Mindset and Creativity

Ask a group of 5-year-old kids who among them can draw and everybody will raise their hands. As the same kids grow older, I’m pretty sure and I’m sure you will agree––fewer and fewer hands will be raised. The sad thing is, as they learn more and more, they become less and less creative.

Preschool kid raise arm up to answer teacher question on whiteboard in classroom,Kindergarten education concept

Imagine this for instance: out of 20 children, only 2 of them saw their drawings posted in the class bulletin board. Because of this, the rest were convinced that they are not good in drawing. Later in life, they will have only one answer, that they cannot draw.

We will understand this more clearly if we know what is happening inside our brain. In school, we were always taught that there’s only one answer to a problem or a question, and that those who get the right answers are the ones who get rewarded. These sets of questions and answers are then stored in our brain, and when asked a question, we draw from the library of answers we grew up knowing. We tend to think inside a box where we are safe. We begin to shun discovery which can be risky and unfamiliar.

classroom reward

Scientists have identified neurons or pathways inside the mass of grey matter called the brain. When confronted with the same problem or question, these neurons are activated to generate an answer. These neurons are very much like canals where water passes through, and water cannot pass any other way unless new canals are formed. Thoughts pass through these neurons and they follow established patterns like a programmed computer. For example, when our mind says, “been there, done that”, it ceases to function and resists looking for new solutions.

Jesus never repeated the same miracle. In the old testament, God never did the same thing. We tend to gravitate to old, tried and tested solutions. The familiar becomes the path of least resistance, the go-to answer we constantly and mindlessly reach for.

As time goes by, the world evolves, and so do our problems. They do not stay the same. Imagine for instance if we treat our teenage kids the same way we did when they were little children. We all know that won’t work, and we’d have deeply sheltered or troubled children!

Food for thought: while God does new things all the time, we think of Him as somebody just like us, who draws solutions from a library of answers. We miss out on the miracles because we expect him to do the same thing over and over again. We tend to look at God as religion. We put Him inside a box. Relationships tend to weaken, and not to mention become boring, when everything becomes boxed.  To know God is to discover.

Innovation is just as important as customers are to a business. Times change and with it, demands from these customers increase as more and more products flow into the market. Creativity is important to innovation. We have to take a critical look at solutions that worked before and analyze them, because it is likely that we cannot expect those same solutions to work tomorrow.

innovation and creativity

We have been told that if we do not work, we will not eat. If asked the question, “Why do we work?”, it is always for survival. That comes from our “library of answers”. We were told to study hard so that we will not go hungry. We forget that the reason why God placed us on earth is for us to manage his creation and rule over them, which sounds like way more than just surviving. To get out of that mentality, we have to put God at the center instead of money.

Creativity is important to God. He is the Creator. He made us in His image and likeness to fulfill His purpose for us, to be His managers here on earth. Adam and Eve fell because of their disobedience, but Jesus paid the price to bring us back to His image and likeness.

As innovators, we have to be like children. Unlike adults, children do not draw from a library of answers but instead, they discover. They look at the world with a lens wherein everything is new, the possibilities are endless. That may be the reason why Jesus said we have to be like children to enter the kingdom of God.

Creative people are willing to make mistakes. They take the path of discovery. Non-creatives are not willing to try, as fear grips them when they move out of the box. They would rather draw answers from their box of knowledge or copy than try discovering new things.

We are God’s stewards on earth and we can only fulfill what He asked if we stay connected to Him. When we abide in Him, discovery becomes a way of life. It becomes easier to discover than adhere to the usual, traditional answers. All things become possible with faith.

“If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Mark 9:23