A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.
– Ayan Rand
To some of us this advice seems useless as telling a dolphin to try land locomotion, for which this is an ability it has lost during years of evolution from a four legged creature. Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time we were all at the age of creativity. We were all toddlers enthused to explore and check out our abundant well of ideas in order to learn about the world around us and within us.
Our world valuates innovation
But then we got to school, and were told: ‘This is no place for play. This is a place for serious learning’. Learning driven by curiosity in playful ways became something to be ashamed of. Academic studying promised work to support us as adults. However times have changed. Our world valuates innovation. I’ve listened to many conversations with Nobel Prize laureates. Many said they have reached their creative breakthroughs only because they have allowed themselves to play with problems that caught them. Children that have been raised focusing on academic achievements, while their creative sides have been ignored, become excellent professionals.
But they are not those to innovate and develop. I sometimes wonder about that. With all the children raised that way, do you have an idea how much progress is denied from our world? Let’s return to the dolphin. What drove it to sail the seas, after years of clinging to the ground? Was it a sense that an opportunity is being given up on?
Evolution has been a creative process
This is a personification of course. But it seems as if the world simply can’t stand in one place. Evolution has been a creative process. It is about trying out new ways. What turns out wrong gets quickly forgotten. What is sustained becomes part of creation. Animals and plants have kept on developing. Some became extinct, but others ripened into a fascinating diversity. Today man is interfering in this slow process, causing great damage. Are we meddling in the growth of individuals by education, preventing their self-creation, as well? The information era has produced many opportunities for everyone to unveil their creativity becoming fulfilled and happy.
The Age of Creativity
However we are still teaching kids that it is wrong to interfere during class by asking original questions and raising insights. We lower their confidence to live from their hearts, while appraising learning by heart. This is contradictory indeed, since there is no heart in such learning. No wonder adults, which are expected to innovate at work and in problem solving in their personal lives find it very difficult. If we would revitalize our creativity, building on those fossilized bones from our age of creativity, and if we’d not make kids go through the stifling, then the Information Age will become The Age of Creativity. Raising kids we should enrich and fascinate about the world, let it incubate, acknowledge their creative thoughts, respond, and direct them to experience and learn more, supporting their maturation with love.
Observe kids 2-4 years old
In time they will flourish. But in order to raise creative thinkers, we need to become creativity role models. That doesn’t have to happen before we start cultivating creativity. You’ll soon see raising creative kids reciprocates with becoming creative ourselves. Observe kids 2-4 years old. Even better, play with your/your niece’s kids, or the grandchildren. Have you ever seen an adult playing with such young spirits, allowing him/herself to smile and get curious, shining with ideas and loving checking them out? It is OK to be like that. Such a shame people connect being creative with being ridiculous. If you see kids playing in a ridiculous way, rest assure they have learned it from an adult. Innate child play is a serious world discovery mission of exploring and experimenting creative ideas.
Being creative as a way of life means finding the humor in things, being bright and ready to live life. It means you were born a unique individual with gifts only you possess. Those are your assets by birth. In fact, you were born rich. Develop this core within you, and you’ll shine with creative products only you can make. This doesn’t necessarily mean embarking on a journey of self discovery.
Those assets could be:
- a quickness to understand and implement
- a noble ability to notice, observe and conclude
- a talent of recounting those impressions to other people in new ways
- a flexibility to accept people and situations as they are
- a tendency to show people new perspectives
Identify those traits within you and develop them, and you’ll be creative just where you are. Most likely those assets have been criticized by educators, having caused interferences in class. In that case, either they have been stifled or they have been magnified into negative behaviors that are getting in your way. Mold these qualities, observe how other people use them positively and effectively, refine them, and set them free serving as vehicles for bringing your creative side to life. You may ask yourself: ‘what has all that to do with being creative?
Creativity is coming up with something new.
- Accepting life as it is and being flexible spares us a lot of energy to direct towards innovating.
- Being perceptive helps us see things in new perspectives.
- Seeing things from other point of views is thinking new thoughts.
- Humor also reflects fresh creative thinking.
- Recounting those fresh views to people, and deepening into understanding them, one makes new products.
However, today there is an addition to the definition of creativity: The novelty has to be useful. That is where those kids who have been quick to grasp and implement fit in. They are the ones to delve into new ideas. They simply can’t hold themselves from pursuing. They are dolphins ready to make mistakes until they make it work.
Losing this entrepreneurial drive, since it comes in the way of school life, is a pity. The race for grades stirs up competition. That’s the way to raise sharks that in the real world will be beat trying to beat their pears, instead of exceeding themselves. Remember that toddler on the quest to creatively discover the world – he/she was intrinsically motivated, thus unstoppable and charismatic, nurturing on an abundant well of energy. Education should encourage that. That is the way to raise dolphins.
The teacher is the one to ask the questions on course to moving on with the material, whereas students should ask their own questions setting their course to meaningful learning. That’s raising kids equipped with 21st century skills: lifelong learners collaborating with colleagues to meet challenges. That’s raising us as original role models facilitating ingeniousness.
Remember Flipper from the 70s TV series?
How he beautifully sorted things out coming out of the blue?! Flap your flippers and break through. On the flip side of this journey you’ll find the true you!