Did you know that jobs were only created some 200 years ago? Before jobs there were hunters and gathers. Then it transitioned into farmers and finally we transitioned into the industrial era where people begin to create jobs and thousands flocked to work for them. It was rare for someone to say, hey let me create my own job. That took too much work and came with no manual or instructions.
This creation of a system to cultivate workers to work at their max potential started with Henry Ford and his assembly line. He believed that if you gave your all, you could always give a little bit more. What does that mean? If I ask you to raise your left hand as high as you can, then ask you to raise it a little bit higher what happens? You’ll find a way to raise it a little bit higher. But you just raised your hand as high as you could, right? No, you truly didn’t raise it as high as you could because we have been trained to not give our all because that would bring about higher expectations. Our boss would raise the standard on the numbers we have to reach, our teachers will require us to do more to get a good grade. Do you see what’s happening?
From the moment we enter school we are taught how to follow instructions. Modern day education was not invented by educators but rather by businessmen. John D. Rockefeller who is considered the father of the modern education system had this to say in terms of educating people, “I don’t want a nation of thinkers, I want a nation of workers.”
Have you ever actually taken the time to examine how we learn in school? Everything is a matter of memorization rather then thinking outside the box. We learn to memorize the alphabet when we are young, then move to algebra and geometry and then finally to the periodic table. We learn to memorize formulas, words and history dates for the SAT and ACT, to earn a grade which dictates where we go to college, to finish learning how to manage companies and organizations in order to graduate and work at a company managing those who couldn’t memorize as well as you. Every single metric has two grades, passing or failing. If you try something new you are scolded. If you go outside of the guidelines of the assignment you fail.
Do you see the cycle? We are trained to follow orders and do what we are told. Do you ever question your boss at work? No, because they would simply replace you with someone that follows orders better than you. All of this dates back to the Industrial Revolution which America has not yet gotten out of, no matter how it looks on the surface. Why do you think other countries are developing, cultivating and creating new things, new ideas and new leaders of tomorrow at such a rapid pace? China, Brazil, India, they teach their children how to think and solve problems and not memorize formulas and concepts.
So what is our saving grace…art. Why is art so important? Art is important because it’s created by real people for real people in order to create a connection. Art is genuine and made from the heart. There is no manual that says, here is how you make a poem that will inspire a nation, here is how you create a company that will challenge society, here is how you write a song that will inspire a change.
What is great about art? Art can be done by anyone at any time for any reason. Art inspires, art is authentic, art is an experience. Yes art can be copied, yes art can be manipulated, yes art can be opinionated but that’s just it…it strikes a cord with you. Best of all…there is no manual to teach art because it comes from within.
School teaches us step by step how to find x when it equals 1. It teaches us how to be competent and last time I checked competent people don’t stand out. Competent people don’t inspire us to want to change the world. Competent people are beige…boring.
So how do I stop being competent and start sharing my art and ideas. Well it’s simple first stop expecting for someone to give you the answer. Figure it out on your own! Get uncomfortable in order to get comfortable. Test out strategies by yourself, you’re going to fail but who cares! Figuring something out means you’re going to be wrong before you’re going to be right. You know what happens as a result of doing things on your own? You become a leader. People will begin to come to you for advice. People will begin to travel to hear you speak, people will buy your books, your paintings, your music, support your business, they will begin to follow you. Why? Because you have created something authentic, something genuine, something remarkable that stands out amongst the crowd and that they can identify with.
So I challenge you to examine your own life. Examine what you’re doing right now. Are you happy with where you are? Are you willing to let your dreams and goals be set aside to build the dreams of others? Do you want to continue being beige or do you want to do something more…become something more. The choice is yours.