Think You’re Not Creative? Kyle Scheele Will Change Your Mind on Creativity and Leadership

Kyle Scheele, a renowned speaker and viral sensation, shares his unique insights on creativity, innovation, and the power of thinking differently. Known for his humorous yet insightful talks that challenge conventional wisdom, Scheele dives into the philosophy of purpose, creativity, and the malleability of life.

In this episode of the Culture Leaders Podcast, join us as Kyle discusses the intricacies of living a life without predefined purpose and how such a perspective can lead to greater innovation and flexibility in both personal and professional realms. He explores the misconceptions surrounding creativity and offers a fresh view on how individuals and organizations can foster a more creative and adaptable environment.

Notable quotes

“The simpler an object is, the fewer purposes it has… the more complex you get with the item and the person using the item, the more purposes there are.” – Kyle Scheele 

“Creativity is about thriving within constraints… It’s about working with what you have when you don’t have the resources you’d like.” – Kyle Scheele

“If you look at the world and you’re not happy with it, then that’s on you to go, ‘How do we change this? How do we build the world that we want to live in?'” – Kyle Scheele

“I don’t believe in a single purpose. I think if a person has one, they are vastly underutilizing themselves and their potential.” – Kyle Scheele

“Organizations like to make purpose statements… but if the purpose is not embedded into the day-to-day functions of the company, it’s just something we talked about one time and put up on a wall.” – Kyle Scheele

“Creativity is not something that a specific group of people do. Being a human being is about creativity.” – Kyle Scheele

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Website: http://www.KyleScheele.com

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Jessica Kriegel: Meet Kyle Scheele, an influential speaker and social media sensation known for his viral TikTok presence. Scheele challenges conventional wisdom with a blend of humor and practical advice. His thoughts on embedding creativity into our daily lives have captivated millions, making him the go-to champion. For crazy ideas.

Jessica Kriegel: I’m Dr. Jessica Kriegel, and this is Culture Leaders, where we decode the magic behind the masters of movements to unleash the power of culture. This is the story of Kyle Scheele, a master of a movement to inspire people to unleash their latent creativity.

Jessica Kriegel: Kyle, what is your why? 

Kyle Scheele: Man, this is, we’re going to start out spicy here. I don’t believe in that. You know, when people ask, like, I don’t believe in people having a purpose, like, okay, this is where I’m coming from on this. Whenever people say like, what is your purpose? I think I have this theory.

Kyle Scheele: And it’s like, the simpler an object is the fewer purposes it has. Um, and also, the simpler an object, and also the simpler, like, the person using the object. So if I were to give you a vegetable peeler, it’s like, okay, that thing can peel vegetables. Like, that’s what it’s for, and that’s its purpose.

Kyle Scheele: But also, a creative person could use a vegetable peeler for other things. You could use it to prop open a door, you could use it to hold up a book, you could use it to cut things that aren’t vegetables. And that’s for, like, something that’s a stick with a blade on it. And I think like the more complex you get with the item and the person using the item, the more purposes there are.

Kyle Scheele: And so sometimes my purpose is to hold the door open for someone to walk into. Sometimes my purpose is to inspire an audience. Sometimes my purpose is to raise my kids and turn them into, uh, you know, productive members of society. And I don’t think that any one of those things really encompasses like a why for why I was put on this earth.

Kyle Scheele: And I don’t really know that like that you could do that for a person. I think if a person has one, they are vastly under-utilizing themselves and their potential. 

Jessica Kriegel: Wow. That’s really interesting. So I was ready to rip you for your answer, but now I’m actually getting on board. So do you believe that purpose can be a hindrance of innovation for organizations?

Kyle Scheele: Yeah, I think so. I mean, I think that like organizations like to make purpose statements and and that’s fun. It’s a good way to spend an afternoon and hire a consultant for and all of that and put up some stuff on a wall. 

Jessica Kriegel: No, Kyle. This is what I do for a living. You can’t talk about it like that. 

Kyle Scheele: I think it just depends on how integrated that purpose is to the day-to-day functions of the company.

Kyle Scheele: I think you would agree with that. I think that if a company has a purpose statement that doesn’t impact their day to day, and I think, unfortunately, a lot of people have experienced that working for companies and they’re like, yeah, there’s this thing on the wall that says that we don’t do the thing that you just asked me to do and have been asking me to do every day.

Kyle Scheele: And so I think that if the purpose is embedded into the company, then yeah, that can be a great thing. But if the purpose is a thing that we just Talked about and did one time and put up on a wall. I don’t think that that’s what you’re advocating for. And that’s not something I would advocate for either.

Jessica Kriegel: So it’s interesting. I appreciate what you’re saying. I actually totally agree with you that there are a lot of purpose statements. Let’s call those mission statements because that feels like the old term for it. Mission statements that sit on a shelf or on a plaque somewhere, and they don’t actually move the needle for any organization.

Jessica Kriegel: And part of our work is about having it be a lived and breathed experience that this is something that we’re focused on every day and focus can be really powerful at a business level, right? When we have focus on our goals, when we have focus on a team, we all know what brings us together. It creates a sense of unity.

Jessica Kriegel: So talk to me about the playing with innovation, creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, but also focus and where focus works towards being innovative and where it doesn’t work. 

Kyle Scheele: Yeah. So I think you mentioned out-of-the-box thinking, and that’s another term that I take issue with because I actually think out of the box thinking is very easy.

Kyle Scheele: And I think that that’s not what creativity is outside the box. Thinking would be. You know, you asked me to show up at 11:30 for this interview. Outside-the-box thinking would be like, what if I showed up whenever I felt like it? That’s pretty outside of the box. You know, if your boss asks you to get a job done in six weeks for less than $10,000 and you go, what if I did it in six months and it costs a hundred thousand dollars? That’s very outside of the box.

Kyle Scheele: I think that creativity is actually, I have a whole talk about this. It’s called thinking inside the box. And it’s about thriving within constraints. Creativity is about how do I get this job done when I don’t have the resources that I feel like I would like to have. I don’t have the time. I don’t have the team.

Kyle Scheele: I don’t have the money. I don’t have like, that’s where creative work comes into play. If, if I say, Hey, “Jess, go do this job. You have all the money, all the time, all the resource in the world.” If you have to use creativity for that, something has gone wrong because that’s just like checking off of a list of tasks.

Kyle Scheele: Creativity is about working within constraints. And so when you talk about focus, I think focus is that it’s when you say, here’s the deadline, here’s the budget, here’s what we’re trying to accomplish. Now make that happen when you don’t feel like you can, that’s where the rubber meets the road in terms of creativity and innovation.

Jessica Kriegel: So doesn’t purpose give constraints? If we focus our energy towards this why, then we can operate within those constraints creatively, can’t we? 

Kyle Scheele: Sure. And I think that there’s this quote that is from, I think it’s from Niels Bohr, the physicist. And he says that the opposite of a fact is a fiction, but the opposite of a great truth is often another great truth.

Kyle Scheele: And I think a lot of great truths live in tension. And I think that focus can also help. And I’m a big fan, but I also think that like, how can we think about this in a different way? What if we didn’t, what if we took the constraints off for a second and didn’t look at this the way that we have been looking at it?

Kyle Scheele: When it comes to purpose and why, I think it depends on the specifics of that company and that organization. And what is, what is the truth of that? How deep does that, why go? How flexible is that? Why? Because great companies change over time and they change. They have to flex as the market changes, as consumer needs and wants change, as their staff changes.

Kyle Scheele: And, and so if you start with, with one, why, and if it’s too narrow, and if that doesn’t flex over time, then that does limit your ability to innovate. I mean, look at a company like Nintendo. Nintendo started out selling playing cards, and then they went through this really weird exploratory period where they had a bunch of different lines of business.

Kyle Scheele: Nintendo had a rent-by-the-hour Love hotel chain in Japan. That was a thing that Nintendo had and then they got into video games and so if they had stuck to their original why or their middle-of-the-road why like their purpose, ultimately the purpose of that company. And if I think we’re honest, with any company it’s make enough money to keep the enterprise going and then you layer otherwise on top of that.

Kyle Scheele: And sometimes those things have to shift as markets change. And, I don’t know, I can’t think of a particular company that has lasted a long, long time that hasn’t had to shift and adapt and change their why over time. 

Jessica Kriegel: Well, here’s a question I have for you, because I feel like the word innovation is on its way out in business jargon lexicon, right?

Jessica Kriegel: I mean, it just feels so played out, what even do we mean by innovation? And you’re getting hired by corporations all over the world to talk about innovation. What are they really asking for? What you just described sounds more like change management or adaptability, which is one of the places where we play.

Jessica Kriegel: Is that what they really want? The ability to change? Or can you give us some insight into what people need when they say innovation? 

Kyle Scheele: Yeah, I mean, what they’re looking for is creativity, creativity and innovation. They’re both like just fancy words for problem-solving. And I think that we do ourselves a disservice when a lot of times we talk about creativity, like it’s something that, uh, that a specific group of people do.

Kyle Scheele: And that’s a mistaken belief that a lot of people have that, Oh, like at some point in your childhood, you were told that you were, there’s creative people. And then there’s the rest of us. And sorry, you’re, you’re over in this group. There’s the artists and the dancers, the sculptors, and those are the ones doing creative work.

Kyle Scheele: And then there’s everyone over here, but that’s just fundamentally not true. Like being a human being is about creativity. It’s about and all creativity is taking two old things and putting them together and making a new thing. And figuring out a way to, to look at something in a way that someone else has it before or message in a way that someone else hasn’t before, or solve a problem that someone else hasn’t solved yet. And so I have so many people that will see my talk and at some point say oh, man, I wish I was creative, but you are creative. And it’s always people who have jobs that are historically, traditionally not seen as creative.

Kyle Scheele: But if you dig into what their actual job is at all, they are creative people. Um, so like accountants will say, I’m not creative. You have to make all of this, this limited budget, do all of these things. You have to comply with all the regulations. Make sure it was done a certain amount of time. Put all that into like a spreadsheet.

Kyle Scheele: That’s creative work. First of all, you created the spreadsheet. So, something new exists that did not exist before. Now you might not think this is the greatest artistic expression of all time, but you did create something. The same thing with like a lawyer will say, “I’m not creative.” You got three parties who all hated each other to sign the same piece of paper.

Kyle Scheele: That sounds like a creative act to me. And so, I think that what companies are looking for is problem-solving, because that’s how you create value in a marketplace. If you solve problems that are frustrating people and that are causing friction in their life, if you can remove that problem from them, then you have created value.

Kyle Scheele: And that’s how companies exist. And so, when companies are looking for innovation, they’re ultimately looking for how do we solve problems for ourselves? And how do we solve problems for our customers that we can then turn into some sort of market share?

Jessica Kriegel: That’s interesting because I saw you keynote and I did think, oh man, I wish I was creative like him.

Jessica Kriegel: And then I wanted to ask you about what in your childhood made you so creative? And I mean, yeah, you do feel like you do. One does sometimes associate creativity with a certain realm of activity, right? The fact that you have color-coded books behind you that look like a rainbow feels creative, as opposed to, you know, I got a neon sign that’s less creative.

Jessica Kriegel: I mean, maybe, maybe not. But why do we associate creativity with artistry and, you know, building things that people haven’t seen before, for example, rather than what you describe it as, which is creating things?

Kyle Scheele: Yeah, I think probably there’s some cultural stuff. There’s some linguistic, you know, historical, like how we’ve talked about it.

Kyle Scheele: Also, I think it’s just kind of sexier to like to say that, you know, that painting is creative and, you know, as opposed to a spreadsheet. There’s not a lot of people, people do not tend to gather in museums to look at spreadsheets and, you know, in awe and spend their time talking about those things.

Kyle Scheele: Yeah, those are the things that fundamentally make the whole world work. Like, the whole world works because of numbers and documents and spreadsheets. And, and once we get to like, you know the standing in a white wall gallery, looking at a museum, that’s way up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Kyle Scheele: And making sure that the bills are paid is kind of like more towards the bottom. And I think that we tend to like, admire those things because we’re like, wow, that’s, that’s incredible. And also, I don’t know, because it’s not something that most of us do. If you actually meet and talk to and spend time around artists, you’ll realize that like artists, there are some, there are some definitely weird people in the art world, but there are also a lot of [those for whom] it’s a job.

Kyle Scheele: They have a business that they’re trying to run. They also have to figure out how do I market my services? How do I market, like, my pieces? And there’s a whole business aspect to that. How do I, like, who buys sculptures? And how do I find those people? And how do I get to be top of mind when they are looking for their next acquisition?

Kyle Scheele: And how do museums work? Like, they have to navigate all of that. And sometimes they have a manager or a gallery person or something. But like, if they don’t figure that out, they, they also don’t get to continue to exist. And so, I think sometimes because there’s a distance and we don’t know all the behind the Ooh, that’s like this magical, creative world.

Kyle Scheele: And it’s not. It’s the same world that you and I live in.

Jessica Kriegel: That’s an interesting perspective. So, all right, let me back you into a corner right now. If you were on your deathbed and you could look back at the impact that you had on the world with your messaging, what impact would you hope to have created?

Kyle Scheele: What I hope to create out of everything that I do is an understanding of agency. Like, I want people to understand that you live in a world that is malleable. And that the things that you are told, this is how it is, that’s just a starting point. That doesn’t mean that’s how it always will be. That doesn’t mean it’s how it has to be.

Kyle Scheele: Like the world is the way that it is because other people make decisions about that. And you can make decisions that are different than that. If somebody walks away from my talk and what they walk away with is, wow, Kyle Scheele, what a fascinating individual. Then I didn’t do my job. What I want and the result that I get all the time is that people walk away and they go, “Oh, that sparked this idea in me.”

Kyle Scheele: Oh, I have this. There’s this thing that I’ve been putting off or this idea that I have and I, I just now I’m going to go do it. Literally yesterday I got done and this woman came up and she was like, look, these are the pages of notes I took. This is all the stuff that I’m going to go do now that I know about the stuff that we talked about with innovation and creativity.

Kyle Scheele: And I talk about like, how do you build a culture where ideas are the natural byproduct? And how do you build an environment where ideas are supported? And that’s what I want is for people to go now that I understand what ideas need. Here’s how I’m going to do those things in my own life. And here’s how I’m going to create that environment for my team so that their ideas get launched out into the world.

Kyle Scheele: That’s what I want. My legacy to be is for people to realize that you have the power to make the world into whatever you want it to be. I used to speak in high schools and I would always tell them, if you look at the world, and this is a pretty classic teenager thing to do, look at the world and go, “Oh, I hate this.”

Kyle Scheele: “I don’t like this. This world sucks. This thing was given to me this way.” I say, if you look at the world and you’re not happy with it, then that’s on you to go, how do we change this? How do we build the world that we want to live in? That’s the legacy that I hope I leave behind.

Jessica Kriegel: So, wouldn’t that be your purpose, Kyle?

Jessica Kriegel: To spark creativity, to inspire people to action, to improve the malleability of the world around you?

Kyle Scheele: Yeah, I guess you could say at a high level, but I also think that, like, I’m not saying that a person doesn’t have a purpose. Purposes. I’m saying that a person doesn’t have a single purpose. Because if I accomplish all that, if I accomplish all of those things, and I’ve seen this happen, I’ve seen this, and I would imagine in the industry that you and I are in and speaking and traveling all over the world and doing this stuff and inspiring audiences, here’s what I’ve seen happen, is that it would be very possible for me to do that.

Kyle Scheele: And also for my kids to not want to talk to me anymore and for me to have done all of that at the cost of all the personal relationships in my life and at the cost of people who know me deeply and having created community and at the cost of all these other purposes that are also very important to me.

Kyle Scheele: And so, the question that you asked was like, how do you want to impact or like, at least how I took it? Maybe you said it differently, but it was like, how do you want to impact people with this message that you have? Well, that’s how I want to do that, but I also like, it’s just as important to me, actually, it’s more important to me if I had to choose between that or my kids being well-adapted adults, I’ll take my kids all day because none of that stuff really matters.

Kyle Scheele: Like that is a purpose that I have. My kids are a purpose that I have 10 acres of property that I’m trying to like develop into like a really amazing place for friends and family to come. That’s a purpose that I have. And also a purpose like yesterday I had to file my taxes and if I don’t do that, eventually I don’t get to do any of the other stuff too.

Kyle Scheele: So, like on a day to day, there’s little purposes, there’s big purposes. And so yeah, that’s kind of the point that I was trying to make is that we all have, I’ll have lots of purposes. And, and I don’t think, I don’t know if it’s for us to judge like which ones are, I think at a high level, maybe you can go, this one’s probably higher up the list and, and lower down the list.

Kyle Scheele: But you know, there are people who like they said one thing to somebody one time, and that completely changed the trajectory of that person’s life. And they probably don’t even know that. Like there are people in my life who have said things to me when I was a kid who said, “Hey, Kyle, you’re really funny, or you’re really smart,” or “Hey, that thing that you said, that totally changed the trajectory of my life.”

Kyle Scheele: And I don’t think that that person would go, that was my purpose in life. They don’t even know that they said that. But that was a big purpose for them. And so I think, I don’t know, that’s the point I’m trying to make is that you can make lots of little impacts and lots of big impacts and you can have all sorts of different, you know, effects on the world.

Kyle Scheele: And I think it’s hard to boil that down into one thing.

Jessica Kriegel: I love that.

Kyle Scheele: But I’m also open to being wrong. I’m open to being wrong.

Jessica Kriegel: No, no, Kyle, you’re definitely right. I’m going to get on board with your thing. We’re going to change the question on this podcast from now on. What is one of many possible purposes?

Jessica Kriegel: But you know, what’s funny is when I have times of suffering, and I was just having a conversation with a friend of mine last week, and we were talking about something hard that was going on. And in that conversation, I said, what if there is a purpose for you that you will never understand? You know, and this was a friend who was dealing with, you know, severe depression.

Jessica Kriegel: And I said, what if there’s a purpose for you that you will never understand and you’re never going to see the impact of and you won’t even have the knowledge of. So, for example, when you turn 65, you’re going to go for a walk and you’re going to see a young person fall down. You’re going to pick them up.

Jessica Kriegel: You’re going to help them tie their shoe. And that person is going to have a thought that leads them down a new path. And then 20 years later, they cure cancer. And that was your purpose to help that person get up from a trip. And you’ll never know because by the time the cancer cure is on the planet, you’re long gone.

Jessica Kriegel: What if that’s the reason why you’re on the planet? Wouldn’t that be wonderful? That would have been such a big impact. The ego, though, wants to see it. The ego wants to know what I did to make a difference and to be the reason for that difference. And what if that’s just not the case? I mean, I don’t know if that’s nihilistic or uplifting.

Kyle Scheele: I think, well, I am with you, like that might be one of that person’s purposes. I think that would be an incredibly inefficient use of a life to spend 65 years to help one person tie their shoe. And so what I’m saying is, Let’s use the rest of that time and help a bunch of people tie their shoes and also write some books and make some podcasts and do some videos and give some speeches and build a business and have a family and like all of those things like let’s use that time and then yeah, we get to the end of our life, I’ll help the kid tie his shoe, he goes and cures his cancer, like I think that life is so amazing and magical and huge and beautiful and like why limit yourself to this one thing and I want to see all of it. I want to try all of it.

Kyle Scheele: I want to, I want to chase a million different purposes. And I’m sure there’s buckets that all that stuff falls into. But yeah, I don’t know. I guess for me, I don’t. I don’t feel this like deep need to boil it down to one thing for me. And that has all sorts of positive and negative impacts on my life.

Kyle Scheele: Like there’s times that I think I’m sure it would be helpful if I focused a little bit more. But also when it comes to like all of the different things that have brought me to where I am today, a lot of it was because in the moment I, I chased after whatever crazy idea I had.

Jessica Kriegel: And had faith that something would happen.

Kyle Scheele: Or didn’t, or just thought I wanted, like, I I’m a big fan of going like, when I was a kid, I was always just like a very curious kid. I would always ask my dad, like, why did this happen? Or why did this person on the news say this? Or why did you do this? Like, I saw this happen and then you did this.

Kyle Scheele: Why did you do that? And my dad was very patient with me to answer the questions, but like, I would keep going. Like, well, why that? Why that? And like six or seven layers deep. And eventually my dad would say this thing and he would go, “I don’t know, Kyle. I guess it just seemed like the thing to do at the time.”

Kyle Scheele: And I always like was so not satisfied with that as an answer. But then I like, as I’ve gotten into, you know, creativity and being an artist and like, one of the things that annoys the heck out of me is like an artist statement, like in a museum. And it’s like, here’s why this person made this. And there’s certain things where you can tell that this has no connection to that.

Kyle Scheele: This thing that you wrote, this artist statement has no connection to the piece of art that is over there. You felt like you needed to justify why you hung 600 paperclips off the wall or whatever. I wish more artist statements just said, it seemed like the thing to do at the time. Like, I don’t know, it seemed like a fun idea.

Kyle Scheele: And because for me, like, when I look back on the projects that I’ve, that I’ve done, the ones that blew up and went viral and they felt no different to me when I initially had the idea. Every idea I have, I feel like this is the best idea I’ve ever had. This is like every one is so appealing when I have it.

Kyle Scheele: And then some of them, I think, oh, people are going to love this and nobody cares. And then other ones, I’m like, oh, this is just for me. No one’s really going to care. And then it blows up and gets viewed a bajillion times. So, I’m never like, oh, this is the specific one. And it needs, I have faith that something good is going to come out of it.

Kyle Scheele: I’m just like, the joy for me is in the process of making the thing, and whatever happens after that, that’s all just gravy on top. And that’s, it’s great if it happens. If it doesn’t happen, I got the joy out of the process of creating this idea that was in my head, and I turned it into something tangible.

Jessica Kriegel: I love that. You know, there’s a poet named Donald Hall that I was watching a YouTube video of him talking about where his poems come from, what inspires him. You know, the creative process of poetry, essentially, and he said some poems, it wasn’t, this isn’t the word-for-word quote, but the gist of what he was saying was that some poems, it takes them 20 years to find out what they were about.

Jessica Kriegel: You know, he writes it down and 20 years later, he thinks, ah, that’s what that poem was, you know, it’s just, it just happened and it comes from a place and he doesn’t know where that place is. And, and then there it is.

Kyle Scheele: I love Donald Hall. He is, he’s got so many amazing poems and. He was married to another poet and they had this beautiful relationship.

Kyle Scheele: Yeah, he’s fantastic. I’ve read so much of his stuff.

Jessica Kriegel: So, is there a particular creative project that you worked on that strikes you as one of your favorites or that maybe you’re still trying to figure out why you did it, or any story you can tell us as an example of one of your shining moments in your memory?

Kyle Scheele: I’ll tell you two stories.

Kyle Scheele: I’ll tell you one story of a project that, that I did that, like, changed my entire life, like, completely, like it was the most viral thing that I’ve ever done. And I had no expectation that that was going to happen. And then I’ll tell you another one of what I thought people would like so much more than they did.

Kyle Scheele: And I’m so glad that I did it, but it was like, it did nothing at all. So, the first story is I started posting on TikTok in late 2020, I think, and I had like waited for so long because I thought, oh, like the big viral moment had passed and I thought I don’t have a chance. And so finally, I was like, you know what?

Kyle Scheele: I’m just going to try it. So, I posted a first video. Nothing really happened. I posted a second video. Nothing really happened. And then the third video. I went from having 17 followers, like not 1, 700, not 17, 000, 17 individual followers to a million followers in just over 25 hours. And that happened based on a project where I photoshopped a family picture that had, it’s like so idiosyncratic in particular to my family, but it’s, it’s like an old Olin Mills or Sears Portrait Studio kind of a thing.

Kyle Scheele: It’s my uncles and my cousins and my mom and dad and my brothers and I. My little brother wasn’t even born yet. So, we’re all sitting there, you know, looking nice. And then for some reason, the photographer asked only my dad to tilt his head. And he tilted it like at a 45-degree angle. And so when we get the picture back. everyone else looks great and my dad’s head is just like crooked.

Kyle Scheele: And this became this like family inside joke where like my dad hates this picture, but my mom loves this picture and if you’re married, you know how that worked out. Like the picture is still there. And so, it’s like it’s hung in their house forever. It’s become this inside joke. And so one day I was like, I can fix this.

Kyle Scheele: Like I’m an artist. I’m good at Photoshop. I could fix it. So, I took it off the wall and out of town. I scanned it in. I put it back up and then I went in and I fixed my dad’s head And then after I straightened my dad’s head, I was like, you know, it’d be even funnier if I made everyone else’s head crooked.

Kyle Scheele: So like, I basically reversed the picture where my dad’s head is straight up and down, and there’s like seven or eight other people in this picture. It took me almost an entire day. It was like seven and a half hours to Photoshop everyone’s head. And I just like made all their heads crooked. And then I printed the picture and gave it to my dad.

Kyle Scheele: And I told that story on Tik TOK in a video and it went, it did, I think 68 million views. It has been viewed almost as long as my dad has been alive. Like the collective watch time on that video is like 70 years of human existence has been like, we could have cured cancer and instead we wasted all that time on that video.

Kyle Scheele: And so that’s a video where I’m like, why did, why is that particular video out of all the things that I’ve done? I don’t know. And then, and then on the flip side, there’s a project that’s actually hanging on the wall behind the camera right now. Where I was on an online estate auction and someone was selling a taxidermied raccoon and it was like hanging off of this branch really weird and its foot was kind of kicked up into the air.

Kyle Scheele: And I think it’s supposed to look like it’s climbing up onto the branch. But I just thought it looks like it’s doing karate. And so I’m like, I’m going to buy this taxidermied raccoon. I’m going to have a custom karate gi, like a whole outfit made for the raccoon, and then I’m going to put it up in my office.

Kyle Scheele: And it was like months of time. It was so, it was so much more expensive than I thought it would be. And the person I hired was like a seamstress to do it. She was like, I will never do this kind of work again. It was so hard. And it, as soon as I get, it’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. It makes me laugh.

Kyle Scheele: And I posted that video and it did fine, but it wasn’t like anybody really cared. And, but I think Karate Raccoon is one of my greatest creations. So, I don’t know, I would have thought of all the things I would have thought Karate Raccoon would do great. And the family Photoshop picture wouldn’t.

Kyle Scheele: And I was completely wrong about that, and that’s actually one of the things that I talk about in, in my talks is that, is that we are really bad judges of like the window of possibility. We always are way, way wrong. We think, okay, best-case scenario here, worst-case scenario is here, and it always ends up way over here, way over there, across the room, some way.

Kyle Scheele: It’s always way better or way worse than we expected. Um, and so if that’s true, my encouragement is like, well, just, just chase the craziest ideas that you have then, like, if you don’t know, if you’re going to be wrong either way, go ambitious, like go big. And maybe you’ll find out, wow, I way undersold myself.

Kyle Scheele: And I was able to accomplish way more than I thought.

Jessica Kriegel: But where does risk play into this? Because I could see that for, you know, this TikTok video versus that TikTok video. But then I think about my life and it’s on a path right now. I have a crazy idea to go make an impact in some different way.

Jessica Kriegel: And I want to go pursue that dream, but the risk is severe. It’s my livelihood for my family, for my financial stability. I mean, so there’s a risk, there’s something holding me back there. And in the corporate world, that risk is also what we’re weighing, right? So how does that play into it?

Kyle Scheele: Well, it depends.

Kyle Scheele: There’s a couple answers for that. One is like this idea of like no risk, no reward. And so like, usually those things are tied together. And if there’s no risk at all in a project, then there’s probably not like a huge amount of upside. At the same time, I’m not at all saying that, like, I’m not the guy that says, “Quit your job and go chase down your daydream.”

Kyle Scheele: Like, no, keep your job until like when I got started as a speaker,  I waited until like I had 10 days of vacation at my job. And then like a year into my speaking thing, I had taken 30 days off to go speak. And I was like, I should probably leave now. Like I waited until I was so far down the runway that I was like, okay, now this thing is built.

Kyle Scheele: It can sustain itself. But I also think that like in my talk about about the benefits of limitation, I, one of the questions that I have people ask is, is this a constraint or is this an excuse? And I think that something can be both of those things. Sometimes we have this thing we go, “Oh, like, I’ve got this constraint, and so it means that I can’t do this.”

Kyle Scheele: And sometimes that’s true, and sometimes it’s like, no, it just means that you can’t do this much smaller thing, and you’ve extrapolated it out so much bigger. And so, if there is something where you go, I want to do this thing, I have this idea, but if it goes wrong, then my whole livelihood and family falls apart, then I would go, well, then don’t do that.

Kyle Scheele: But also maybe go back to the drawing board and say, is that true? Or is there a less risky version of this that I can do? Is there some other way? How can I mitigate that risk? And that’s something that you should do as an individual, but that’s also something that corporations do all the time is figure out how do we mitigate the risk?

Kyle Scheele: How do we, if this investment goes bad, how do we set it up so that like, worst-case scenario, we still survive and we can rally around that somehow. We can rescue some of the investment that we poured into it or we can pivot in some way. But I think that if it’s, hey, this is going to ruin my family, then I’d go, then don’t try it.

Kyle Scheele: Find another idea. But I think that there are definitely ideas, there’s a spectrum between those two things of like, I’m not going to do anything and I’m going to do the thing that, that could kill us all. Well, maybe find something in between where there’s, there’s potential risks, but it’s enough that you could, you could stomach the blow if it goes wrong.

Jessica Kriegel: Yeah, that’s interesting. I appreciate that because we’re also living in a world of reality, you know, and one of the things that I’ve done in the past is scenario planning with executive teams for 20 years out. What is the future of this industry, let alone your company, right? What are going to be the external factors that we need to pivot and adjust to?

Jessica Kriegel: And what we usually come out with is some quadrant. It’s an idea that it could be this, or it could be that, and it could be this, or it could be that. And so, there’s kind of four future realities that we can imagine going into 20 years from now. And what the executive team comes out with at the end of that is a primary, a best guess at where we’re going and a strategy to deal with that best guess, and then two secondary or tertiary strategies that are not going to take nearly as much investment, time, or priority.

Jessica Kriegel: But they are scenarios that we maybe spend 10 percent of our time or budget on preparing for so that when the future comes and we’re either right or wrong, we can pivot quickly. Also, just having the conversation allows executives to pivot. And so, there’s risk mitigation, but there’s also taking a bet.

Jessica Kriegel: You know, my dad went on a motorcycle trip around the world and his saying was don’t forget to take a risk.

Jessica Kriegel: There’s little ways we can take risk in addition to those big ones. You know, I like what, one of the things I keep hearing you say is things aren’t binary. There can be two opposite realities that are both true, and we don’t necessarily have to put everything inside a box, even though your keynote is all about being inside the box.

Kyle Scheele: Yeah. And I think that like there’s not a world where you don’t have risk. I mean, it’s funny that I laugh when you’re like, my dad went on a motorcycle trip around the world and he wanted to take a risk every day. I’m like, I don’t know if he knew this, but taking a motorcycle trip around the world is taking a risk every day.

Kyle Scheele: Taking a motorcycle trip down to the corner and back is taking a risk. Not taking that trip is taking a risk. You could die of a heart attack. You could fall off your couch. You could, your house could collapse in on you. I mean, there’s like, being a human being and being alive in this world is inherently risky.

Kyle Scheele: There’s just, there’s no getting away from that. You and I get on airplanes every day. And I don’t know if you’ve watched anything that’s happening lately. Airplanes doors are flying off and wings are flying off. And it’s like, I’m taking a risk every time I do that. But also if I could take a risk. My grandmother died at her house. Like, that’s a thing that happens all the time.

Kyle Scheele: People die of all sorts of things. And so it’s a risk no matter what you do. And there’s no such thing as a risk-free life. And I think that the other thing is that the stresses of life that we go through when we go through risk, even when it doesn’t go the way we want it to, oftentimes that builds strength, it builds resilience.

Kyle Scheele: It builds, it sets us up for a win later on. I’ll never forget. I tell the story of my talk, but I was speaking at a high school one time, and this girl comes up to me and offers me during an interview like a fundraising chocolate bar. She’s like, “Hey, would you like to buy this to support our field hockey team?”

Kyle Scheele: And I didn’t have any money. I didn’t have my wallet on me and I was like, “Oh, I don’t have my wallet.” But I was like, tell me about your team. And she goes, “Oh, we suck.” And she was like, we’re a terrible team. And I was like, you’re not a very good salesperson. But then this person next to her goes, well, the team is bad, but she’s really good.

Kyle Scheele: And as this whole conversation unfolds, I learned that this girl who’s trying to sell me the chocolate bar, her team is awful. I don’t know if they’d won a single game that year, but she was the fourth-best field hockey goalie in the entire country. And I was like, that’s crazy. Like ranked. I Googled it, her name comes up, she got a full-ride scholarship to go play the next year.

Kyle Scheele: Like all this crazy stuff. And I was like, that’s bananas. Like what a contrast. And she said this thing that I’ll never forget. Like, as long as I live, she said, “Well, Kyle, when your team sucks, you get a lot of opportunities to be a good goalie.” And I’m like, Oh my gosh, that’s so brilliant. Because the thing is, the stuff that she was so good at was safe.

Kyle Scheele: She had saved more goals than anyone else. And it’s like, that’s because her team was so bad at defense that if anybody was going to stop, it was going to be her. And so, I think about that. Like, sometimes the situation doesn’t play out for you now. But like 10 years later, like, wow, I’m so glad that I built that.

Kyle Scheele: I’m so glad that I had that failure. I’m so glad that I took that risk, even though it didn’t pan out because now it set me up. Now I’m like, Oh, I know how this works. Or now I get to go full-ride scholarship to college for free because my team sucked and it built this resilience in me.

Jessica Kriegel: Oh, I love that story. Okay, so, not to keep you to myself, we have a couple callers who have submitted questions for you, so let’s see what they are. Glean more of your wisdom!

Guest Caller: Hey Kyle, it’s Greg Fuse from the PCBC. I have a question for you that’s a little bit silly, but also very significant, so I need you to think about this carefully.

Guest Caller: The Dark Knight, Little Miss Sunshine, or Stepbrothers? Pick one, and more importantly, tell us why. Thanks, my friend. Hope to see you soon

Kyle Scheele:. Oh, first of all, I love Greg. He’s a client of mine. He’s an awesome guy. Super cool. Oh man. Well, okay. It was Dark Knight, Little Miss Sunshine. And what was the third one?

Jessica Kriegel: Stepbrothers.

Kyle Scheele: Stepbrothers. Those are so different movies.I will say I’ve seen all of them. The one that comes to mind for me is the Dark Knight because I felt like the Dark Knight changed who Batman was for my generation, at least of moviegoers. I know there are going to be people that are like, it’s based on a comic book.

Kyle Scheele: We all knew this for a long time. But before that, like the Batman that I grew up with was real goofy and campy and, and like, you know, it’s like the Adam West Batman, and even like the George Clooney Batman, like it wasn’t, none of those Batmans had this gritty, like, thing that the Dark Knight had. And I remember going to, like, I went to the Dark Knight thinking, like, this is going to be this goofy movie.

Kyle Scheele: And I was like, oh my gosh, it just, like, completely changed what we thought of that character. And then set up this whole, like, universe of other Batman movies that came after that. And so, I think that’s great. Little Miss Sunshine, honestly, don’t remember a ton about that movie. So, that probably says something.

Kyle Scheele: Stepbrothers was hilarious and very quotable. But also, it was, to me, it was like, Stepbrothers is one of a bunch of movies that came out around that time with that same general group of people, all of which were funny and quotable. None of them, in my mind, had the same cultural impact that The Dark Knight had.

Jessica Kriegel: Excellent answer. We’ll take it. I haven’t seen any of the movies, so I have nothing to add.

Kyle Scheele: What? You haven’t seen The Dark Knight? That’s insane! You should get off of this call and go watch it.

Jessica Kriegel: I don’t have time for movies. I say that that’s such BS. I actually watch every episode of Love Island. So, let’s be clear.

Kyle Scheele: I’m like, you’re on planes a lot. Planes have like, that’s all movie time.

Jessica Kriegel: Yeah, totally. Okay. And we have another caller.

Guest Caller: Hey Kyle, Melissa from Chicago here. You help people dream and imagine and think differently and bigger every day. And I’m curious what best practices you would have, particularly as you get older, to always challenge yourself and dream bigger and think differently every day.

Guest Caller: Curious of your thoughts.

Kyle Scheele: That’s a great question. I think it’s a practice like when you were asking earlier, like, what made you creative as a kid? And I, I do think that like, I am more creative than the average person. And I think that’s because I’ve just been doing it for a long time. And it’s like a muscle when you see people who are still very fit when they’re 80.

Kyle Scheele: It’s not because they started that when they were 75, it’s because like, that was a priority in their life. And so, I have made creativity and innovation a priority in my life. I spend a lot of time with all of these books on my bookshelf. Yes, they’re color-coded, but they’re not like aesthetic objects.

Kyle Scheele: They are books that I have read and that I get ideas out of. Like I also do not watch a ton of movies, but I do watch a ton of documentaries and I watch a ton of like, you know, internet videos and like little mini docs and stuff like that. I’m always looking for like, I just call them dots because creativity is just about connecting dots.

Kyle Scheele: I’m always looking for like, how can I take something from over here and connect it to over here? And I think that if you develop that habit, you don’t have to worry about like staying creative over time because that’s like what your brain naturally does all the time is make connections between objects.

Kyle Scheele: As an innovation and creativity speaker, I’m legally obligated to mention Steve Jobs at least once in every interview. And. Steve Jobs had this quote where he said that creative people often feel guilty because they don’t feel like they actually did anything. They just noticed something. They just noticed a connection between two things that no one else had ever noticed before.

Kyle Scheele: And I think that that’s what, that’s how to do it. How to stay creative is just keep looking at different stuff. And eventually you’ll go, if you stand here, like this is a silly example, but this is a video I made that got viewed over a million times. There’s a store in my town called O’Reilly Auto Parts, and they’re headquartered in my town, and there’s another, there’s like one of their locations where there’s another sign that if you park at this exact intersection and you look over, it blocks part of the sign and it looks like it says auto farts because it makes the P look like an F.

Kyle Scheele: And that’s all that creativity is. Is lining up two different things and going, if you look at it this way, actually it totally changes things. So, I think the way that you stay creative is just stay curious, ask a lot of questions and consume things broadly and the rest will kind of take care of itself.

Jessica Kriegel: Okay, before I ask you our last question, I want to know, I love what you just said about, I call them dots because it’s all about connecting dots. But according to the personality assessments that a lot of us have taken, right? The disc assessment, there’s yellow, which is more visionary and able to connect dots.

Jessica Kriegel: And then there’s the red. That’s more analytical, the accountant example that you gave earlier. And you were saying, but you are creative. You create spreadsheets. The research shows that as you said, you’re probably more creative than the average Joe, right? How do I develop that muscle? That practice intentionally.

Jessica Kriegel: If I hear this podcast right now and think I want to play with this idea. Where do I start?

Kyle Scheele: It depends on why you want to develop that muscle. Like what the purpose of that for you is. If you go, Hey, I want to get, like, I think saying I want to be more creative generally. I think that that’s a bad question.

Kyle Scheele: It’s a non-starter because it doesn’t have a direction to it. But if you were to say, I want to learn how to paint. I want to learn how to draw. I want to learn how to sculpt. I want to learn how to make videos. I want to learn how to make better spreadsheets. Whatever the thing is that you want to, like, pick a goal and start working towards that.

Kyle Scheele: And then you will just along the way, like, figure that out. You’ll go, Okay, if I’m going to learn how to paint, I should get some paints. I should take a class. I should watch some YouTube videos. I should order a kit. Like, there’s a lot of different ways that you can do it. But going through that process will start to expose you to other things, and those things will just naturally expand your viewpoint, your window of possibility, the way that you look at the world, and then your brain will start making connections.

Kyle Scheele: I kind of think that most of the personality test stuff is BS. And it’s not backed up by as much data as we pretend like it is. And I don’t think that human beings fall into buckets like that. I could do a whole other podcast with you on why I don’t think that any of that stuff is valid.

Kyle Scheele: Also, like, if you fall into that, if you, if you test one way, I think that if you spent a lot of time doing things outside of the world that you’re normally in, you would probably test differently a year or two later. And it just depends on if that’s a thing that you want to do or not. I actually don’t care that everyone is more artistic.

Kyle Scheele: What I care about is how do you do the thing that you do? In the most creative way possible. And so that can be like, if you’re, if you’re an accountant, then you should be asking other accountants, like, what do your spreadsheets look like? How did you tackle this specific problem? Because there isn’t a right way to do every single thing.

Kyle Scheele: It’s how did you set this up? And you’ll go, Oh, that’s interesting. And that changes how you do stuff.

Jessica Kriegel: My takeaway from that is one purpose is helpful just to bring it full circle. And two, if you’re an accountant, go to your buddy and say, Hey, what do your spreadsheets look like?

Kyle Scheele: Yes. I didn’t think that that’s true.

Jessica Kriegel: YOLO. Can I get down on your spreadsheet? What’s your spreadsheet action? Well, Kyle, my last and favorite question is what is one thing that no one has asked you in these interviews from the stage when you’re doing Q& A that you really wish more people would ask?

Kyle Scheele: Oh, I don’t know. It depends on what mood.

Kyle Scheele: If I want to be controversial, then I wish people would ask me my opinions about introverts and extroverts, because I don’t think that they’re real. But, other than that, I don’t really care what questions people ask me because my work is so weird and varied. I think people ask me like a very wide variety of questions and I’m always surprised.

Kyle Scheele: So, I feel like I get enough variety of questions. But if I’m feeling like particularly in a like stir-up-the-pot kind of mode, then I’m like, yeah, ask me my questions about personality tests and introverts and, and I have a whole rant that I could go on.

Jessica Kriegel: Well, it’s interesting because I have a rant about personality tests to not necessarily on the lack of validity of them, although I think a lot of them are not valid, but about the way that they are used to create culture.

Jessica Kriegel: But ultimately they are slapping lipstick on a pig, in my opinion, as a tool in corporate America. So let me just dig into this just a smidge before I let you go. You think introverts and extroverts aren’t real.

Kyle Scheele: Yeah, I don’t think that that’s a real thing. I think that introverts and extroverts are labels that we put on behavior that don’t exist in the real world.

Kyle Scheele: I think that if you, I think, again, there’s probably a spectrum of people. Here’s, my thing is, if you were to describe it differently and not put the label of introvert or extrovert, the description of an introvert, like the classical definition is someone who is energized by being alone and is drained by being with other people and extroverts the opposite.

Kyle Scheele: If you were to describe that without those terms, you would say one of them is social anxiety. And the other one is like, I don’t think it’s particularly helpful that someone can’t be alone with their own thoughts. That doesn’t seem healthy either. Neither end of that spectrum seems healthy.

Kyle Scheele: But also none of those people exist, because introverts, every introvert I know, every self-described introvert, the first thing they want to tell you is that they’re an introvert, and they want to talk about being an introvert, they want to get assured about being an introvert, and they want to post memes about introversion.

Kyle Scheele: Those are all extroverted behaviors. And also, every extrovert I know has groups of people that you could not pay them to go be around. And so, nobody gets energized by crowds of people. They get energized by specific groups of people that they identify with and connect with. And so, it’s not, because otherwise an extrovert could just, like, go to a riot and be like, I feel so great now.

Kyle Scheele: Like I was around people. It’s not bad. It’s so much more nuanced than that. And also introverts, they have groups of people that they like. And all of us, I am frequently cited as an extrovert. People are like, oh, Kyle is so extroverted because he’s on stage all the time. Sometimes all I want to do is sit by myself and read and other times I do want to go out and be around groups of people and I think that if we’re honest with ourselves, all of us have that.

Kyle Scheele: There’s times that you want to be with people. There’s times that you want to be alone. Some of us are a little more one way or the other. But I think the idea of like, there’s two camps, you’re here, you’re here. I think that that’s demonstrably false and also just not very helpful.

Jessica Kriegel: Thank you for watching his TED talk on extroverts.

Kyle Scheele: Yes. Yeah.

Jessica Kriegel: Uh, Kyle. Thank you so much. This has been such a fun conversation. I saw your keynote. I was blown away. You’re one of the funniest people I’ve ever seen give a keynote. If you want someone who has really great insights about innovation and creativity but is also super funny and entertaining while doing it, Kyle is your guy.

Jessica Kriegel: Where can our listeners go to learn more about you?

Kyle Scheele: Kylescheele. com. It’s K Y L E S C H E E L E dot com. Or that’s Kyle Scheele on pretty much every social media platform. That’s about it. Or come to Springfield, Missouri and come hang out with me at O’Reilly Auto Parts and we’ll laugh at the sign.

Jessica Kriegel: Thanks, Kyle.

Kyle Scheele: Thanks, Jess.

Jessica Kriegel: Thank you for tuning in to Culture Leaders. I’m Dr. Jessica Kriegel, hoping you found inspiration in today’s story. If you enjoyed the episode, please leave a review and share your thoughts. And thanks for listening.

Narrator: To connect and learn more about today’s guest, visit the links section on this episode’s show notes.

Narrator: Please be sure to connect with Jessica and the show at jessicacregal. com. There you’ll be able to see all the episodes and learn more about transforming culture at your organization. This episode is a Culture Partners production. Until next time, keep shaping a positive culture. Thanks for listening.

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