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You only have to listen.

March 2, 2006 - by Robert E. Stevens, GENESIS II(The Second Beginning) E-Mail:

One of the good things about growing old is that you will probably have the opportunity to learn from some of the greatest teachers in the science of creativity, our grandchildren. Creativity is something we seem to be born with but as we grow older, society imposes conformity on the way we do and think about things. As we mature to the ripe old age of 5 or 6, we begin the learning process of how things must be done and how we should think. I cannot argue with the concept of conformity of actions, it is only conformity of thought that gives me problems.  Creativity is a human trait. We only need to remove the self imposed barriers.


Recently, while talking with one of my eleven-year-old grandchildren, Tyler, visions of my early experiences with the Creative Problem Solving Institute, commonly called CPSI re-appeared. Dr. Sidney Parnes, CPSl leader, often said, "Let the child in you shine through." Last Saturday while discussing why days are shorter in the winter than they are in the summer, Tyler, did something that will forever remind me of the child within us. In the middle of our conversation he picked up the note pad from the end table and began to write. I asked him what he was writing. He said, "I'm writing down what my Inner Voice is saying." I looked at the page. He wrote down things he wanted to ask his science teacher and also things he wanted to look up on the internet. To me the unusual part of his statement was not the idea of recording his thoughts but how he referred to them, as his "Inner Voice."  How often do we hear our Inner Voice and ignore it? How often does our Inner Voice make suggestions and we don't take the time to consider them?  We usually will think about the idea and resolve to get back to the thought but fail to write it down so that when we have time we can give the idea some extra thought.


Some good advice comes from a line in an old song that goes something like this," If you survive to be a 105, think about all you will derive by being alive. You have a head start if you are among the very young at heart."



I recommend that a person always carry a small note pad reserved for "When I have time" thoughts. I keep a note pad next to my bed and also on the bar in my recreation room (actually my gym). Probably 90% of my Views are developed during my workouts. What else can you do during 50 minutes on the treadmill? I also recommend, if you have the time, investing a week attending the Creative Problem Solving Institute. And if you have children in grades 1 through 12, look into the program called Odyssey of the Mind. While school programs tend to inhibit creativity, this program is all about developing a creative mind.


Dr. Parnes tells the story of a young man who stated "You can make me cut my hair, but you cannot make me cut my ideas." In other words, conformity in behavior may sometimes be desirable or even necessary to creative life, but conformity in thinking is not.


Life is like cooking. It all depends on what you add and how you mix it. Sometimes you follow the recipe and at other times, you're creative.

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