Monday, February 14, 2005

"What's the right answer?"

It does narrow your choices down, doesn't it? So, there's only once choice... or is there?

There is a study that demonstrates that children under the age of six years old use over 90% of their creativity. And shortly after the age of six years old, these same children use approximately 6% of their creativity. The difference? They were told over and over again, "What's the right answer?"

It is amazing how quickly the modern form of education has a way of tailoring and restricting our thinking down to a very narrow venue of possibilities. Roger von Oech, author of the creative book A Whack On The Side Of The Head, has pinpointed what he feels are ten common phrases that tend to lock up a person's creativity. The first one on the list? Finding ourselves asking the question, "What is the right answer?"

Bear in mind, my friend, we're not talking about answers that address mathematical equations or physical science. We are talking about answers that address sheer possibilities - ideas and concepts that haven't been thought of or there has been no stock put into those ideas or concepts. The same ideas and concepts that birthed the phonograph, the telephone, the rocket, the heart transplant, and the Declaration of Independence. Up to the point of these births and so many others, most individuals were looking for a singular collective answer to the question. But creativity knows no bounds - that is the powerful aspect of its energy.

So don't give into the answer. Offer several "right" answers in your life and in your situations. Don't give up one more percentage of your creativity so you can be like everyone else. It is your very creativity that allows you to be so much different from all the others.

And what of the other nine phrases pinpointed by Roger von Oech, in his book? See how many times you have heard or said these phrases:

  • "That's not logical."
  • "Follow the rules."
  • "Be practical."
  • "Avoid ambiguity."
  • "To err is wrong."
  • "Play is frivolous."
  • "That's not my area."
  • "Don't be foolish."
  • "I'm not creative."

Dare to be creative - that seems to be the right and only answer, my friend.

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