I’m not going to ask you what creativity is. I’m not sure that it can even be defined. Maybe it’s something about humans that humans can’t explain.
But I could ask you what the attributes of a creative person are. How would you answer?
You might answer that a creative person:
Notices things (is observant) Asks a lot of questions (is curious) Isn’t afraid of failing and trying again
Has flexible boundaries Doesn’t mind being silly Is playful
If I asked you to bark, would you bark?
Go ahead, then, bark!
When I was in kindergarten, the teachers forced me to pray to Jesus.
But I was Jewish.
They forced me to write with my right hand.
But I was left-handed.
I didn’t deserve to graduate kindergarten, and in a sense I never did.
I learned four life lessons at the age of five:
A That I will always be different, a mis-fish. I will never fit in.
B That the teachers are in charge; but
C That you can’t trust authority blindly; and
D That no matter how old and grownup I got, I would always have to protect the young child in me.
I grew up juggling being obedient, and being disobedient (challenging authority).
Trying to grow up, while protecting my inner child.
Trying to fit in, knowing that I probably never would.
What if I told you that there is only one really important thing that you really learn in school.
What would that be?
Perhaps obedience, cleanliness, doing your homework, being polite, sharing, although these are important.
These are all fine, but there is only one answer.
The one really important thing that you learn in school is….
That every question has a right answer!!!!
Did you get it? Did you get the right answer? No?
Then you failed my test!!
But seriously, most of us go through school getting the right answer. 2+2=4. That answer gets us from first grade into second grade.
3/4 divided by 5/8 equals 24/20 which equals 6/5. That gets us from fifth grade into sixth grade. Getting the right answer is all you need. You don’t need to know HOW you get the right answer. Just what the right answer is.
That is how you got through high school, SAT, and what you are now doing in college.
You’ve grown up, you’re an adult, you’ve finished college and are trying to get a good job. But it’s hard to get a job when you are like all your fellow students. You’ve spent your whole life learning to be just like everyone else. You know all the right answers, but being successful in life is not just about
solving the problem at hand
getting the right answer
solving the riddle
finding the solution
doing the experiment
building the chair
answering the brief
It’s more about
asking the right question
having an idea
inventing the riddle
identifying the problem
making the observation
formulating the hypothesis
coming up with the brief.
Remember the previous page? A creative person
Notices things (is observant)
Asks a lot of questions
Isn’t afraid of failing and trying again
Has flexible boundaries
Makes unanticipated connections between things and draws unanticipated conclusions
I would say that a creative person isn’t afraid of ‘barking’ (doing something silly). Are you afraid to bark?
Who have we just described?
A kid in kindergarten, that’s who!
And schools teach us to get rid of all those childish thoughts. They teach us to become passive, uncreative, regurgitators, problem solvers, not inventors.
To succeed in life, then you need to be childish enough to ask questions, and adult enough to answer them. Even if they appear silly. Especially if they appear silly.
That’s because almost all creative ideas appear silly at first.
Creative people juggle their child and adult thinking processes.
Can you? Can you bark?