I love Hugh McLeod ‘s musings on how to be creative – I come back to it every few months to check my sanity. Rather than point out my favourite sections, I recommend you find fifteen minutes and read it all in one sitting.

On creativity and education, this TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson struck a deep chord with me. Again I recommend that you find twenty minutes to view it in full, but if pressed for time watch at least these sections:

5:30 – 6:30? Creativity is the willingness to make mistakes
11:15 ->? How our education system discourages creativity
15:00 ->? Epiphanies – how Gillian Lynne discovered her talent.

I can very much relate to Gillian’s story. Not in the sense of claiming to have a world-class talent hidden within me (here ‘s hoping), but in the sense of being a non-standard pupil & employee who has from time to time provided unwelcome challenges to lecturers, former employers and family members.

Over the last few years I’ve worked most of it out, aided significantly by the Myers-Briggs framework (I’m an ENTP). One of my key abilities is to connect disparate ideas to form new ideas or solutions, and the requisite input to this is new ideas. Give me new information, ideas, concepts, situations & challenges and I will enthusiastically absorb this information for instant reuse in new situations. I do this more rapidly and comprehensively than anyone I know.

Put me, however, in a mundane environment and my ability to connect ideas will transport my mind elsewhere, leading to intense frustration, failure to complete mundane tasks and subsequent complications for myself and others relying upon me. I cope less well with mundane environments than anyone I know.

Armed with this knowledge I now know:

  • what types of projects light my fire,
  • which situations to avoid or work around, and
  • to ignore well-intentioned but misinformed advice to persist in mundane environments.

Perhaps Gillian’s story resonates with you as well – I encourage you to overcome the weight of others’ expectations to learn what truly drives your passion. You won’t regret it.