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Nov 04, 2016 06:35 AM EDT

Creativity Is the Key to Progress But Are We Killing It?


Creativity is innate in all human beings. The reason why the world has progressed is because humans learned to create and innovate. However, it is surprising and alarming at the same time how the institution that's supposed to nurture creativity is actually the one suppressing and destroying it.

Creativity and imagination are at the very core of progress but it is a sad reality that there's not a lot of creative people around. It is worthy to note that not a lot of people are brave enough to unleash their creativity. Part of that fear can be blamed on the prevalent belief in Hollywood that artistic people are cut from a different cloth than the normal human being. It is further annihilated at schools where art is silently placed at the corner to give way to numeracy and literacy.

There is nothing wrong about teaching these disciplines but subconsciously, it subjects people to conform, to learn the artificial skill of passing an exam, and to deliver what the teacher expects. In the process, the freedom to explore, experiment, and taking risks is suppressed. Therefore, before students are made to step out into the real working world, they already have been successfully conditioned to conform. Then, workers spend their lives in meetings encouraged think outside the box, which rarely happens.

The majority of the population in the world might not know (and they will be surprised to learn about it) that schools were not really designed to nurture nor produce creativity. In fact, most education systems in the world are based on the 19th century Prussian model of education where children and adults were taught blind obedience to authority. It does not encourage creativity but conformity: just think about the reason why you have to stand every time the teacher comes into the classroom. That is also the reason why school uniforms were imposed, to subconsciously teach us conformity.

This kind of conformity is what makes the nine-to-five work system successful. However, in a world where technology and information are abundant, change is happening very fast. In this type of world, this kind of conformity may not work. If we want the next generation to survive, we should let go of conformity and encourage creativity to flow freely in the halls of our educational institutions.

Have you ever wondered why only a handful of people do the innovating and the inventing? Perhaps, they are those who escaped the fine net of conformity. They are the ones who have been labeled as rebels but not afraid how people brand them. They are the ones who were not afraid to take risks and challenge the norm. We need more of these people in every fiber of the society, especially in the echelons of leadership. We need them now, more than ever.

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