Since we’re on the subject of questioning things, let’s think about it more for a minute.
Our entire lives have been spent learning to listen, pay attention and obey the first time. I’m not against obedience by any means. My life guide, The Bible, requires it. But that doesn’t mean we can’t challenge authority or the status quo. And too many of us have been conditioned to not challenge, myself included.
When someone challenges the system, they are harped on. Thrown out. Punished into compliance. Where I see the majority of this is in our school system. I have written about how broken it is in the past. And I intend to begin offering solutions, starting here.
Where are the dreams we had as children? And when did they disappear for most of us? Maybe around 2nd or 3rd grade? If we really think about it, the ones that challenged the system are the only ones we remember. They are the only ones we salute and the system actually promotes their creativity and drive to change things.
You’re a freak, until you’re not. That should be the motto of every person that has ever made a change in the world. Jesus was a freak. Einstein, Darwin, The Wright Brothers, Martin Luther King Jr. The list goes on.
But what is the common thread that runs through each of them and connects them? What is it about each of these significant figures in history that made such an impact that we celebrate them and talk about them in our schools, workplaces and research papers?
The common thread is that they were all freaks. The system did it’s best to beat them down. They were killed, beaten, made fun of, arrested, thrown in prison, kicked out of class. You name it, it happened to them. Not everything to each one, but something to all of them.
Our system is so broken that it celebrates the very people that challenge it. It doesn’t even recognize that it is hindering more people than it helps.
A starting point for a solution to the problem lies in the dreams of our children. We must promote the dreams they have to make things. We must help them see an idea to fruition, even if it seems silly to us. We must not allow society to look down upon them because they decided to wear a tiger costume, clip on tail and all, to the store.
When we begin to help the dreams of our children, we will begin to see a culture that recognizes innovation again. Not innovation within the framework of what we think can be done. But innovation within the boundaries of nature. Those are much larger and more robust boundaries than we could ever conjure up on our own. Those are the types of boundaries we need to play with. Find the edge and dance on it.
Challenging the traditional ways of doing things will get you some funny looks. It will get you some interesting comments and blank stares as to why you are doing it. But I feel it’s a main way we can begin to instill in our society the need for dreamers and creators that we have locked up over the years. It might be too late for many of us who have had a lifetime of compliance training, but it’s the perfect time to unleash the next generation to not fall in the same constraints we have been given.