Be Real Creative

Using Creativity to Connect, Empower, & Inspire in the 21st Century

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What Else Are We Turning a Blind-Eye To?

We need to look at ourselves. What have we been willing to accept, out of fear, helplessness, a sense that things can’t be changed? What else are we turning a blind eye to, in all aspects of our lives? What else have we accepted that, somewhere within us, we know is deeply unacceptable? And what now will we do about it?

— Sarah Polley, Sarah Polley says Harvey Weinstein said a ‘close relationship’ with him would help her career because ‘that’s how it works’

Clarity of Present Reality

What the fuck is even going on at most companies?

This is the reality for most people.

Any discussion of where we could go has to begin by acknowledging how presently eff’ed we are in a lot of companies.

Rediscovering Work, Rediscovering Masculinity

Few things are considered more manly than providing for and protecting your family. So it’s no wonder that so many men in developed countries are in a crisis, with technology cited as the reason for rising populism and discontent.

— Technology is taking jobs away from men—and reviving a pre-industrial version of masculinity

For many of us growing up as kids, the image of our fathers coming home from work each day is still ingrained in our minds. It created a sense of security and stability in our lives.

Today though, that’s been all tossed out the window, as the idea of going to work for a company for most of your life is pretty much a dream now, let alone finding a decent job from year to year. Because of the uncertainty of the times we’re in, with a deep sense of scarcity relating to jobs, many men are feeling extremely inadequate in meeting this traditional role which in turn often shatters their sense of identity.

But it doesn’t have to be this way because it hasn’t always been this way. Many of us believe that the idea of jobs existed since time began but it’s not true, as it’s a fairly recent social innovation arising from the Industrial Age. And just as these changes are hard upon us today, so too were they difficult at that time as well, often requiring education to get the masses to conform to this new way.

Mokyr, whose forthcoming book, A Culture of Growth , describes the industrial revolution’s intellectual origins, explains that factory work was traumatic for men because it required showing up at a particular time, staying a full day, and taking orders from another man. Men frequently had such a hard time giving up their autonomy and dealing with a boss that factories originally employed women and children because they were more docile.

A generation of men lost work and many never found another job. Traditional artisans couldn’t deal with factory work and there were fewer jobs because machines were more productive. It was a messy transition that played out over more than 100 years and sparked Marxism. Factory owners took proactive steps to make it work. They set up schools for children and made education available to the masses. But their intention was not to increase literacy. The schools existed largely to condition the next generation to work a full day and take orders.

So just as we need to unlearn work, so too do we need to unlearn they way we have been learnt as well, thus transforming the way we learn and work in the process. By doing so, we can step forward into the future now, finding newer ways of working and newer forms of organization that will help us get there.

Harvard’s Larry Katz foresees a return to artisanal employment for the middle class, where good jobs combine technology and interpersonal skills to deliver specialized, high-quality services. Mokyr anticipates future work will be more entrepreneurial, too. It may be common to hold multiple jobs and telecommute a few days a week. He predicts time will be less scheduled and workers will have more autonomy, though they’ll also face more risk and less job security.

New technology may not be the end of men; it may just hasten a return to a pre-industrial version of masculinity, of sorts.

Humans are now accustomed to stability and higher living standards. To ease the transition, we need new institutions and a better safety net for the generation caught in the transition. And most importantly, we need an education system that does what employers once did. In the 19th century, employers trained workers for the new economy and set up schools. They replaced the apprenticeships that existed before factories. Today’s employers tend not to offer much training; they avoid investing in workers who might leave them.

If you’re interested in reading more on the history of the idea of a “job” as a social innovation and how the future will be jobless, yet still with tons of work, I highly recommend reading JobShift by William Bridges. He’s a visionary who predicted a lot of the changes we’re seeing today back in the 1990’s.

Breaking the Mold on Education

“Goldman Sachs has made an effort to hire beyond Ivy League schools, finding that a ‘top quality’ education didn’t really provide top quality job candidates. Some companies such as Deloitte no longer require college degrees at all—even for professional positions.”

What If High School Were More Like Kindergarten?

Learning based upon engaged curiosity is definitely the way to go, as it fosters intrinsic motivation which leads to discovering your passion and purpose in life. Yet at the same time, there’s a fine line here. One needs to avoid the “gold star” approach whereby everything created by the child is deemed amazing, even though it could be a piece of junk.

In effect, the child needs to learn how to experience and even embrace failure, so that it can be recognized as a valuable learning experience rather than seen as something to be avoided. With an ever increasing changing world, we need individuals and organizations who can sit comfortably within uncertainty, no matter how excruciatingly uncomfortable it may be.

Our Evolving Narrative

“A person’s life story is an internalized and evolving narrative of the self that reconstructs the past and imagines the future in such a way as to provide life with some sense of meaning and purpose. The story provides a subjective account, told to others and to the self, of how I came to be the person I am becoming.”

— Dan McAdams, Do Humans Inherit or Create Their Personalities?

Understanding Creativity

Understanding what creativity is only gives us a limited, singular perspective or dimension of it. To truly begin to grasp creativity as a whole, we need to go beyond the what of it and also understand the how and why of it as well.

What is creativity?

Creativity is “a phenomenon whereby something new and somehow valuable is formed.”

How does the process of creativity work?

The process of creativity cannot simply be understood logically but instead needs to be understood paradoxically. In effect, creativity is not this or that but often this and that, two or more seemingly opposing things. (Creative tension. Gap. Bridge. Old / new. Destruction / creation. Outside / inside. Divergence / Convergence. Analysis / Synthesis.) (Multitude. Multiple perspectives. Virtually walk around.)

Why do we need creativity?

Creativity allows us to change and adapt to the changing world around us. We do this by transitioning ourselves through this change and transforming ourselves in the process. In effect, we become the product, the social innovation, of applying creativity to our very selves. In doing so, we reframe our perspective of ourselves and of the world around us (known as our “world view”), thus allowing us to see and think in a whole new and valuable way. Paradoxically by letting go of who we’ve been conditionally told to think we are, we become more of who we truly are. 

The Fragmented Self

“All of this indicates that man has sensed always that wholeness or integrity is an absolute necessity to make life worth living. Yet, over the ages, he has generally lived in fragmentation.”

— David Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order

Americans think robots will steal jobs, but not theirs

The Los Angeles Times has an article entitled Americans think robots will steal jobs, but not theirs by Jena McGregor that talks about how most Americans don’t think robotic advancements will affect their jobs personally.

“After years of hearing about the coming robot boom, most Americans believe that the threat of automation in the workforce is real.”

“But when it comes to their own positions, they’re not so worried. A much larger share — 80% — expect their occupations to exist five decades from now. ‘There’s a real disconnect between what people think will happen in the abstract and the extent to which they think it will impact them,’ says Aaron Smith, Pew’s associate director of research.”

In dealing with how to transition through change, denial in dealing with the ending of something is the first stage of the process. Often times it’s not so much that people aren’t aware of the changes taking place but rather that they block out and deny the existence of these changes thus making them invisible to them, even though they could be right under their very noses.

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