Enroute to the 2010 Christa Mcauliffe Technology Conference in Manchester, New Hampshire, I read Anthony DeCurtis’ article “Rock n Roll Yogi” in the November 2010 issue of Delta Sky magazine. In the article, Anthony quotes Sting as saying:
I don’t think that anything that doesn’t involve a risk is worth doing. There needs to be some element of danger, some element of me completely failing, for the thing to be worthwhile. When you succeed against that, it feels so much better. So I like being challenged. I like doing things that are difficult.
Sting is unquestionably a gifted and creative musical artist. It is interesting as well as instructive to learn how he views potential failure as well as challenges as essential ingredients to the way he lives his life. Creativity requires re-invention and constant renewal.
How are you finding ways today to re-create yourself and explore new boundaries? Those could be boundaries of creative expression or simply of experience. Novel inputs challenge our brains to accommodate and assimilate new ideas in new ways. While everyone does not seem to thrive on change or in the midst of change, I definitely think creative growth requires change. Whether or not we adopt positive attitudes in the face of change is a personal decision with far reaching consequences.
Do students in your class seem content with routine and normalcy? Traditional classrooms thrive on routines. Many people (adults as well as young people) are severely challenged when normal routines are disrupted, however. Despite this common preference for predictable patterns, life remains dynamic and full of change. We each need to develop and extend our personal capacities to adapt to change and thrive amidst uncertainties. We need to share at least a bit of the passion Sting has for new challenges, risk, and the potential for failure with our students and our own children.
Creativity requires the act of creating new things – Things which were once “merely” ideas, but thanks to our efforts now take physical form or are manifested visibly for others to experience with us.
Think about lessons from your own schooling background which you still remember vividly today. Were those lessons “routine and normal,” or were they extraordinary in some way? Were those memorable lessons “educational outliers?” Perhaps this week you can find a way to share that experience with others, and reflect on why it was memorable and/or significant.
I think we need more educational outliers. We should NOT encourage others to take unreasonable risks or face overwhelming challenges alone, but we definitely should explore together the vital roles risk, challenge and failure play in growth as well as creativity.
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