Saturday, October 16, 2010

Blocking Facebook, is that how far we think?

“Think outside the box!” a statement that we hear all the time, yet sometimes people feel like, “Urghhhh, I can’t think of anything!” Creativity in all of its forms is pretty much neglected and DOOMED in our culture. Yes, that’s the unfortunate truth. We can all see it in the movies and the TV series that are taken from western productions. The name of the channel is taken from a popular TV program, the TV program name taken from the name of the movie and so it goes. Did we really come to the place and time where we only can imitate? To basically copy and paste? There is no room for brand new ideas anymore. If the Facebook is successful, then everyone automatically thinks why not create the “Middle Eastern Facebook” for “our” people to use and replace an already existing one so we can “control” it! Even better let’s just block it and not deal with it at all! It’s like we can’t think of something new! Unlike others who thought of creating Twitter as a new method of innovating communication that does not duplicate Facebook but has its own line. 

Despite the popular belief that creativity is only related to arts and music, creativity can be applied in every aspect of our lives. It can be in everything like science, sales, marketing, engineering or even climbing the stairs! We can notice poor creative thinking when it comes with dealings in our everyday lives too. If the kid is making noise playing with his toy, parents take the toy away instead of trying to resolve the issue in a more civilized creative way. If the kid didn’t do his homework, parents hit or ground him rather than trying to know why he didn’t do his homework. They don’t perceive that maybe he prefers fixing electronics, playing music or drawing than doing his literature homework. Maybe there is potential in the kid that we destroy by being irrational sometimes.

Why is that we copy ideas, books, education systems or business methods? Why can’t we think of something novel like those who created Google, Facebook, Twitter, iphone, electrical cars, biotechnology, or even clothing brands? We can’t even be creative in our sense of fashion. Still, we imitate the dressing style of the western civilizations. Of course it doesn’t have to be the all old fashioned or pharaonic outfits, but still we can create the essence of Egyptians in our cloth. Why can’t we have our own dressing identity like the Chinese or the Moroccans?

Whether we want to admit or not, we all know that our creativity is hindered since childhood. What makes it worse is that “school kills creativity” as as Ken Robinson believes [1] (A video is attached). I somehow agree with him seeing as we don’t work to develop and improve what we are passionate about, but rather what everybody else “thinks is the best for us”. It’s even far worse when we accept that fact!

Studies have shown that from that age of 5-7 the child’s creativity declines by 40%! Yes, 40% [2]. It starts when the formal education begins! How disappointing is it to find what supposed to prepare us for a better future is actually limiting our capabilities? It has been theorized that education has that negative effect on children because it emphasizes logical rather divergent thinking. Families start to expect conventional and straight behavior from their kids like getting straight A's or excelling in a sport (even if they don't like it). The kid is expected to behave in a certain way, a conventional one, a behavior that expects the kid to stop playing and exploring as much as he/she did before. Gone are the days when he/she had more space for freedom of expression the time before he/she went to school! Before joining school they were allowed to do mistakes because they are just kids! As we grow up, more and more is expected from us; criticism, the fear of failure, of doing mistakes, of not looking "good" or being humiliated stops us from exploring, trying, discovering and taking bigger risks.

If we become more knowledgeable about enhancing and stimulating creativity, we might be able to help save the next generations such as our kids or younger siblings from the creativity lock down.

Hmmm, but how about us? How about those of us who already went to school and graduated? Are our minds locked till the end of time or is there still hope to become CREATIVE, to think, to innovate and somehow bring the change in the society from within? Can we save this or this is the end of it?

Good news, there is still hope! Creativity is bond to us; it’s in our genes. Whether we choose to use it or not is a different story. However, since huge damage has been made through all of these years, we will need to work a bit to nurture it. Parents telling you, “You have to become a doctor!” “WHY didn’t you win the race?” “Stop playing! you are messing up the place!” “Be quiet!” or society telling you “You will never be able to do it!” has pretty much resulted in a lot of scars, loss of confidence and enthusiasm.

I know I know. You are not Einstein, Shakespeare or Picasso, but that’s just not yet. If you strive for a routine life knowing you will be doing the same thing for the rest of your life and okay with that fact, then well too bad; you are not using any of the creativity God gave you. Nonetheless, if you tend to strive for new goals, try new things, ask what if, teach in a new way or even try a new route to work every once in a while, then you are practicing your creativity. Creativity in action is what makes the difference; just thinking about it wouldn’t make a difference. Sometimes, expertise is essential for creativity to flourish. You won't just make a huge invention by just daydreaming; you need to be knowledgeable in science, physics or the field you wish to make the invention. It's even better when creativity is tied to a skill. If you like cooking, imagine how great of a chef you would be if you learned about all the recipes and cuisines in the world and even better if you improvise on them. Creating your own recipes! You might be one of the most popular chefs and open the most successful restaurant business!

Acting as a child is what brings the creativity within. Not fearing making a mistake, falling a few steps, not knowing the limits of our imagination and not caring if we are right, coloring with marks outside the lines and not striving for the “perfect” image.

By: Sherwette Mansour 

1.     Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity talk: (Oct. 2010)
2.      Kerka, Sandra. (1999). Creativity in Adulthood. ERIC Digest. No.204.

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Mohammed said...

That's one of your best Articles :)

Sherwette Mansour said...

Glad you liked it :)

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