Do your children have time to develop creativity?

Published by Lori Pickert on July 30, 2012 at 09:24 AM


To put it simply, innovation isn’t rewarded in schools. Instead, it’s often punished. — Conformity Strangles Creativity

To be playful with ideas, you have to have enough time to have them, explore them, and combine them in new ways.

Riffing and trying new things require time.

If you only bake twice a year, you’re probably not going to experiment by throwing in a handful of craisins or a cup of sour cream just to see what happens. Because you bake so seldom, your tolerance for risk (for ruining your batch of cookies, say) is very low.

You don’t have the opportunity to experiment enough to develop a sense of what will probably work. You can’t take failures in stride because they factor so heavily compared to your total amount of baking. One failure means half your baking this year was wasted.

If you bake all the time, these problems disappear. Your failures aren’t statistically significant. You’ll just bake something else in a few days. You’re more confident because you have more experience — with success and with failure.

You have time to develop an instinct about flavors, about how things work together, about what usually works and what’s more of a crazy let’s-just-see-what-happens. Linus Pauling said, “The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.” When you have more time to have ideas, you have more good ideas.

If you have enough opportunity to practice, you can roll with your failures or not-clear-winners — your successes outweigh your failures. And your skill improves steadily over time: both your foundational skill and your skill for experimenting and trying new things.

If you want to be good at something, if you want to develop talent for a thing, you need to do that thing as much as possible.

You’re not just developing your ability to be creative — you’re developing your tolerance for creativity. You’re creating a larger allowance for innovation.

If we want to help our children develop confidence in their own ideas, we have to help them by lowering the stakes so they’ll feel free to experiment. “When people hold back from taking risks, they miss opportunities.” Do your children have enough time to develop creativity? Without it, they won’t have the same opportunities.


Do less stuff

Published by Lori Pickert on July 28, 2012 at 03:31 PM

This will be anathema to the multitudes who worship at the altars of Motivation and its close relation, Productivity. Indeed, when I meet with ambitious young entrepreneurs, I am invariably asked, “How can I get more done in fewer hours? What can I do to jump-start my creativity? How can I keep my edge?”

Here are the three answers I can offer: 1. You can’t. 2. Stop trying so hard — if it feels like work, something’s wrong. 3. Do less stuff. — How to Get Creative: Stop Trying