As babies, we learn everything by getting to know our surroundings. We listen, we touch, we taste, we smell and we watch. Then we start pushing ourselves to try out something new every minute, every hour and every day. We are restless and never stop, we keep trying over and over again. Our nature is to be curious and imaginative, and at the same time we are very sensitive. As babies we cry, we are loud, we laugh and we get mad… and as adults we are always trying hard to hide these feelings, as if it was a bad thing.
As we grow, we distract ourselves from our surroundings with the so-called entertainment industry, we spent endless hours watching TV, sports, movies, social networks, etc… without paying attention to our surroundings and all the incredible things about it. And do not get me wrong, it is OK to do all these things as long as you also spent time to look around, meet real people, reading, writing and trying out new things.
It is human nature to be curious and creative, and yet we as a society always find ways to make sure we teach our kids not to try new things in the name of good behavior and uniformity, this is wrong. We teach our kids that using a pen with colorful ink at school is wrong, we teach our kids that drawing an elephant with the unnatural shape and using different colors is wrong… and yet we ask ourselves why creativity and innovation is so hard to find these days… I wonder why.
As kids we try hard to learn what we want, we don’t see anything as impossible, our mind is full of adventure and our imagination is at a maximum at all times… until we start going to school and between some teachers and parents we start to hear that all those things we think and believe in are not possible, we hear that to be a good person we need to be reasonable, that we need to think realistically and put our feet on the floor, we are told we need to be realistic… why?!
A while ago one of my sons who is now 10 years old came to me with a Lego car he had built using pieces from different Lego models including a brand new set I had bought for him just hours ago… my first reaction was to get upset because he had not followed the instructions in the Lego manual, I remember telling him that what he did was not right. How could he have mixed all these pieces to create something that was not in a Lego manual? I was completely blind to the fact that my son was doing what kids do, using his imagination to create something, without following any rules or instructions, just creating something that he liked. He was being creative. I soon realized my mistake, apologized and suggested him to continue building this car anyway he wanted, I told him how much I liked the idea of him creating something with Legos that did not look nothing like the models from which these pieces came from. He smiled.
In most schools our kids are taught to follow directions and to memorize things… they get used to an environment where uniformity is the rule and any sign of creativity is usually seemed as disruptive and it is discouraged rapidly.
That needs to change.
While at home, let kids use their imagination, let them be creative and try not to formalize the way they learn or interact, it is not easy but it is worth trying to offer them a better chance at not loosing their creativity and imagination as they transition into adulthood.
This is something you can also try achieving at work, everybody talks about innovation and creativity, and at the same time most companies don’t have an open mind about new services, products or internal procedures… innovation is something that can only be achieved by taking some risks and accepting change. It is very discouraging to work in environments where everything and everybody looks and acts in the same way or very similar. A place where showing personality and individualism is not allowed or it is discouraged by Human Resources departments usually in the name of wanting to have a “professional” environment.
Be different, be creative, be you. You are not a Robot.