Feel free to blow my mind

This past semester, I started watching the American version of “House of Cards.” Watch it. If you haven’t seen it, or have only seen the BBC production, drop what you’re doing and hop on Netflix.

You won’t be disappointing, as I wasn’t when I came across a line that made my ears perk up.

It happened roughly here:

The Slugline offices in Washington, DC

For the sake of those you haven’t seen the show, I’ll try to avoid spoilers. But long story short, as Zoe Barnes (left) walks with the director of Slugline (right), Zoe gets told: “Feel free to blow my mind.”

Feel Free to Blow My Mind

Inspiration and motivation is so hard to come by these days. With everything becoming a game and with schools teaching students to create things according to a set of rules that are rigid to the point of ridicule, people are given less and less creative license.

That’s why this line is so significant.

One of the top pieces of marital and relationship advice given by relationship experts is one of space:

Recognize that your spouse is wired differently than you and, as a result, does things differently. That doesn’t make his or her way wrong; it’s just different than yours. Let your spouse do things his or her way. Walk away if you have to. —Lana Gates, Phoenix Marriage Examiner 

People do things differently, and those differences are a good thing. An oft-forgotten aspect of diversity is diversity of thought. Which is understandable, because that kind of diversity is harder to define.

The benefits, however, are immense.

Creative Liberty

A common issue for managers at all levels is a dependent workforce. Creating a team that relies on a manager’s input before taking any kind of action is no way to run a team, and can kill all momentum a team creates. From Forbes:

they make sure to ask permission before doing anything to avoid any negative consequences.

The thing is, they’ll have a hard time growing into independent, self-managing workers if they’re constantly asking permission—especially for day-to-day things that don’t require it.

Don’t stifle anyone’s creativity. Fan it.

Letting people figure things out for themselves lets them gain experience in thinking. College claim to teach critical thinking skills–and they do, but only in a certain setting. They don’t really teach how to apply those skills to other problems. Case in point: computers. NO ONE is bad at computers. They are bad at reading an error message and taking the time to research causes and solutions before attempting a recommended fix. The more we do this the more we know about fixing minor issues and the less we freak out whenever our computers don’t quite do what we want them to.

In some cases, it’s best to react. In many others, it’s best to think. Critical thinking skills need to develop without training wheels to be fully useful.

One of my goals is to start a scholarship fund–and instead of an essay portion I want to include a section that just says: “Make me something. We’ll deal with how to get it over to our offices later.” Along with contact info for questions of logistics arrangements. That’s it. No more directions.

Some people will struggle. They’ll call. They’ll ask for clarification. But there’s nothing to clarify. All I want is a thing. I want a thing made by the applicant in whatever style they choose or like. It can be a medium they are comfortable with or a medium they are trying for the first time. All I truly need is effort and creativity.

This can be difficult for students who have become so dependent on exact instructions and rubrics.

But the time has come to throw away that rubric.

We are humans. We’ve for the brains to handle whatever comes our way in whatever method we know how to deal with it.

So let’s go.

And in the process, blow each other’s minds.

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