Sir Ken Robinson is a legend in the fields of creativity, innovation and education. And while he gave this classic TED talk some time ago, it’s even more relevant now.
Why not apply some of what he says to your situation?
We Have No Idea What’s Going To Happen
Are you on your current path because you want security?
I know I was for years. But security is a mirage – because you have no idea what’s going to happen.
If you accept this, why not do that which scares you most? Because that’s often what will make you most happy.
We Are all Born with Tremendous Talents and We Are Educated Out of Them
It’s not your fault that your first thought when you get stuck is to ‘learn’ more or find out ‘how to’ do this and that. I do exactly the same.
It’s because we have been taught, some might even say indoctrinated, that one way of learning is good and that mistakes are bad.
Our endless quest for more information/tips/advice is both a safety blanket against making a mistakes (there’s that security rearing it’s ugly head again), and an excuse to avoid doing something.
It’s not that all learning is bad, but there are other equally effective ways of learning that don’t depend on someone telling you how to do it.
Let me give you an example that will make a lot of sense if you have children.
How do they learn to talk/walk/play/eat/behave when they are young? We don’t ‘teach’ them by telling them how to do it. But they still learn. How do they do that?
Our Education System was Created for the Industrial Age
The way you are conditioned to learn is often the very worst thing you can do if you want to be creative. Traditional top down education methods were devised to make you into a factory worker, not a creator.
This is one of the reasons I have such a problem with so many of the music and music production courses and ‘how to’ tutorials I see everywhere.
They do have their place, and I have no doubt that the people who create them have the very best of intentions.
But there is a reason that most of my clients who have gone on a course or who have become ‘how-to tutorial junkies’ haven’t finished anything in months (and sometimes years).
Intelligence is Diverse, Distinct and Dynamic
People are different. Different ways of learning work better for different people. But the way we are taught (and taught to learn) is the same.
The best way for any individual to achieve their potential is to find what their learning preferences are and work with them at their pace that keeps them challenged.
One to one attention, while not always practical, makes this possible.
Waste of Talent
This is the biggy.
I am now doing what I am doing because I’ve become aware of the huge and scandalous waste of talent that I see around me. And the way we are conditioned to teach and learn is making the situation worse.
It boils down to the fact that most of us have been taught what we can’t do, not what we can do.
Now I’m not arrogant enough to believe I can singlehandedly change this, but if I can help just one person use their talent, I will have done something useful.
Take Aways and To Dos
If what you are doing now is for reasons of security, think again.
You don’t have to give it up immediately, but what else can you do which will make you happy?
It might the thing you’re most scared of. But what exactly are you scared of? What’s the worst that could happen?
Is the way you are learning your craft helping or hindering you?
How much have you actually done in the past week, month or year? If the answer is solely “well I’ve learnt…”
Trust me, you’ll learn sooooo much more.
Find a mentor.
Not only will you get one on one attention from someone who is doing what you want to do, you’ll consciously and unconsciously model them, the way children do.
In my experience this method of learning is almost immediate and profound.
Start noticing what your preferences are.
Do you like learning by seeing, hearing or experiencing? Do you work best when you’re sitting down? Standing up? Moving?
Become aware of your preferences and adjusting your strategies to fit and you’ll work and learn more quickly and easily.
What CAN you do?
Have you discounted doing something just because someone told you (bear in mind that it might be you) that you can’t do it or you’re no good at it?
If you’ve got a secret desire to do something that you think you can’t, ask yourself why.
What’s your experience with learning your craft? How much has it helped or hindered you? Or do you prefer to just “do” and see what happens?
Please go ahead and share in the comments below…