in Business, Creativity, Marketing, Motivation, Music, Philosophy, Psychology, Science

Conformity vs. Creativity – What School Rewards & What The World Values

“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” — Albert Einstein

It’s quite clear that there’s a disconnect between what the world values and what schools reward.

While it’s easy to harp on the educational system, there are a couple of different sides to this issue.

Schools still operate on an old model created in the 19th century. Its purpose was to provide skills appropriate for the industrial age.

Far too often schools teach and reward us for having the “right ideas” rather than teaching us how to find and develop ideas ourselves.

It’s kind of like the difference between asking Google and actual people.

Let’s say you see a painting of a beautiful red/pink flower at a garage sale. So, you take a picture of it.

With Google/Google image search you find the most common and relevant answers. It rewards you for having the “right” search query, instead of exposing you to as many different options/ideas as possible. There might for example be countless suggestions for different types of roses.

Perhaps somewhere on page 24 you’ll find the answer, but are you really going to sift through all those results?

By asking people and showing them the picture you’ll still get a buttload of suggestions, perhaps someone will give you a list of all the red/pink flowers in existence, and then someone will say:

“Yeah, no wonder you couldn’t easily find it on Google. It’s probably a ‘Middlemist Red’, there’s like 2 of them in the world.”

You Google “Middlemist Red” and find it to be exactly the one you were searching for.

This time the system rewards you.

Middlemist Red

Here, have a pretty flower. You’ve earned it!

We’re still working our way out of that mindset. The good news is that there are people developing alternative ways to educate people that’s adapted to the reality we live in today.

Seth Godin and Adam Grant have a few ideas that you might find useful or interesting.

However, since the number of schools that still use the old model still vastly outnumber the new, it’s going to take some time for that shift to happen.

Plenty of skills we learn from the “old school” are still valuable, so we shouldn’t wholly discount them. But what needs to happen for now is that those of us who’ve gone through it and didn’t develop our creative habits, need to do so.

Sure, we can bitch and moan about how unfair it is, but that won’t change anything.

Take some time to mourn and then start working towards developing your skills.

There are countless courses and coaches that can accelerate your development. If you haven’t got the money then you’ll have to invest your time.

To be perfectly honest, most of the things courses and coaches, like myself, have to teach are freely available online. The difference is that you get it tailored to your specific needs.

Check out these videos, they’ll give you some tools to get started.


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Have a kick-ass ₢eative day!

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