Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Creative Query: Who's Your Wizard?
Is that a true story? Pretty damn close.
Mr. O'Neill is what I call a bad wizard. A very bad wizard. When he told me I couldn't draw (or at least, that's what my 9-year-old self heard), I believed him. After all, he was the expert. So I did what any well-behaved, smart child would do. I stopped drawing.
By telling this story over the years in my creativity session, I've discovered something: We all have Mr. O'Neills. We've all been told we can't do something -- and, for whatever reason -- we've believed it. And we let that belief shape who we are, and who we become.
One woman shared a story with me about her mother's elementary school choir teacher. The teacher picked one day, and listened to each child sing -- once. Then, she grouped them as robins or crows. The robins could sing. The crows, very clearly, couldn't.
The woman's mother was banished with the crows. Now, keep in mind, this happened when she was 6 or 7. Yet, she never forgot, and she never sang. She wouldn't even sing Happy Birthday to her children.
Mike Brown and I will be sharing this cartoon/story/lesson in an August presentation on creative instigation. We'd love to have more examples of Mr. O'Neills -- whether it's a dad who said you weren't smart enough to be an attorney, a friend who told you tall girls can't dance, or a boss who let you know you weren't management material.
If you would be willing to share -- even anonymously -- we'd love to hear about your bad wizards, and your advice for dealing with them. I'll share my advice next week. Thanks!