October 26, 2016

Special Kind of Creativity (Part II)...

Remember this guy??

We talked about him last time. He is none other than Rodney Mullen, one of the greatest skateboarders of all times.

I promised last time I would talk more about him so here you go...

Last time I linked a video by Rodney Mullen called Pop and Ollie and Innovate and used it to help discuss creativity.

Well...here's another one, Getting Back Up. Seems like a fitting video for a skateboarder but I believe it is also related to many other topics, including education.

Take a few minutes, watch the video, it is worth it.

Well...what did you think?

Let me tell you how I think it relates to "our" world.

Community...there is that word again. In my experience, when I see the same words/phrases/ideas over and over, I tend to pay attention to them. Community is important.

All skateboarders speak a common language. They take pride in communities. Skaters take small movements, rearrange them and then create more complex movements and then...they name them. Then all of sudden, everyone is using that name to describe the move. But guess what happens next? Someone adds another complex move and then it becomes something different...it adapts. And then, the community adopts...it is cyclical.

Here is an interesting question. Why is it, you can get a group/community of moderately talented (Mullen's description) individuals to start producing extraordinary things?

You know why?? 

Rodney Mullen says..."They don't know they can't do it." They are not told it is impossible, they are not told or encouraged to give up when they fail. Their community encourages them to build on each other...and then share and not worry about failing.

For every trick that gets named, for every awe-inspiring jump there are many, many times of failing, falling, crashing etc. But...they get back up.

Mullen says that everything about the skaters tells them to STOP (pain, frustration, lack of support) but for whatever reason, they keep going.

I think it has to do with their community.

Mullen also mentions that the biggest obstacle to creativity is breaking through the barrier of disbelief. If a skater does not know it is impossible, then their drive is to complete the trick no matter how many times it takes. They become intrinsically motivated.

If people can see success, see it being done, then they too can start to complete the seemingly impossible tasks.

How does this relate to "us?"

What do skaters share in common with educators?

1. Encourage, Encourage, Encourage - It's ok to fail, fall, crash...as long as you continue to try.
2. Model - show how you have fallen and gotten back up, make it relevant, give them options.
3. Don't let too much thinking get in the way - sometimes too thinking can stop you in your tracks.
4. Eliminate the disbelief...if someone doesn't know that it cannot be done, then they will not question their ability to get it done.
5. Encourage and build your community - We do not have to agree on everything, but we do need to speak a common language. Focusing on 1-4 will only help with the community building process.

Last but definitely not least...

Whatever you do...

If you fall down...

If you see someone fall down...

The first step is to Get Up!


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