Chapter 13 Creativity and learningStage a creative coup

Remember that teacher? The one with no true vision who insisted that you made the sky blue every damned time? Or that singing teacher who told you that you had a ‘unique’ voice and suggested you were better suited to athletics? Most of us have a person like that living in our memory somewhere. Someone who, through their words or lack of support and validation, scarred our childlike creativity.

The kindergarten teachers of the world who, instead of talking about ‘Cathy’s’ enthusiasm during finger-painting sessions and her bubbly personality, wrote in her school report, ‘Cathy has tried hard and improvement is evident in her work. But she must continue to work hard if she is to succeed in Year 1.’

Shit like that has a lot to answer for. Because that fear of creativity — that belief that you can’t do something well enough — is seriously holding you back, both in terms of happiness and productivity. That nagging voice in your head that told you creativity just wasn’t for you (and was a bit of a waste of time) is doing you no favours.

But here’s a secret: whoever that person was, whatever they said, they were wrong. How do I know that? Because you’re still alive and reading this book. That means on a day-to-day basis you make spontaneous and creative decisions that keep you breathing. Or, in the words of Ursula K Le Guin, ...

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