Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014
This article ends with quote which I find quite wonderful: To live creatively is a choice. You must make a commitment to your own mind and the possibility that you will not be accepted. You have to let go of satisfying people, often even yourself.
In her article Inside the Box. People don’t actually like creativity, author Jessica Olien makes the strong argument that even people working in highly creative environments are not given the opportunity to fully realize their potential. Very often the most out of the box ideas are rejected and replaced with moderately creative ideas that have proven successful in the past. Olien posits that creativity is really only allowed if it fits into the conceptual framework of your boss, manager, teacher or organization etc…
Her article draws on several examples of creative people stumped by institutions and academic studies which help underscore her point. Olien says that “unfortunately, the place where our first creative ideas go to die is the place that should be most open to them—school.
Studies show that teachers overwhelmingly discriminate against creative students, favoring their satisfier classmates who more readily follow directions and do what they’re told.”
When I was in elementary school I had such an incident in my second grade art class. We were instructed to make these trees and then paint them in the appropriate colours, denoted by the teacher. Apparently, I came home crying the next day because all the trees were hanging up on the wall, except mine. When my mother inquired, the teacher replied “ Your daughter did not follow the instructions properly. Instead of painting the tree brown and green hers was multi-colour, therefor I could not hang it up”.
That said, the article further points out that this type of creative discrimination has shown to make the individual much more individual and resistant. The study shows that if you have the “sneaking suspicion you might not belong, the act of being rejected confirms your interpretation. The effect can liberate creative people from the need to fit in and allow them to pursue their interests.”
This clearly happened to me, as I am now a free thinking musician and artist and continue to not follow rules. 🙂
Do any of you have moments like this one you would like to share?