Tips & Tricks

Rebel with a Cause

Continuing on with the theme of creativity is important and it is needed since we are so conditioned otherwise. Think about it, we are very creative when we were little. We had finger painting and wild stories of imaginary heroes and heroines overcoming villains that were larger than life. A pillow case becomes a cape and we are jumping on the bed pretending to fly. One friend of mine went out a 2nd story window on more than one occasion! Our Mom and Dad became stick people and lived in houses that were architecturally unsound but were magnificent works of art for a 5 year old. Stick drawings of our sister had purple hair and green skin! This was raw unbridled creativity at its best. Our minds were free to wander and wonder. So what happened?

We all know, we went from K through 12 and learned we had to become adults and follow systems. Systems of government, Social order, Mathematical, Language and Scientific systems. Free thought was encouraged just as long as it was along the lines directed and you stayed within constraints. Our creative nature is bound up hog tied and put in a box. You see creativity has an element of rebellion to it and that cannot be tolerated. Something that is not in the status quo is considered well a bit weird, nuts or disobedient. All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once they grow up.  In the world of modern art there was one rebel I saw recently and wanted to share with you Pablo Picasso was a rebel and he changed how we looked at art forever. Come with me for a few moments and watch the old rebel create on glass, it is mesmerizing: It will be interesting to see what you think about this short video, the man and his art. It was interesting to watch how he took simple lines and used them to create an image. His expression and demeanor through the process was intriguing to me, of course the music helped too! He was definitely a game changer and his Nude, Green Leaves and Bust painting went at auction not too long ago for $106.5 million reputedly the highest priced painting sold at auction ever, all because he broke the rules!

So what led to his success and influence? The attitude that he would live as long as he could create leads us to believe that he had really found his passion in art. But it seems he was trying to get back to something he felt he had lost when he said, “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” He was it seems constantly fighting constraints imposed on him and continued this throughout his life.. I found it interesting to learn he was a son of an artist who was an art teacher and Picasso attended 1 year of Art College but dropped out and went his own way. “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it” shows he was always challenging himself to explore new things and the constraints of Art School proved too much. In art all sorts of options exist but when you are composing an e-course for proper crankshaft mounting techniques or how to handle upset customers being creative can be a bit more challenging than painting on glass. Or can it? Granted, crankshaft installation has some set rules but is how we teach it limited by that? I don’t think so! We can use various images to relate the content and develop a game with say small people doing the assembly work similar to the Egyptians building the Pyramids. Our how about a scenario like the movie “Meet Dave” where small aliens operated Eddy Murphy, we could have our own Eddy operated by Alien Mechanics. That is weird, but why not? If the student learns all the steps and they are engaged and maybe entertained it gets the point across. And let’s face it, it’s not boring! We may want to avoid having a Picassoesque crankshaft being installed since it may not be physically possible. The point is let go and create something different and if it engages you and those on your team it just may engage your learning audience and create a memorable and beneficial learning experience with something that sticks with them. And when they are 56 years old and installing a crankshaft they may just smile and remember those small Alien mechanics. For me, I remember the physics lesson on inertia from running two girls on skateboards into each other and that was a long time ago, believe me but it is a very fond memory but more important, a lesson have never forgotten.

Picasso stretched and pushed convention out of the way and created art we will never forget. We and I speak for Zenler now will never shake the world like Picasso did, but we all can follow Picasso’s lead and at least attempt things we cannot do and in doing learn. Being creative or creativity has several elements to it but what I see is passion, desire, rebellion, childishness or child likeness, and maybe a bit of insanity and the willingness to risk going to these areas verses just following the pattern. I’ll end with a short story, a mother and her daughter were cooking a ham for the holidays and as the mother cut the tip of the ham off and threw it away. Her daughter asked her why and her mom told her that her mother had done this. The young daughter persisted with why; you know how kids can be. So she called her mom and asked the question and she said that that is how her mother baked a ham. So they all called great grandma and asked her and she told them she did so because it was too big for the baking pan she had!

So sometimes we hold to the status quo and don’t even know why! Thank goodness there are Picassos who come along who challenge and inspire us to look at things differently and who have the tenacity to go against convention and break, heck throw out the rules and in doing so show us how liberating being creative can be.

About the author

Tom Burton