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If You Want To Get Creative, Take A Page From Caine's Arcade

For pure creativity in motion, there's nowhere better to look than to kids. A great example is Caine Monroy, a 9-year-old boy in L.A. who built an amazing cardboard arcade inside his dad’s used auto parts store during summer vacation.

Here are six takeaways from "Caine’s Arcade" to help inspire creativity in you and those around you:

1. Ban boredom.

Caine’s dad seems to embrace a parenting philosophy similar to my mother’s—when I would complain of being bored as a child, she would always say, "Great! That means you get to create something to do."

We don’t detect boredom in Caine’s life. Although many kids would have moped around the shop and pouted about being bored, not Caine. With his father’s encouragement, he constructs a cardboard masterpiece.

Are you banishing boredom in your life—and in the lives of those around you?

2. Pursue passion.

"Caine doesn’t pass by an arcade without stopping in," his dad says early in the video. "He loves tickets, playing games, prizes—so it was only natural for him to build his own arcade."

What are you and those around you deeply passionate about? Are you allowing this passion to fuel creativity?

3. Use what’s there.

Too often we make excuses for not being creative by telling ourselves we don’t have the perfect budget, environment, or customer. Not Caine. Stuck in a drab, dusty, and desolate auto parts shop, he uses leftover cardboard boxes, shipping tape, and old toys to create his arcade.

Are you letting the lack of a perfect world excuse a lack of imagination?

4. Encourage creativity.

At one point, Caine tells his father he wants to buy an arcade "claw machine." And Dad replies, "Why don’t you just build one?"

So Caine does just that. With an s-hook and piece of string, he creates his own game.

Are you nudging inventiveness in yourself and others?

5. Dive in.

Caine’s "staff" T-shirt means what it says. Caine isn’t just in the middle of the action, he is the action—street hawker, money-taker, game operator, and even coupon dispenser, crawling into boxes to push tickets through slots.

Are you immersing yourself in creative projects? Getting your hands dirty? Doing whatever it takes to make projects succeed?

6. Don’t give up.

Every day Caine tried without luck to get passersby inside the arcade. "But he never gets discouraged," said Dad. "He’s always sweeping up and dusting off the games—waiting for customers."

And on that fateful Sunday before the flashmob, Dad asks Caine if they can go home early since they’ve been void of customers. "No can do," says Caine.

Are you quitting five minutes before the miracle happens?

—Author Sam Harrison is a speaker, workshop leader and writer on creativity-related topics. His books include IdeaSelling: Successfully pitch your creative ideas to bosses, clients and other decision makers, IdeaSpotting: How to find your next great idea, and Zing!: Five steps and 101 tips for creativity on command. Find him at