Blind acceptance is the mortal enemy of creative thought.
I see it all the time in my day job. “Because that’s the way we’ve always done it,” may possibly be the most irksome, wrong-headed statement ever uttered in a business environment. It’s like saying, “I vote [insert political party] because us Johnsons have always voted [aforementioned party].” Adhering to any program or tradition or business plan exclusively for the sake of continuity is a slippery slope to stagnation.
My friend, fellow blogger, and brain guru Dennis Ritchie says that our noggins are hard-wired to default to “successful” experience. When we fall asleep each night, our brain kicks into gear, sorting and sifting through the day’s experiences and placing memories into their proper file folders. Things that are new, different, and out of the ordinary are viewed with suspicion and set aside in a file marked “Danger! Revisit at a later time,” while safe, every day, known experiences are placed in the bulging “Use again tomorrow” folder. It’s from this folder that we subconsciously draw our thinking “instructions” the following day because this information got us successfully through the previous day. Life and limb are secure, which is the prime human directive.
Creativity happens when we consciously set aside the “Use again tomorrow” file in favor of the “Danger! Revisit” file. Creativity is a result of a change, not sameness.
Who are the most curious group of people you know? Children, of course. Why do pumpkins have guts? Where are we going after school? Who invented the first curse word? Why do dogs have cold noses? The questions are endless. If you are blessed to be a parent, you know this from experience.
Somewhere along the way, though, we lose much of our inquisitive nature. During the formal education process, we are faced with an endless barrage of knowns — formulas, diagrams, statistics, studies — that suck the curiosity right out of us with a big ol’ smoothie straw. The late author and cultural critic Neil Postman said it best: “Kids enter school as question marks and leave as periods.”
The remedy is easy and fun. Ask questions like a 7-year-old. Drive your boss and co-workers crazy. Why can’t we do it this way? Why have we always done it that way? What would happen if we did this? How would it look if we turned that around and did just the opposite?
Fight your natural urge to be a conservative, upstanding, sensible, logical, boring adult who always chooses the known route, and lead yourself off the beaten trail. Explore rabbit holes to see where they lead.
Become a question mark again.
Here are more ways to become a part of The Good Men Project community:
Request to join our private Facebook Group for Writers—it’s like our virtual newsroom where you connect with editors and other writers about issues and ideas.
Click here to become a Premium Member of The Good Men Project Community. Have access to these benefits:
- Get access to an exclusive “Members Only” Group on Facebook
- Join our Social Interest Groups—weekly calls about topics of interest in today’s world
- View the website with no ads
- Get free access to classes, workshops, and exclusive events
- Be invited to an exclusive weekly “Call with the Publisher” with other Premium Members
- Commenting badge.
Are you stuck on what to write? Sign up for our Writing Prompts emails, you’ll get ideas directly from our editors every Monday and Thursday. If you already have a final draft, then click below to send your post through our submission system.
If you are already working with an editor at GMP, please be sure to name that person. If you are not currently working with a GMP editor, one will be assigned to you.
Are you a first-time contributor to The Good Men Project? Submit here:
Have you contributed before and have a Submittable account? Use our Quick Submit link here:
Do you have previously published work that you would like to syndicate on The Good Men Project? Click here:
Join our exclusive weekly “Call with the Publisher” — where community members are encouraged to discuss the issues of the week, get story ideas, meet other members and get known for their ideas? To get the call-in information, either join as a member or wait until you get a post published with us. Here are some examples of what we talk about on the calls.
Want to learn practical skills about how to be a better Writer, Editor or Platform Builder? Want to be a Rising Star in Media? Want to learn how to Create Social Change? We have classes in all of those areas.
While you’re at it, get connected with our social media:
However, you engage with The Good Men Project—you can help lead this conversation about the changing roles of men in the 21st century. Join us!
We have pioneered the largest worldwide conversation about what it means to be a good man in the 21st century. Your support of our work is inspiring and invaluable.
Originally published on Doofus Dad