Ken Robinson is a British speaker, author, and education enthusiast. His talk discusses the stigmatisation behind creative mistakes and encourages changes to our educational systems. Ken Robinson touches on the hierarchy of education systems around the world and the pyramid of subject favourability- mathematics and languages being highly favoured, followed by humanities, leaving the arts at the bottom. Ken says, “by the time they get to be adults, most kids have lost that capacity [to come up with anything original]. They have become frightened of being wrong. We are educating people out of their creative capacities.”
The consequences of this current system are that there are talented and creative people whose skills haven’t been valued, and therefore doubt their abilities and give up on their creative capabilities. Ken talks about friend Gillian Lynne who, as a young child underperforming in school, was taken to see a doctor to address her lack of focus and inability to sit still. With some encouragement, she was sent to dance school where she was allowed the space to move and thrive in something that made sense to her. Since then, her most notable work has been for her choreography for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Cats’ and ‘Phantom of the Opera’. Ken Robinson concludes this by saying “somebody else might have put her on medication and told her to calm down.”
Think about the great success many more could achieve if given the space, opportunity, and validation for creative expression. An important talk to watch with an important lesson to take away.
Steve Jobs’ Commencement Speech at Stanford University addresses his upbringing, being a child of adoption and coming from a biological mother who refused to sign adoption papers until promised that Jobs’ would attend college. He speaks of his time in college and his journey that lead him to his success with Apple and Pixar.
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards.” Jobs touches on the effect dropping out had and the hindsight that he experienced many years after leaving. He encouraged trusting in something, be it your gut, destiny, life, karma, etc.
He shares his experiences with love, and loss, and the ups and downs of business which leads to the point of his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, of which he sadly passed away after a relapse in 2011, and his approach to everyday life. “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.” It’s a bittersweet talk, hearing a man who thought fearlessly, took risks, and thrived to succeed doing what he loved.
This talk demonstrates the fear that we all feel when it comes to business, creativity, life, and love. Steve Jobs led an innovative, bright, forward thinking world and encouraged the next generations to think the same way in spite of fear, holding on to a rich passion for life acknowledging that every day should be lived as if it were your last.
Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love and Big Magic uses this talk to discuss the fear that is often attached to creatives by other people. There’s a resounding doubt when you openly admit you’re a creative, especially when you express that from a young age. It comes with a lot of questions and a lot of people assuming you’re going to fail. Liz speaks of the emotional risks and vulnerability that come with the writing process, calling upon examples of other creatives that she’s had the pleasure of meeting like musician Tom Waits and poet Ruth Stone. The more intriguing side of the talk brings up the historical views on creativity in different cultures, where creativity was viewed as a kind of demon that would bring the ideas to you. This gave the creator some kind of protection over their work as, according to their views, they were not solely responsible for what was being created.
Honestly, this talk is one that should not be ignored. Liz Gilbert is an enlightening and inspiring author and human in general, and if you’re a creative or have a brain, you need to go listen to this talk.