December 16, 2013

Conformity and convention is over-rated

Sarah Green wrote in the HBR here
"Americans love to give lip service to creativity, celebrating imaginative artists and innovators and calling for "out of the box" ideas. Yet when we encounter creativity in real time -- before we know whether an unusual or outlandish idea will pay off -- we’re all too quick to reject it, argues Jessica Olien. She runs through a litany of evidence that becomes more and more depressing, but she comes to a surprisingly optimistic conclusion, thanks to research out of Cornell that shows being rejected leads creative people to conclude that conformity is overrated and thus liberates them from the need to fit in. True, this often doesn't lead to happiness -- but it does lead to more creativity. "To live creatively is a choice," Olien concludes. "You must make a commitment to your own mind and the possibility that you will not be accepted. You have to let go of satisfying people, often even yourself." I find those words oddly comforting. But maybe I'm just being creative."
My blog post on the Dilbert creator and my Dilbert moment here. Timothy Ferriss, prolific author, speaks in similar terms. As Tim Ferriss said in the Four Hour Work Week:
"The common sense rules of the real world are a fragile collection of socially reinforced illusions."
As I often say, Silicon Valley is less a place and more a mindset. That's why we need to think like Maria Popova and Matthew Syed here and Sir Ken Robinson here, and totally re-evaluate the educational experience and education's relationship with industry.

In a new world with a new and exciting economy, we need to think and act anew. If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got.

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