[Note #1: So I’m thinking about giving away a free product for you . . . IF you’re potentially interested in really learning the ins and outs of the MacGyver Secret. It’s going to take some significant time to put together. But before I go crazy making this thing, I want to make sure you actually want it (so I don’t feel like an idiot). More details near the bottom of the article.][Note #2: In case you’re wondering, this post is a FOLLOW UP TO THIS POST which received dozens of comments from around the world! I try my best to respond to as many comments as possible, BTW].
The Story of How I Invented “The MacGyver Secret”
As most of you know, in the mid-80’s I created the TV series MacGyver (which has now been running continuously around the world for over 30 years now).
Which means that it was over 30 years ago when I first came up with the Secret that led to help creating MacGyver.
Even now I look back on that time with a kind of humbling awe that MacGyver would go on to become an international phenomenon and even end up as a verb in the Oxford English Dictionary…
But I digress . . .
How This Whole “MacGyver Secret” Thing Started I remember the EXACT moment I decided that I was going to follow MY gut on how to solve problems, fast.
It sounds so obvious now, but as anyone who’s ever faced serious problems with no obvious solutions knows, it’s easy to get lost in other people’s ideas (they always say they know best).
I was smart enough, creative enough and experienced enough. I was good enough.
The Moment When It All Began
The moment it all began occurred in the middle of a long stretch of brutally demanding writing assignments.
As a TV writer, they came to me when they had a problem to solve. Need a story in a day? Ask Lee. Need a rewrite in an hour? Ask Lee. Need a completely new show concept to start shooting on Monday? Ask Lee.
Anyway, I was running myself ragged and crazy keeping up with the demands. I was working 16, 18, sometimes 20 hours per day to keep up.
I had Started to Have Hallucinations From Sleep Deprivation . . . Really!
That was my moment . . . all alone at 2am, sitting at my writing desk, desperate to have another creative break.
I woke the next morning from my “nap” with a new directive.
I went against the norm at the time . . . and started trying a new creativity technique I’d been toying with for a few months.
Instead of sitting at my desk hammering away for hours on end, what if I did more of the things that seemed to produce creative breakthroughs.
It didn’t make much sense, but if I was having breakthroughs in the shower, maybe I should take more showers! If insights were coming when I was driving, maybe I should drive more!
I tweaked, I experimented, I still banged my head against my writing desk, but I was developing something new.
Scripts starting coming more easily. New concepts started to emerge more regularly.
I had the naysayers who would say, “why are you always leaving the office and coming back showered” or “what’s with this method you’re working on”, but I kept at it.
I remember a producer telling me “I don’t know what you’re doing, Lee, but it’s working.” And I put that thought in my back pocket.
I started to help other writers finish their scripts, and I was more productive than I’d ever been. AND, I was less stressed
Somewhere in between all this, I got a big assignment.
A big show had been cancelled and they needed a replacement fast. The producers panicked. The team of writers were stuck. And production was starting in one week.
I had no idea if it would work, but I thought, this new technique is my best shot. What if, instead of my usual stress crunch, I just write down my problem, go for a drive and take a shower.
That sounds crazy, right!?
At that time there was very little in the way of creativity “techniques” . . .
. . . we didn’t even have the internet or Google (I am dating myself now!).
There were a few books out there on creative problem solving. . . but nothing with the kind of out of the box techniques I was coming up with.
I tried to find someone to mentor me or supervise me or even to brainstorm with me.
But to no avail. There were no peers in my field to speak of or who were accessible.
I couldn’t find anyone who had any experience with an actual technique to solve problems.
There were no training programs . . .
. . . and the field of creative problem solving barely existed. So I ramped up my experimentation.
I taught myself, I used every skill I had developed, I tried new stuff all the time, and refined, refined, refined.
With each problem I solved, I grew and learned and modified.
I wasn’t sure if this was going to keep working, or I was suddenly just going to run out juice.
My passion (and flat-out obsession at times) for the topic and for producing great scripts and solving problems is what kept me going.
In The End, And After Some Work . . . All My Passion and Drive Worked . . And in a BIG Way.
When I finally put everything I knew together, and tried it in a crunch, with a HUGE opportunity on the table, the answer came.
And that’s how MacGyver, and the MacGyver Secret, were born.
Back when I started trying to figure out how to break through creative problems, I never dreamed I’d create a TV series known and watched by over 1 billion people. But never, in my wildest dreams, did I imagine that the technique I used to generate new story material would:
- Be used by executives at Google and Zappos to solve some of their hardest challenges
- Be taught to engineers at NASA to help them solve engineering problems
- Be validated in a study at the University of Michigan
- Or that entrepreneurs, inventors, school teachers and managers would start using it to solve problems in their daily lives
- Or that I would be invited to teach and share this technique all over the world by businesses and institutions of all kinds…
But In Addition To Being Humbled By The Impact I’ve had, I’ve Also Been Blessed to Have A Very Gratifying Creative Process (My Friends Call It Amazing . . . I Just Enjoy The Process).
For example, instead of toiling over problems, stressing out and pulling out my hair, I cook great meals, build furniture, and take long walks. Sometimes I build models, or play Sudoku. I never would have dreamed that I’d get out of the rat race, have better ideas, and be able to do it stress free (so I can be more available for my family, my partner, Dayna, and my life!).
So Here’s What I’m Coming To . . . Here’s What’s Being Demanded Of Me . . . And Here’s What I Feel Compelled To Do
Here’s the deal. The demand for serious problem solvers dramatically outweighs the supply. And with each passing day, I’m finding over and over again that people in every industry, in every field and in every corner of the earth have major problems they need help solving.
Creative problem solving is one of the highest demand (and highest paid) skills around, and it’s needed everywhere. From the boardroom to the bedroom, from politics to computer science and everything in between, the name of the game right now is: Solving Problems.
The time has come for a formal Problem Solving training that can literally help anyone in any field or any situation to solve any problem.
It’s time for the problem solving method I discovered to be available to everyone, everywhere. . .and I’m on a mission to empower people around the world and give them the ability to solve problems effortlessly, all day, every day.
In my heart of hearts, I know that the world is confronting some major problems, and that we need all the problem solvers we can get. I’ve wanted this for a long, long time. And this is way overdue.
I’m Thinking About Making A Free Resource Kit For You, IF You’re Interested In Learning How To Apply The MacGyver Secret To Whatever Problems You Face
I’ve been really humbled by the buzz surrounding my last blog post. There has been A LOT of interest in the problem solving training program that I’m POTENTIALLY developing.
But to test the waters . . . I’m thinking about making a value packed, 100% free “MacGyver Secret Training” for you.
IF you’re serious about solving the problems in your life.
Here is what the free “MacGyver Secret Training” will include:
- A recorded interview of my story with how I got started, my biggest breakthroughs, and the tips and tricks I’ve discovered along the way that make the BIGGEST difference.
- A set of exercises you can start using immediately to refine your own MacGyver Secret process.
- A list of the most useful resources I’ve found on the art and science of problem solving.
But Here’s The Catch
Because I’m a helpless perfectionist and will inevitably blog this thing way out of proportion and make it into a much bigger package than it needs to be (or you even want) . . . . . . I want to get a list of everyone who is interested in upping their game and having this free “Problem Solving Kit.”
- So Here’s What I Want You To Do
I’m making a list of everyone potentially interested in getting my free resource kit AND getting in at the start of all this. Anyway, if you’re interested, then: (1) enter your email address below, and if I end up making it I’ll send it to you at the email address you list below (leaving a comment with any suggestions on what you’d like get from the kit would also help).
If enough people get on this “interest list” (I’m thinking 500 or more) then I’ll make this free thing and send it to EVERYONE on the interest list. If no one wants the free “Problem Solving Resource Kit” then no worries.