate skill and that it involves the invention of something totally unique that never existed before. Yet research by people such as Stephen Lundin, Jonah Lehrer, Steven Johnson, and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi make it clear that every "new" idea has its genesis in previous concepts. Through the effort of a curious mind, earlier conceptions are juxtaposed anew or combined with novel thoughts to invent something no one imagined before.

It's this aspect of creativity, the building upon previous actions, that makes the art of invention accessible to all of us. And it's what can transform the ordinary activities listed above into quotidian opportunities for creativity.

Why does this matter? The story of Charles Schulz provides some clues. Here is a man who shared his creative talent with the whole world every single day of his adult life. He seemed to be filling a need that could not be met in any other way. Perhaps we all have an innate "need" to be creative rather than an innate creative ability. And if that need can be expressed even through the mundane but necessary activities of every-day life, everyone around us is enriched.

Not everyone can become a Charles Schulz. But then, the world only needed one just as it only needs one Scott Adams and one Steve Jobs. Similarly, the world only needs one of you! Here are some ways you can maximize your creativity footprint:

As a manager or leader:

As an individual:

For all of us:

Now it's your turn! How might you and your team expand your creativity footprint to make your work world a better place? Be sure to what you develop!


Did you use this 99-Word Story and the discussion questions or interpretation in your work or personal life? If so, about your experience! If you would like help using 99-Word Stories in your organization, please me.

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