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Unblocking creativity

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Have you ever stopped to watch TED talks? A showcase of the world’s most brilliant thinkers, stretching our minds in never before thought of ways. It’s well worth the time.

I was watching Sir Ken Robinson the other day talking about education. He’s an expert on creativity and he challenges the way we educate our children. The way that most of our schools focus on the analytical subjects like maths and science as the holy grail while devaluing the creative such as art and music. And he made the observation that our education system is designed to mine our minds. All the good stuff stripped away just like you strip a mine of its gold. A terrifying thought. But take a child at a young age, contain them for hours on end, teach them what you want to teach them, repeat it over and over until they know it by rote, test them on it and voila! You’ve implanted a particular way of thinking. And all the good stuff, the natural urge to play, to explore and to create has been stripped away. You’ve created one perfect drone.

And here’s the rub. When you can get a child to think in a particular way, let’s call it a mindset, you block creativity. Because they can only see things the way they have been taught. There’s nothing else on their radar. But creativity is essential to life. It drives everything. It is the source of everything. Take invention. It’s difficult to invent something you haven’t first imagined. And while some people hold up scientific research as the be all and end all, they don’t stop to think that it’s actually creativity that drives the science. After all, you’ve got to have an idea worth researching in the first place. Just look around and you will see the power of creativity at work.

When we’re locked into a particular mindset – about money, about relationships, about our health, about the way we raise our kids, about anything in life – we literally can’t see any other way. Which means we can’t create something new.

So if you want something new in your life, challenge your mindset. Challenge the way you think. Challenge the beliefs you have that have probably been drilled into you by somebody else with another agenda anyway. The good news is that with the right training, those rigid, limiting mindsets can be overcome.

What’s (not) on your radar?

What will you challenge?