Saturday, June 27, 2009

Unlearning What You Have Learned

Interrupting the A18: Neighborhoods Posts for another comment about creativity.

One of my favorite long distance mentors, Yoda, said, "You must unlearn what you have learned." That's the theme of this great TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson about how school has educated us out of our creativity (thanks for the link, Dave!).

He said, "If you are not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original" and that our school systems are organized around eliminating wrongness. Wrong isn't good or a virtue, but when we are petrified of it, we cease to take risks and we no longer discover anything new. Picasso said that all children are born artists; the challenge is to remain an artist as we grow up.

How can we ensure we remain artists? How can we take calculated risks and find ways to make meaningful and productive mistakes? How can we create opportunities for trial and error, for learning from failure, for approaching everything as an experiment? I want to live with a mindset that the greatest risk is to take no risk at all.


At 4:15 PM, OpenID agoolsby said...

Such a great reminder, especially for someone like me who wants to be creative and blaze new paths - but often gets somewhat paralyzed with regret when things don't go well. Learning from failure instead of fearing it is such a valuable thing!

At 12:42 AM, Anonymous Steve said...

I wonder if "calculating" the risk might be part of the problem?? (or maybe I should say "over-calculating." Don't think there's anything wrong with calculations, but God is a God who is above the statistics!! When He calls us, He calls us to live in faith (which means we've gotta live above the stats too.)

By the way, I love the idea that children are born artists. (They're born "in His image" and He is "Creator.")

At 9:23 AM, Blogger Mentoring Women In Ministry said...

Heather, such a great thought. I have been challenged recently by that very thought...too often the church gets so use to "doing things the way they have always been done" we do not allow the creativity to flow. This causes the church to become complacent and stagnant and lose their ability to reach generations that need Christ. Thanks for reminding us to "unlearn what we have learned." Blessings!

At 2:01 PM, Anonymous Ben Reed said...

Great thoughts, Heather. I often thought that as I was going through seminary. I feel like I was rewarded for parroting back the answer they wanted me to say...not for thinking on my own. I understand the need for orthodox theology, but I also see great value in thinking for ourselves, and thinking outside of the box.

Thanks for this post.


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