Innovative Thinking – Innovation At Five – Blog 20

Celebrate Your Internal Child

Recently a group of 2nd graders was asked if they considered themselves “creative” 90% of the kids said yes, they felt they were creative.  A group of high school students was asked if they felt they were creative and only 5% considered themselves creative.  What happens to us?  How do we all go from being creative to not?

Let’s go back to where you were as a child.  Not the location, but where your head was at.  What did you love to do as a child?  What was your favorite pass time?

Tell me!  Seriously, tell me!

Write down some activities you really enjoyed as a child.  Try to remember how you felt when you did them.  Who did you do it with?  How did you feel when you were doing it.

Here’s what happened to your creativity.

It was taken away by your parents, grandparents, teachers, pastors, priests, nuns, reverends, rabbis, and other ‘authority” figures in your life.  People you trusted.

Our guardians believed if we conformed and did what everyone was expected to do, we’d be more successful.  Don’t chew gum, stand in a straight line, no talking, follow the person in front of you, sit upright in your chair, and don’t question authority.  It was this last one that got me kicked out of Catholic School in the second week of the fourth grade.  And, probably all the other too.

Our parents thought if we paid attention and did what everyone else did, we wouldn’t get in trouble, teachers would like us, we would get a better education and graduate.  They further believed if we “straighten up and fly right”, we would fit in better and get a better job, get along with our bosses, make more money and overall have a happier life.  All those rules about killed me!

I questioned everything and didn’t accept “Because I told you so!”, or “That’s just the way it is!”  I always wanted to know why and I still do!  You need to as well.  Never take anything for granted.  Never go with the status quo.  If you want to be more creative, you first have to give yourself permission to think differently than everyone else.

This might sound easy, but it difficult to accomplish.  We, humans, are herd animals.  We find safety and comfort in the herd.  We are not comfortable standing out, be different, or be made fun of.  But…  If you want to stand out and be outstanding, then you have to make a conscious effort.

You have to allow yourself to be different, think different, act different, and this is difficult.  If you practice this, you’ll find eventually it becomes fun!  My 6 grandkids call me Papa-Monkeyhead for a reason.

I got (and keep that title) because I am not like the other grandparents.  I have fun with the kids.  I challenge them and encourage them to break the rules, question everything, and do things their own way.  And, when I get them in that frame of mind…  I give them back to their parents.

These actions are two-fold.  I allow the kids to get-out-of-box, think differently, be more creative.  It also allows me to get even with my kids for being brats when they were younger.  Oh yeah, be sure to add an ample amount of sugar to this mix.

Lon Safko
Serial Innovator, Keynote Speaker, Trainer, Innovative Thinking

Tags: innovative thinking, creative, creative thinking, Innovation, critical thinking definition, innovation definition, critical thinking skills, creative process

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