I think this goes back to what we value, and artistic talent is definitely low on the list. Piano lessons have been replaced with soccer and karate, and while these things have their own value, I think it’s clear that society has relegated some higher cognitive functions and personality traits to a lower place than they should have. Specifically, there are three things that I believe could make us better people and, in turn, make the world a better place, if only we would appreciate their value as more than useless dreaming or wishful thinking. These traits are:
- Creativity. I wonder how much stagnation and co-dependence goes back to a lack of creative thinking. We talk about “thinking outside of the box,” but reality is that there’s very little value in this. Think about it: when was the last time you complimented somebody for being creative? It was probably a child who stepped out in their learning journey, and that’s my point. Somewhere in the middle school years, we shift focus from creativity to practicality, and that shift teaches people that this is a trait tied to childhood that needs to be outgrown, unless you go into a profession where artistic creation is valued (and those professions are typically looked down upon). What’s more, the adult world talks about stepping out of the box, but smacks people back in it if they aren’t high enough on the chain to have attained the right to actually do so. And failure or bad ideas are often so harshly criticized that there’s no room for growth through experimentation and good old fashioned “try again.” This is a shame, because we really limit ourselves by cutting off creativity. Think of the fullness of life you could have if you had the courage to step out and do things on your own. I think we’d see better relationships and much more accomplishment at all levels if we valued creativity more.
- Determination. We laude it when it results in big, unbelievable results, but nobody’s patted me on the back and given me an “atta girl!” over persevering through this week with a sinus infection and strong antibiotics. Not to be refused with stubbornness (insistence on getting your way), the value on determination is directly correlated with big, successful results. Ironically, this is directly contradictory to the results we seek, because big things are made up of the smaller stuff. How can somebody have the perseverance to press on through big things if they can’t handle a cold, bad traffic, or a rearranged schedule? We really should put more value on showing determination in the small stuff, especially in matters where it involves rebounding from failure and trying again. You have no idea how much failure it takes to get to success sometimes – hense, the saying about failing your way to success.
- Spunkiness. When we adopted Bubbles, we were her third home in six months. It didn’t take long to realize why: this bird was into everything! I can see why that spunky little lady was hard for people without prior experience with birds to handle. In fact, she stretched my mind in many ways (and continues to do so), but I find it refreshing because I can identify with it. And if people have that little patience with it in animals, then kick start some creativity and imagine how much patience they have with it in people. Answer: none. Here again, high energy and curiosity are valued in children, but we work hard to work it out of them as they age in an effort to “help them mature.” While maturity is important, I think high energy and curiosity can equip people to handle the many ways that the world (and other people) try to put us down. It can help you see possibilities, rise from failure with new wisdom, and propel you into new possibilities. And truthfully, there’s usually a method to the madness behind spunkiness – but much like dealing with ambiverts, it usually requires more work and insight than most people are willing to put into a relationship. They shake their head, call it “interesting,” and move on – until that creativity, determination, and spunk lead to a breakthrough, and then scratch their head and say “how did they do that?”
They fail their way to success by living to different values than the cautious box that society tries to put us in. I think we could be a lot closer to the people we want to be and the world we say we want if we took an honest look at our own values, and made some choices on living them. In fact, if you really look at successful people, I think you’ll see that they have, value, and use these traits to their fullest. We admire the results, but aren’t so crazy about what it takes to get them. And this is a simple decision: can you stand alone and be true, or are you in bondage to mediocrity?
That’s all today. Take care. If you’re in the path of Hurricane Irma, please prepare and take proper precautions. Have a Happy Friday tomorrow and a wonderful weekend.