This Article is About
defensive posture
human imagination
negative thinking
school experience
thought processes
body language
eye contact
Harness Your Creativity - And Fly
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Harness Your Creativity  -  And Fly

Before you read the main article here, try this puzzle. There is only one solution and you will find it towards the end.

The puzzle: take six match sticks and arrange them to make four equilateral triangles (equilateral meaning sides of equal length).

There's a possibility you've already come across this challenge on your travels, but if not, give yourself a fair chance at solving it - it's a pretty good indicator of how your creative thought processes work.

So what is this 'creativity' that we are all hoping to harness? I have encountered many who maintain they completely lack creativity. Poor souls, locked in a miasma of limitation and negative thinking, they overlook the very attribute which makes them human: Imagination. It is ever-present, underpinning all human problem-solving activities. At its simplest, it takes creativity to get dressed, apply makeup, plan the day, cook a meal (however simple), make a safe environment, formulate a strategy for escaping discomfort or danger, use language and, of course, write. Creativity is being human - a human being is creativity - no escape: we have the gene!

Why, then, do so many people live with the conviction they lack creativity? In so doing, they often find themselves in a drab unhappy, unfulfilled life, unable to accept their own special talents which lie forever dormant, undiscovered, uncultivated. Why do people (and there are many!) choose drudgery, running with the herd instead of stepping out to dance with their own individual beauty? There's the rub!

As a facilitator of personal development training in industry, I witnessed, many times, the body language of (adult) delegates as they entered the classroom on the first day of a course. It was easy to tell who had had a negative school experience. Defensive posture, arms crossed, no eye contact, lairy arrogance, resentment - all told of oppression in school. Presented with a repeat scenario, they revealed all the relevant psychological baggage. The body never lies!

My first task, always, was to create a comfortable, safe environment in which they wanted to be. They needed to be convinced that they were not prisoners to a cause, if they wanted to stay, they could. (Nobody ever left, so I never had to face irate managers with budgetary concerns!!) The second important move was to point out that standing at the front and directing proceedings did not make me the font of all knowledge - I expected to learn something precious from each of them (and usually did). The process had to be participatory, two-way, give-and-take - that is the learning contract which values everyone. A game, then, successfully released the Inner Children and we were away! Imagination, no matter the age, is ever youthful. It waits to be tapped. Learning can't happen without it.

There are figures born of surveys which state that at five years of age about 95% of children have a positive view of their own ability to learn. By sixteen that figure is down to about10% - this an indictment of an education system which should be nurturing youngsters, but which educates the confidence out of them. They then go on to produce the next generation and the downward spiral is exacerbated - home and school, both, a negative backdrop to a life in which, whatever, one has to 'fit in', conform - head down, ask no questions. This is a very bleak view and we all know exceptional products of this background. People can break out in spectacular ways, undamaged. But so many do not.

Reminding ourselves that Imagination is an eternal flow without bounds, we owe it to ourselves to stretch at least just a little in everything we do. Present a meal artistically, take care with the colours we wear, 'think outside the envelope', contemplate the cosmos, paint the best picture we can, write the best poem - or article - we can. Never be satisfied with our second best effort - play with ideas and please don't accept the box society likes you to fit into. Break out - the sky's the limit! Every bridge, every aeroplane, every new idea and creative development started in someone's imagination - what's lurking in yours? Just because you couldn't paint the Cistine Chapel - and don't try, someone's done it already!! (you'll get big trouble if you go painting over it) - it doesn't mean your own talents are not jewels in themselves.

So what about your thinking, then? How about the puzzle?

Take three matches, lay them in a triangle, the remaining three should be stood, one at each corner, angled and held together at the top making a three-sided pyramid or tetrahedron.

If you sussed that: Well Done!! - go to the top of the class.

If you didn't, you are not alone! Most people try every two-dimensional permutation, convinced it's an impossible task - while denying themselves the possibilty of the third dimension. Limited thinking indeed!

Break out! reach for the stars and bring one back.

Dance your dance of being human.

The Force be with you.

Street Talk

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