One of the more serious problems in society today is spacial separation; we are way too close to one another.
We find ourselves almost in the living room of our neighbor. Students sit shoulder-to-shoulder in classrooms and lecture halls. Sidewalks are jammed with a stream of people heading in the same direction to the same destination.
People’s brains are cluttered with the same traditional academic teachings with little room for an original thought.
We live in a crowded world with plurality forcing us to conform. The crowd is a blend of commonality. People move in a blur with no individual identity.
Crowds are imprinting agents. The mass creates pressure for anyone to get on the “average train” and be influenced by those around them.
It’s a serious situation in an economy that begs for remarkability, creativity and uniqueness to survive and succeed.
We MUST find ways for people to create space between each other both physically and mentally.
Physical separation exposes people to different environments with different agents of influence. Mental separation opens the mind to new thoughts with the capability of achieving remarkable things.
Here are 10 ways we can give the separation movement some help:
1. Change the conversation. Stop talking about how we can copy and be like others and start asking the question, “How can we walk away from the crowd?” Space is created by differences not similarities.
2. Reward people who screw up constantly. These are individuals who are on the edge, far from the herd. They live in space and should be encouraged to stay there.
3. Loosen up on the conformity thing. Recognize individuals who don’t follow the rules. Encourage students to color outside the lines to create something new. The education system requires a major overhaul.
4. Honor weirdness. Creativity is NOT a linear concept; it is expressed by ideologies and points of views unlike most others.
5. Hold teachers accountable for creating “new-idea meisters” in addition to how well students learn traditional concepts. Let’s do the unthinkable: pay teachers on the number of unique and creative students that leave their classroom!
6. Add emphasis to “the debate.” Sure. spelling bees have some value but why not provide more focus on the forum for thoughtful argument and disagreement? You can’t be creative and think out of the box in a spelling bee!
7. Get rid of uniforms. They are the signature of a crowd having similar minds and purpose; exactly what is NOT needed.
8. Avoid labels. Labels put individuals into buckets with the expectation that they are like everyone else in that bucket. It’s a disservice to the individual. Millennials? I see individuals with some similar values but many more with amazing differences if only we would pay attention to them. Stop classifying people; it sucks space.
9. Stay off public transportation especially in rush hour. Too any people; too much crowd snuggling; chance they could rub off on you.
10. Dump the “learning from others” notion. I get that there are some benefits from it, but after a point it becomes habitual and represents a barrier to thinking for yourself and coming up with creative ideas that have escaped fellow herd members.
Even if space is not a renewable resource we must find ways to not squander it and have confinement rob us of our originality and personal DNA.
Creating space is critical to a winning soccer strategy; it’s also a vital element of any personal and organizational growth strategy.
About the Author: Roy Osing is a former executive vice president and CMO with over 33 years of leadership experience. He is a blogger, educator, coach, adviser and the author of the book series Be Different or Be Dead.
photo credit: beije via photopin cc