Don’t conform, let your unique creativity shine through!

Change is good. It’s how we advance the world. But to create change we must dare to think differently from the current wisdom and think outside the box. So why do we teach conformity and stigmatize mistakes?

“If you are not prepared to be wrong you will never come up with anything original” – Sir Ken Robinson

While the world has evolved, the educational system has remained largely unchanged. We continue to teach our kids that if they study hard and follow the established rules they will find success. Despite that fact that each child has unique talents and abilities, we all send our kids to schools which by design require conformity and uniformity of thought.

In his 2006 TED Talk, creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson tells the story of Gillian Lynne the world-famous choreographer, which I believe is a good example in point. As a child, Gillian was underperforming in school and unable to focus and sit still.

Gillian was lucky that her hidden talent was discovered by a doctor and that her parents chose to nurture it rather than giving her Ritalin and telling her to calm down. Had that not been the case, Gillian might not have gone on to meet Andrew Lloyd Weber and choreograph some of the worlds best musicals including Cats.

Robinson asserts that “We are educating people out of their creativity” and goes on to tell us that “Creativity is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.”

Another case is from the life of Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, who dropped out of a more traditional college program giving him the freedom to enroll in a calligraphy class simply because it fascinated him. At the time it was hard to connect the dots but ten years later, as he was designing the first Macintosh computer it all came back to him. If he had never dropped in on that course, computers might never have had multiple typefaces and proportional fonts that we now all expect.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.”Steve Jobs

So if you feel that you are not already on the right path, don’t be afraid to choose to a new course. Be creative and most importantly, don’t let the discouragement of others hold you back.

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