Sunday, August 01, 2010

Curious about the Theme: Do You Ever Make Use of One? How Has a Theme Directed Your Life, Business and Purpose? Or Has It?

Definition of Theme: A subject or topic on which a person writes or speaks; a proposition for discussion or argument; a text. Discourse on a certain subject. That by means of which a thing is done; means; instrument. The leading subject of a composition or a movement.

We must have a theme, a goal, a purpose in our lives. If you don't know where you're aiming, you don't have a goal. My goal is to live my life in such a way that when I die, someone can say, she cared.” - Mary Kay Ash, American business woman

I picked this week’s blog theme to be “Theme” mainly because I use a theme in so many different areas of my life, my purpose, my communications, my designs and websites, and my businesses along with much, much more.

A theme helps hold everything together, gives us direction and inspiration, flow and meaning, and – especially for me – focus and clarity.

Before I share some of the enlightening quotations I found, let me tell you how I make use of themes. First, picking a theme for a storytelling performance helps with choosing the stories to tell, the marketing of the program, and keeping on track. It works the same way with presentations, speeches and workshops. A great way to create an effective presentation is to pick a theme and use three strong examples of the theme in action.

And, many of you know and read my bi-weekly e-newsletter, Portfolio Potpourri, which always has a theme which it revolves around.

Of course, on the Internet, having popular themes for information products, like e-books, special reports, white papers, and articles helps with sales, search engine rankings, and traffic. Remember, that “content is still king.”

By now, you may be wondering how I use a theme for my life. Several years ago, one of the e-newsletters I subscribed to suggested that instead of making resolutions, we should set a theme for each year. The American photographer, Dorothea Lange, reminded me of it when she said, “Pick a theme and work it to exhaustion... the subject must be something you truly love or truly hate.” My theme for this year has been “remarkable” – being, writing, teaching, and health. Note: it still isn’t too late to pick a theme for the rest of the year!

Now, on to some great and interesting quotations:
  • The idea that we cause harm by doing what we perceive to be the right thing, that's another theme that interests me. Because most people don't intend to cause harm, they cause harm by doing the right thing - in their mind.” - Andrew McCarthy, American actor
  • Ultimately, your theme will find you. You don't have to go looking for it.” - Richard Russo, American novelist
  • I really don't have a theme when I start a sculpture. The rock guides me to the final sculpture. I think that is true for many creative sculpture artists.” - Jimmy Carl Black, American musician
  • I set about seeking a thread, a theme, a style, in the realm of legend. Something that might allow me to give free rein to my juvenile sense of romanticism and the beautiful image.” – Leni Riefenstahl, German director
  • I would say my theme has always been paradise lost, always the lost cause, the lost leader, the lost utopia.” Marguerite Young, American author
  • If there were only one truth, you couldn't paint a hundred canvases on the same theme.” - Pablo Picasso, Spanish artist

And, a few more I love:

  • If you look at music, you see theme, variation, you see symmetry, asymmetry, you see structure, and these are related to skills in the real world.” - Dave Van Ronk, American musician
  • A film is - or should be - more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what's behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later.” - Stanley Kubrick, American director
  • To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme. No great and enduring volume can ever be written on the flea, though many there be that have tried it.” - Herman Melville, American novelist
  • You can't tell any kind of a story without having some kind of a theme, something to say between the lines.” - Robert Wise, American producer
  • Even on the drum level, it's all about stating your theme, going back to certain things that need to be emphasized, not doing fills for the sake of doing fills.” - John Otto, American musician
  • Evil hiding among us is an ancient theme.” - John Carpenter, American director

How about you? Do you ever pick a theme for your day? It does help set the tone and path. I would love to hear your thoughts.