Creativ!ty on the Ides of March

“Beware the ides of March.” In this case, though, the ides of March brought no foreboding to Julius Caesar, but a hopeful foreshadowing of “warning” about what we need more of in schools (my direct and personal  interpretation and application). And the triumvirate in this case is – openness, process, and persistence. What in tarnation am I talking about? On March 15, I enjoyed the privilege of being a TEDxAtlanta: Creativ!ty attendee! If you are not familiar with TEDx events, I encourage you to get familiar. This was my third live TEDx event, and I tune in regularly to live streams from other TEDx venues. The events at TEDxAtlanta just keep getting better and better! Here is an outline of the Tuesday’s TEDxAtlanta: Creativ!ty (with some added hyperlinks for further exploration)…

12:00 PM — 12:25 PM

Session 1
12:25 PM — 2:30 PM
TEDx: Opening Video
India.Arie & Idan Raichel: Open Door
Tod Martin: Welcome
Victoria Rowell: The Mentor
Bonnie Cramond: To the Different Ones
Michael Ouweleen: The Day I Became Funny
Sally Hogshead: How to Fascinate
Q&A with speakers

Session 2
3:00 PM — 5:00 PM
Margaret Baldwin: The Power of Dialogue
Elizabeth Turk: The Construction of Emotion
Armin Vit: Think Stupid
Viktor Venson: No Right Brain Left Behind
Q&A with speakers
Linton Hopkins: Creativity vs. Chaos

If you are a Twitter user, you can review the tweets from the event by searching the hashtag: #Creativity2011. And videos by Definition 6, capturing the speakers and their messages, will be posted to ASAP. They are ALL worth the watch.

In fact, while each TEDx talk was remarkable in its own individual right, the “magic” of a TEDxAtlanta event, and I imagine the magic of other TEDx and TED events, is the interconnectedness of the talks. Magic because the talks are not coordinated in a prior fashion – beyond being of a common topic, in this case “Creativ!ty.” Throughout the day, the ideas of openness, process, and persistence echoed louder and louder for me. Many of the speakers touched on or focused on the importance of being open to ideas and diversity of perspective. What one person labels as “weird” or “strange” can just be a mis-label for creativity (see also Sir Ken Robinson’s The Element). Yet the connotations of the labels are vastly different. We need to be cautious, skeptical in fact, of placing labels on people. We are complex creatures with the potential for a rich diversity of thought and being. We should nurture that diversity of thinking and shun the human tendency to place people in boxes of “strangeness.”

All of the speakers were woven together by the thread of process. FAILURE is expected…a good thing even. Stupid ideas should be pursued, bad jokes should be made, poor writing should fill our pages and pixels. For out of experimentation comes progress and development. Prototyping creates the opportunity for buds of ideas to become blossoms of great possibility. We have to fall down to learn to walk. We have to get bruised and scraped to learn to ride a bike. We have to talk gibberish to learn to talk. But we will learn, if we concentrate on the process of getting better…of practicing…of persisting.

Persistence is required for creativity. We are ALL creative. We were born creative. However, many of us lose sight of this fact when we let others label us as weird or strange. Others lose sight of this when we think that drawing or painting or writing is a God-given talent alone. That which we practice, we improve upon. That’s the key to creativity. Staying open to ideas and saying YES to possibility rather than NO to crazy-sounding stuff…valuing the process as the art – even more so than the finished product or results…and persisting through failure, which is simply a name for early and consistent attempts at improvement.

On Tuesday, TEDxAtlanta: Creativ!ty was a FORUM for THE GROWTH MINDSET! Want to be creative? Commit to and develop a growth mindset. That’s it in a nutshell. Like most things, creativity is about learning, much more so than about already being. It’s about learning!

A few more Mindset resources:

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