The Importance of Being Fun – by Gary S. Smolker

There Is Not One Approach That Is Always the Winner


Below is an image of the front side of a T-shirt with the initials PUWRFC.

PUWRFC stands for Princeton University Women’s Rugby Football Club.

My good friend Richard Gibson wore that T-shirt at a meeting I had with Richard yesterday.

That T-shirt set the tone of our meeting.

The purpose of my meeting with Richard was to come up with a strategy to recommend to a friend of mine’s daughter Jessica who we thought was on the verge of being exploited by her employer.

Jessica , a highly qualified skilled and experienced woman, was experiencing an on-going frustrating situation at work.

We wanted to make sure Jessica understood our opinion that this is/was an appropriate time to be tough,


During our conversation with Jessica, Richard and I gave Jessica a mental image, a mental model, to have of herself of who she had to be while negotiating a compensation package with her employer.

Richard and I made it absolutely clear to Jessica that there are times when it is okay to be tough; there are times when it necessary for a woman to be “tough.”

The  T-shirt Richard wore (front of T-shirt pictured below) was given to Richard by his adoring daughter Caroline.


Below is an image of the reverse side of the T-shirt, Caroline gave to Richard.


I took those photographs yesterday afternoon (May 7, 2016) at my friend Richard Gibson’s home.

The words on the reverse side of the T-shirt are

  • WIN

The four words above (on the back side of the T-shirt) express (encapsulate) the attitude of the National Champion Princeton Women’s Rugby Team during the time Caroline was an undergraduate student at Princeton.

The team, through its T-shirt, signals to member of the team to the world at large that the team and its members (while on the Rugby Football field) have an aggressive take on prisoners attitude.

I sent the above image of that T-shirt to Jessica to reinforce the attitude and mental frame of mine Jessica, Richard and I had discussed at our meeting.


During the four years Caroline was at Princeton University’s she was on Princeton University’s women’s rugby football team.

Each year of the four years Caroline played on the Princeton University’s women’s rugby team, Caroline was an All-American Women’s Rugby Football Player.

Princeton won the National Women’s Rugby Championship three of the four years Caroline was on the team.

When Caroline graduated from Princeton, Richard gave Caroline the choice of training on the United States Woman’s Rugby Team for the Olympic Games or going to medical school.

Caroline chose to go to medical school instead of to train for the U.S. Olympic Woman Rugby Football Team.

Life Is Not A Formula.

Caroline is currently practicing medicine as a neo-natal physician on the staff of the neo-natal intensive care department at world renown Seders Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, California.

Caroline Gibson, M.D. deals with the life and threatened death of prematurely born and or defectively new born babies every day, saving their lives.

The fact that life is not a formula is what makes Caroline’s life, your life and my life interesting.

Life Is Full of Messages, Choices and Decisions

Life involves having a strategy and positioning.

Outcomes in life depend, in part, on having good judgment, and making good choices and decisions.

There are many alternatives in everyone’s life, many choices to be made.

Whether we are aware of it or not, we have a mental image of how the world works and of our impact on the world.

We are constantly sending impactful messages to everyone who sees us, hears us, and/or reads what we write.

Visual messages and choice of words identify who we are, what we believe, how we think the world works and what we are about.

See for example:

  • Steven Pinker’s THE STUFF OF THOUGHT – “Language As A Window Into Human Nature”
  • Steven Quartz and Anette Asp’s “COOL – How the Brain’s Hidden Quest for Cool Drives Our Economy and Shapes Our World” and
  • Stephen Apkon’s “THE AGE OF IMAGE – Redefining Literacy In A World of Screens.”

Below is a photograph I took a couple of weeks ago of a man wearing a T-shirt.  I believe the T-shirt that man is wearing sends a very clear message (makes a very clear statement) of what that man believes, how he thinks the world works, and of his emotional orientation.

In my opinion that T-shirt shows the man wearing that T-shirt identifies with the toughness and wildness of professional boxer Mike Tyson.

That man is clearly saying (to me) that he is a FAN and fully supports everything about and roots for the success of Brooklyn New York born professional boxer Iron Mike Tyson and identifies with who Mike Tyson is and Mike Tyson’s struggles and approach to life.

The “key” words to me in that T-shirt are “Brooklyn, NY” and “Iron”/”Iron Mike Tyson.”

The man in the picture is celebrates iron/toughness/coming from a rough neighborhood by using the words Iron Mike Tyson.

The message printed on that T-shirt is a provocation — equivalent to dogs peeing to mark their territory.  The message in that T-shirt projects physical male prowess, especially in a “fight”, especially in the boxing ring.

The message being broadcast on that T-shirt is: I AM TOUGH. DON’T PICK A FIGHT WITH ME.  I AM V E R Y TOUGH.

I took that photograph while I was eating breakfast on the patio at Aroma Cafe and Bakery on Ventura Blvd., in Tarzana, California, two weeks ago.


The Aroma Cafe and Bakery has a palpable energy.

The customers who go there and wait staff there are always high energy.

The Aroma Cafe and Bakery’s menu is an example of unfettered creativity, as is each dish served there.

I’ve been a regular at the Aroma Cafe and Bakery for more than five years.

Below is a picture of a woman wearing a T-shirt which sends an entirely different statement that the T-shirt worn by the man above wearing the Iron Mikey Tyson T-shirt.

The words printed on her T-shirt are The Angels Have Landed.

I took the photograph of her, wearing a The Angeles Have Landed T-shirt (see image below), at the Starbucks Coffee Shop (Starbucks Store # 6630) on the corner of Burbank Blvd. and Van Nuys Blvd., in Van Nuys, California, located at 14431 Burbank Blvd., Van Nuys, last week.

That Starbucks is located in a lower-middle class neighborhood one block away from that portion of Van Nuys Blvd which is the location of Van Nuys’ and Sherman Oaks’ “automobile row.”

New car dealerships, with car lots full of new and used cars for sale, line both sides of Van Nuys Blvd., one block away from this Starbucks.

Many of the customers in that Starbucks are struggling writers, film writers, book writers, joke writers and comedians.


There are many angels in the earth.

Below is a photograph of man whose T-shirt directly deals with his idea, which is a universally held idea,  about the “California State of Mind.”

I took the photograph of that man (below, last week) outside of Lido’s Pizza in Van Nuys, California — located at 14232 Victory Blvd., Van Nuys, CA.

Lido’s Pizza has been in business for about 50 years.


Look at the photograph below of the same man with his girlfriend.

Look at the joy on their faces.


Don’t Be Afraid of Who You Are

You can’t be afraid of who your are.

Don’t run away from your own powers.

Embrace your strengths.

Our choices are affirmations of our values and goals.

Everyone has the power to say, “This I am today; that I will be tomorrow.”

When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor.  Its to enjoy each step along the way.

Do what you want to do; be yourself.

Play big.  There is no passion to be found in playing small – in settling for a life that is less than you are capable of.


Helping people see possibilities increases the choices they can make.

Jessica is in the process of negotiating her compensation package with her employer, a national real estate brokerage firm.

Jessica has extremely rare specialized training experience skills and ability.

Jessica is a specialist in a narrow segment of the commercial real estate industry.

Richard has more than 50 years of experience in the real estate industry, as a real estate broker, as a developer, as a property manager, as person who raises money for projects, as an investor and as a financier.

After my meeting with Jessica and Richard concluded, I sent a “heads-up, brief summary of our meeting and follow-up” email/letter to Jessica’s sister Sabrina.

Below is a redacted copy of a note I sent to Jessica’s sister Sabrina – via email.

I also sent a copy of that e-mail  to the mother of an extremely talented young lawyer friend whom I am very fond of and to that young man.


Saturday evening, May 7, 2016


I had a telephonic strategy meeting with your sister Jessica and my friend Richard Gibson this afternoon.

At the beginning of our conversation, I “asked” Jessica to write down the following four words:

  • Fight
  • Score
  • Win
  • Eviscerate

Throughout my discussion with Jessica, I repeatedly advised Jessica to be tough in her dealing with you know who.

The attached images are the front and back of a Princeton University Women’s Rugby Football Club T-shirt that was worn by Richard Gibson at our meeting.

Richard’s daughter Caroline played on the Princeton University’s Women’s Ruby Football team for four years; she was an All-American Women’s Rugby Football player those four years and the intercollegiate team Caroline was on won the National Championship three of the four years Caroline was on the team.

Caroline is a neo-natal intensive care physician at Cedars Sinai.

Caroline deals with life and death every day.

Knowing  your sister Jessica and Caroline for many years, I know your sister Jessica can deal as coolly under pressure as Caroline,

I look forward to Jessica and you meeting Caroline.


We cannot sleepwalk through life.

We need a strategy; passion and anger are not enough.

By the way, I am sending a back copy of this note to a young talented lawyer I am very fond of who has been sleepwalking.  I am also sending a copy of this email to his mother.

Mother of young lawyer:

  • Please wake your son up.
  • Please give your son hell.

Warmest regards,




Jason Fane’s Comments Regarding that Email and My Reply

After reading the above note to Jessica, my super achieving brilliant friend Jason Fane wrote to me:

“You catch more with honey than with vinegar and make fewer enemies.

“Many battles are won by strategy, and positioning.  The opponents may not ever know that there was a battle or that they lost.”

I replied:

“Tell that to the Shepard who threw the rock at Goliath.”

Jason replied:

“OK, where would I find him?  Where does he live now?


  • There is a time and place for everything.
  • Once in a while, you need to throw the stone that kills the enemy.

Creativity Is About Connecting Things

At its core creativity can’t be reduced to a formula.

Creativity needs novelty and surprise to seem fresh and new.

However, creativity is just connecting things.

I wholeheartedly agree with what Apple co-founder Steve Jobs said about creativity in in 1966:

“When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something.  It seemed obvious to them after a while.  That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.  And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.”

I know creative people draw upon their own lives (personal experiences) as creative fodder.

My favorite Steve Jobs quote is:

“You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

My favorite quote about the importance of observation in the creative process, is the following statement made by Louis Pasteur:

“In the filed of observation, chance favors the prepared mind.”

My 28 year old daughter Leah Graham Smolker’s latest blog post (on “Leah’s Travel Blog – Journeys Across the Universe) at titled “Art, Travel & Soul” posted on May 8, 2016, (today) is a perfect example of all of the above.

In that post, Leah explains that great artists and writers were determined to travel at some point in their life.

Leah explains that, “Art does not exist without travel.  Art needs a location.  Art needs architecture.  Without, there is no soul and there is no spine-tingling gratifying effect to the viewer.  Travel is more than nomadic tendencies; travel is the creation of human capital and enterprise.”

Leah is talking about creative artistic masterpieces, not run of the mill ordinary art.

In that post,

  • Leah explains how travel influenced the life and work of Edvard Munch, Caravaggio, Goethe, Van Gogh, Chagall, and Edward Hopper.
  • Leah quite stridently describes how travel played a dominant role in creating the gratifying effect of viewing the great masterpieces of art she describes in that blog post.
  • Leah explains the attitude of the famous creative artist whose paintings she discusses in her post titled “Art, Travel and Soul”: “A lot of great artist loathe cliches, banality and unoriginality.”

Leah gives many examples.

Below are two of my favorite pictures discussed in Leah’s recent blog post titled “Art, Travel & Soul” – which Leah posted earlier today.

I agree with Leah that the two paintings shown below have “soul” and are extremely original.

Those paintings have a spine-tingling gratifying effect when ever I view them.



By the way, Leah and I “rank” people by how much “soul” they have.

Leah and I talk about how much “soul” people have all the time.

I agree with what David Dye, Bill Walton, Michael Jordan and  Vincent Van Gogh have said about the human spirit:

  • “Work that is disconnected from meaning and purpose is a prison bar.” – David Dye, author and leadership development coach
  • “You don’t win championships by just being normal, by just being average.” – Bill Walton, basketball player
  • “Championships are won while the stands are empty.” – Michael Jordan, basketball player
  • “Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.” – Vincent Va Gogh, artist


Leah attended school in Mainland China, Thailand and Israel as well as in the United States and has taught in South Korea.

Leah has loved art and reading books her entire life.

Leah has traveled to and “lived” for brief periods of time in thirty different countries.

The Importance of Being Creative, Talented and Fun

Unless your are an absolute genius famous for creating things – as well as famous and revered for living a life that pushes boundaries – such as choreographer Jerome Robbin, it is absolutely necessary that you be fun and fun to be with if you want to succeed in life or in business “long term.”

Robbins was a bully and a perfectionist.

Robbins was so despised by dancers that they sometimes refused to speak to him off the stage.  But few refused his invitations to perform.

Robbins was widely acknowledged – revered actually – as one of the most creative artists of his time.

In 1949, he contacted his friends Leonard Bernstein and Arthur Laurents with the idea that they should collaborate to create a new musical.

Their goal, Robbins said, should be to establish the avant-garde on Broadway.

These three creative men collaborated on the project proposed by Robbins because they wanted to create something that felt modern yet timeless.

Over the next few years, these three men traded scripts, scores and choreography ideas.

Working on this project required every ounce of their tenacity, artistry, technical wizardry, and endurance.

In 1957 – eight years after they had first embarked on that project – they were finally done.  All that was left was to find financial backers.

Nearly every producer they approached turned them down.  They were told their “play/musical/dance drama” [Westside Story] was too different from what audiences expected.

Robbins finally found financiers willing to support a staging of Westside Story in Washington, D.C.

Their creation, West Side Story, was first performed in 1957.

When the curtain went down on opening night there was silence.

As everyone prepared to take their positions for the curtain call there was absolute silence, they took their places holding hands.

When the curtain went up, they looked at the audience and the audience looked at them.

And then the audience jumped to their feet, stamping and yelling.

West Side Story went on to become one of the most popular and influential musicals in history.

West Side Story is a genre defying masterpiece.

Robbins, Bernstein and Laurents trusted themselves enough to let their creativity out.


Copyright © 2016 by Gary S. Smolker, All Rights Reserved

About Gary S. Smolker

PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY: No enterprise can exist for itself alone. Every successful enterprise ministers to some great need, it performs some great service, not for itself, but for others. Otherwise, it ceases to be profitable and ceases to exist. Imagination, open mindedness and flexibility are the most important factors in unlocking potential. Those who embrace innovation, improvisation, continuous learning, time management, are action oriented, high energy, passionate, creative, purposeful and intense individuals are best equipped to succeed. We all have ideas and the ability to make progress by sharing information and our ideas and also by changing our ideas when appropriate. We should always be on the lookout for teaching and mentoring moments. We hold time like water in our hands; however tightly we clench our fingers, it drips away. But, if it falls on a seed, a seed may grow to become something that will have a positive social impact. PERSONAL INTERESTS: I have a passion to learn, to innovate, to lead, to mentor and to teach. I seek to write things worth reading and want to do things worth writing about. I enjoy (a) driving a fast car, (b) having intense conversations (c) teaching/mentoring, (d) reading and (e) being involved in productive activity. PERSONAL: I believe in cultivating and backing passionate people, innovation, and old fashioned good ideas. I love making human connections and spreading good ideas. I am strongly motivated to achieve in situations in which independence of thought and action are called for. PERSONAL GOALS: I want to live life vibrantly, to be as sharp as a tack until my last breath and to change the world by being me. My personal goal is to be fully engaged in life, to lead by example, to set high standards and to continue to amass firsthand experience and knowledge in all that interests me. PERSONALITY: I love fun and mischief. I relish absurdity. I have an irreverent, facetious and satiric disposition. I dread boredom. I have spent a lifetime reading. I have no bias against people who have lived successful and/or complicated lives. I write to release tension, to get things off my chest. SOCIAL MEDIA: I post articles on the "Gary S. Smolker Idea Exchange" blog at, and "Dude's Guide to Women's Shoes" at I also post images and comments on Instagram @garyspassion. CONTACT INFORMATION: Gary Smolker, Smolker Law Firm, 16055 Ventura Blvd., Ste 525, Encino, California, 91436-2609, USA. Phone 1-818-788-7290, e-mail

Posted on May 8, 2016, in Being Confident Enough and Trusting Yourself To Let Your Creativity Out, creativity, enabling groups to create something meaningful together, How To Be Creative, originality, soul, the importance of being fun, The Importance of Embracing Your Strengths, The Spine-tingling gratifying effect of great art, Travel & Soul, What It Feels Like To Be Alive and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: