Take away the fear of “getting it wrong” for a moment. If you were as carefree as a child who had been fully encouraged to be themselves – spontaneous, adventurous, and developing their natural gifts – what would you be doing differently right now?
I’m excited. Three extraordinary characters motivated me to ask and answer that question for myself. If you’ve not seen Sir Ken Robinson’s Technology, Entertainment, and Design (TED) talk about how schools kill creativity, schedule a half hour now and watch it. It’s a funny, poignant, close-cutting spin on how children are naturally creative, how they’ll have a go, and how our educational system has sent creative subjects such as dance, drama, art, and music to the bottom of the list of desirable subjects.
Sir Ken passionately makes a case for how devastating that choice is for many individuals and for a future that is, at best, uncertain. Children are educated with an eye toward safe jobs and retirement, yet how do we know what the world will look like in five years’ time, let alone 65 years’ time?
Who can know what the future holds? Wouldn’t it be of greater value to be nurturing, nourishing, and cultivating people who are inspired and making their difference in the world in accordance with their gifts?
Today, children who need to move in order to think are often medicated for ADHD. Gillian Lynne, who choreographed Cats, Phantom of the Opera, and Miss Saigon for Andrew Lloyd Webber, escaped such a fate. In the 1930s, when she could not sit still at school, she was fortunate to have been recognized for her individual talents. Gillian was placed in a ballet school rather than on medication. How many children are we condemning to a life disconnected from their natural abilities – closed down by a system that fosters the opposite of creative excellence?
It had been a while since a speaker moved me to laugh and cry all in the space of nineteen minutes. Sir Ken’s TED talk is a wonderful example of riveting, pithy speakership with sublime use of humor. That’s another excellent reason for making time for this gem.
If Peter Gabriel had been afraid to get it wrong, would he be the outstanding musician and performer he is today? Inspiration sometimes comes from unexpected places. For an outstanding experience of a performer whose impressive career epitomizes how talent, developed, can become genius, relax to Peter Gabriel’s fabulous Down To Earth. Finding this song was an unexpected pleasure for my family. We’d rented Wall· E, a Disney movie, for our daughter. It turned out to be brilliant, tender, and definitely my favorite movie in a long time. And Down To Earth is on the Wall· E soundtrack.
Peter Gabriel is an important figure in my heritage. The memory of his chilling, beautiful song, Biko, brings tears to my eyes. I can see his 1986 Amnesty International performance as clearly as if he were right here in my study. The cause was close to home and heart; Port Elizabeth, where Steve Biko died, is just an hour from where I was at university.
Peter Gabriel is more magnificent now than he ever was. His voice is rich, deep, and mature. He demonstrates an impressive range and ease in his musical and stage artistry that I find magnetic. If Peter Gabriel were afraid to stand for who he is, would we even know his name? He backed himself, and he backs causes he’s passionate about. Then there’s his conscience and consciousness.
Our limits cap our success in all areas.
I listened to an interview on Conscious Entrepreneurship with Gay Hendricks, whose gentle wisdom I respect and admire. Of the many points I loved about what he had to say, two things stayed with me. The first is a controversial comment he made about having met more spiritual people in the boardroom among executives than in religious institutions. The other is about how personal growth is so crucial to the growth of a business.
Hendricks talks about how education and society don’t, as a rule, encourage individuals to excel beyond imposed barriers. If you want to know how to break through your upper limits, read Hendricks’s The Big Leap. I’m finding it fascinating, and seeing positive changes already!
The themes I’m taking into my week, for which I’m grateful to Sir Ken Robinson, Peter Gabriel, and Gay Hendricks, are:
- Freedom of expression
- Freedom to stand for who I am
- Freedom to break through my upper limits and have a go
I’ll apply each with the intention of making each space I enter and every conversation I have better for my having contributed.
Have a great week!