The man who never was!
by Terry Camsey, Major –
“The other day, upon the stair.
I saw a man who wasn’t there.
He wasn’t there again today.
I wish, I wish he’d go away!”
It’s a rhyme I heard years ago, but I cannot remember its author. It has been on my mind since reading Bob Docter’s article on creativity (New Frontier vol. 25, no. 4) wherein he links creativity to faith.
Creativity is also linked to fear and, I guess that, in a way, the poem I quoted could reflect the feelings of some towards change that—in the normal run of things—inevitably is linked to the fruit of creativity. And people do not like change. The comment of a speaker at The General Synod of The Church of England in the 1980s sums up, perhaps, the thoughts of so many: “Why cannot the status quo be the way forward?”
I used to wear A tie tack when I was involved in ministry at THQ. It simply said, “Why not!”…a more positive comment than, “Why?” don’t you think? But then, I have never been satisfied with “better” when “best” is possible.
Over a number of years I have collected pithy sentences that have caused me to think deep (and wide as the old chorus we used to sing reminds me). I’d like to share with you some of those comments, so that they can do their work and perhaps stretch imaginations…
“Responsible creativity (is) vigorously exploring…beyond accepted models, patterns or standards—all the while remaining committed to the spirit of the corporate mission.” Gordon MacKenzie
“Ideas are a dime a dozen. People who implement them are priceless.” Mary Kay Ash
“It is the nature of a man, as he grows older…to protest against change, particularly change for the better.” John Steinbeck
“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”
“The only way to learn what works is to learn what doesn’t work.” Jim Hopkins
“To be fully free to create, we must first find the courage to let go of strategies that have worked for us in the past; of biases, the foundation of our illusions; of our grievances, the root source of our victim-hood; of our so-often-denied fear of being found unlovable.” Gordon Mackenzie
How do you adapt to change without losing the flavor of the original? By keeping the meaning, then finding a more effective way to express it.” Ad for Bethel Theological Seminary
“Name the mother of all inventions. Accident.” Mark Twain
The problem is never “ how to get innovative ideas into your mind, but how to get the old ones out!” Dean Hock
“Don’t reject the acorn of an idea, then later wonder why you don’t have any trees.” Joel Salzman
“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” Walt Disney
“Use the word ‘impossible’ with the greatest caution.” Wernher von Braun
“I make more mistakes than anyone else I know, and sooner or later, I patent most of them.” Thomas Edison
“The trouble is if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.” Erica Jong
“The future is not inevitable. We can influence it, if we know what we want it to be.” Charles Handy
“Group think is dangerous because like-minded groups have like-minded ideas and find it hard to reframe any situation.” Charles Handy
“When the rate of change outside an organization is greater than the pace of change inside an organization, the end is near.” John R. Walter…
That last quotation is as good an argument as I can find anywhere on the need to get comfortable with both creativity and the inevitable change coupled with it.
Unless, of course you still would rather that the man on the stair to go away!