If you're not prepared to be wrong you'll never come up with anything original

Does education kill creativity?

I’m no teacher, but it surely is a profession close to my heart through my good experience with some excellent teachers and lecturers in the past, whose style of mind-stirring teaching was not less than fundamental to growing some of my most cherished passions, above all my passion for autodidactism (self-learning), research and analysis.

In my free time and during my 5 years of entrepreneurship, I developed this weird hobby of reading a lot about education history and futurist idea’s, in an almost daily dive into the world of knowledge and how it was transferred throughout history, transcending the chronological barriers of class, race, knowledge-level and age, and in some cases even barriers of time, geography, language & culture.

His work is a “must-know” for any modern teacher, I passionately believe. Therefore, it would be more than sufficient to refer to a true scholar and a gifted, intelligently & lamely entertaining, speaker in the field on transforming education for future generations:

 

Sir. Ken Robinson, with his all-times top TED talk with the title: “Do Schools Kill Creativity”.

 

And a wonderful animated presentation, narrated by Sir. Ken Robinson, on the same topic with title: “Changing Education Paradigms”.

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Career

If you’re given a chance to choose a career for a lifetime what would it be and why?

A professional footballer! Preferably, a famous & successful one!

best footballers all time

Allow me to elaborate on my silly fantasy & non-fading youth dream.

If I were to become a successful professional footballer, a few far years ago, like the ones displayed above, I would have ruled the world. I would have done what I do best and like most while having the prospect of future financial stability and even a bit more than that (just a bit).

Like the “usual stuff”, owning my own house, car and having a solid study private fund for the education of my children (assuming I won’t be affluent enough to start an own university). But the prospect of leading a “mediocre but stable” life, was fiercely encouraged by my caring environment (you know, like yours).

Messi

Lionel Messi

Let alone the other “benign side effects” that come with professional football careers, like having good health and a perfect condition. I would also undoubtedly have had enough free time to exercise other hobby’s and even make a second career out of them like becoming a book author, or owning a record label that makes only my albums, listened to only by my family.

I would have travelled the world and learned at least 5 languages at a decent level. And off course, I would have also started my own business to unleash my entrepreneurial energy and creativity into something brilliant, useful or new. I would have started a number of non-profit organizations aimed at alleviating poverty, advancing free education or improving health conditions of the unprivileged ones among us.

Top salaries in football

If I were to become a professional footballer, I would’ve had the chance to meet  likes of Maradona, Pele, Zidane, Ronaldo (the only one) and Messi. I may have even been able to meet politicians and world and business leaders. I wouldn’t have minded the 30 seconds of fame bestowed upon me, featuring me endorsing a famous sport brand; not at all! I would’ve done it for free!

ac-milans-dutch-midfielder-clarence-seedorf-celebrates-after-scoring-during-the-serie-a-football-match-between-ac-milan-and-cesena-at-the-san-siro-stadium-in-milan-on-september-24-2011-afpgiusep-13709

Clarence Seedrof

But I also would have had the honour of meeting the likes of Clarence Seedrof, the all time best Dutch player in achievements, who built a stadium in his native-country Suriname and many other non-profit initiatives across his homeland. Or Nigel de Jong, the other Dutch player, who transformed his addiction to sport-cars into a flourishing second-career business, catering for, among others, the UAE high-affluence exclusive cars market.

 

George Weah @ AC Milan

George Weah @ AC Milan

The “worst case scenario” would’ve been achieving what Geroge Weah has achieved through professional football. The famous Liberian football player who only peaked after 29, playing for PSG in France and later AC Milan in Italy, winning the first European Best Player award for a non-European, in 1995, next to becoming FIFA’s World Player of the World.

George-Weah-college-graduation

George Weah, a degree holder in Management.

The same football player crowned his career by his pursuit of a degree at a university in Miami, USA, after his marginal defeat in the national election of Liberia to Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who had what he did not have back then, a degree. The former professional footballer turned active politician and country leader, earned a Masters degree in Management from Devry University in Miami in 2013.

 

George Weah Election Loss

George Weah’s Election Loss

I guess if you can become a professional football player nowadays, you truly can become anyone and achieve anything.  All you have to to do is to start kicking a ball at a younger age, aiming at… some goal!

I should have become one and pursued my very first true passion, shouldn’t I?

Is it too late?

job-interview-questions-275x275

You are HIRED, if you can answer this job-interview question!

This is a real question that was put in a job interview and the only person that got the right answer got the job.

 

Question:
job-interview-intro__1303750811_5965

You are driving along in your car in a wild stormy night; it is raining heavily when you pass by a bus stop. And you see three people waiting for a bus: an old lady, an old friend that once saved your life and the perfect partner you have been dreaming all your life.

Which one would you choose to offer a ride knowing very well that your car is a two seats car and that you can give a ride to only one person?


My answer:

My first automatic action will be slowing down the car, near them.

After exchanging greets with my friend, I will offer him a ride, adding to it “or do you think WE should help others out first & go and catch up later”? This will initiate a “consultation-session”, short & harmless.

Why so? Because it will provide me with INFORMATION to make a better decision or at least make a weighted decision.

  1. I can offer anyone of them a lift. But who actually needs MY lift?! (no one yet)
  2. Is it not possible that each one of them (or some) already called a dear one to pick them up at the bus stop during such an angry stormy night?
  3. Who said the bus isn’t coming or that they don’t prefer to take it (be it late)?
  4. My first action will be asking them whether they need a lift from me and/or whether they’re getting picked up soon by someone. (asking first or just doing is very culturally determined)
  5. This will still be a well-meant offer wrapped-up in a reasonable & sober manner, since they all can see the small size of my car and see that I actually stopped.
  6. They will engage in a spontaneous social interaction, either consulting each other, favouring one another or explaining one’s urgent need to be first. Or giving me the right (order) of choosing based on their attitude.
  7. My offer has open validity & genuine attached to it. I’m also flexible; I can go and come back. They can help me decide who’s first, who’s next, who’s third OR who’s thankful but needs no lift!
  8. They can also help me decide intuitively: who’s a friend worthy of a reunion, who’s an old truly needy person & who’s a truly potential dream partner based on attitude & not only looks or dreamy fantasies, based on their own calculation of what I’m supposed to do according to them!

Don’t judge a book by its cover, for the inside pages may be blank & waste your time, money & good intentions.


I believe (but I may be wrong) that this question aims to examine abilities & competences such as:

  1. Research valuation & research skills
  2. Identifying needs vs improvisation & imposition.
  3. Soberness & rationality in judgement vs emotionality & bad or pretentious impulsiveness.
  4. Pro-activity & backing good intentions by deeds & words.
  5. Being direct & frank vs being complimentary & vague.
  6. Conveying honesty, fragility & transparency.
  7. Altruistic traits vs egoistic traits.
  8. Communication skills.
  9. Group management skills, discussion & leadership by consultation.
  10. Situation analysis & hard-decision-making skills.

Off course, I realize that I won’t have enough time to come up with such a “perfect behaviour answer”. But I think I will take my time until someone stops me or get lost in logical thinking.

job-interview-answers-questions

ps: actually the right answer is supposed to be much simpler. You can look it up in Google, I guess. Thanks for reading! 🙂

work vs education

In college, we pay to get education. At work, we get paid to get educated. Do you agree?

Normally, I would spontaneously & passionately agree.

But if I’m to be more rational, we must give education more credit for providing us with the knowledge basis on which applicable creativity (as opposed to artistic creativity) can thrive more in our competitive and more advanced world.

We should also give “work experience” a proper and subjective definition, judging it by the actual useful experience gained (not only years) and benchmarking it against other restraints to creativity like “negative conformity” and “assembly-line corporate cultures” that are built around task- specialization and not around idea’s imagination.

Sir-Ken-Robinson-TED-Talk-Schools-Kill-Creativity


When I read your wonderful question, my thoughts went automatically to that great Matt Damon (Will) speech in the wonderful Oscar winning movie “Good Will Hunting“, being an MIT student and standing up to a “wanna-sound-smart” born-rich fellow student who wanted to degrade his less-gifted friend in a café, and teaching him a lesson about the truth about his high elitist education.

Will: See, the sad thing about a guy like you is, in 50 years you’re gonna start doin’ some thinkin’ on your own and you’re going to come up with the fact that there are two certainties in life: one, don’t do that, and two, you dropped 150 grand on a fuckin’ education you could have got for a dollar fifty in late charges at the public library!

Brilliant and disturbingly plausible, isn’t it?creativity1

 

speak-up

Hush! SHUT UP & let your deeds speak of your success at work!

Do I agree? No, I don’t agree (yet), because this really and strongly depends on three things:

  1. You.
  2. Your company culture.
  3. The dominant culture of  the society you are in.

You are the best judge of the first item, “you”, so I won’t be covering that. I will concentrate more on the other two.


How can culture be so determinant? Well, it may not. You may actually be blessed by working at a company with a thriving, transparent and fair participatory work culture that holds organization of work and a fair reward-system high, in which your work will never go unnoticed or unrewarded. Add to that a dominant and tolerant culture of people, peers, customers and stake-holders that makes the best match to your character, behaviour and expectations! Voila! You’re free to “be you” and say it too!

company-cultureculturewordle_careers

But you could also be operating in a hard/harsh corporate culture in which everybody is either “barking” at each other or boasting about their achievements to each other. You may have to adapt to this and make your voice heard more often (and leave the barking for dogs, will ya).

I am a geniusDIsgruntled-employee

Also, depending on the dominant culture of your country of work, whether it is a heterogeneous (multicultural) one or a homogeneous one, a high power distance culture or a low power distance one, an individualistic society or more collectivist in nature, talking about what you grandiosely accomplished at your job or putting your “demands” on table may be viewed in different ways from “wonderful”, “normal”, “unnecessary” and “boastful but acceptable” to “arrogant and repulsive”.

In Western European cultures (German, Dutch, English, Scandanavian, for instance), it is not exactly valued that you go around boasting about what you can or what you did using “I” too often, but it is tolerated with distastefulness. And I believe that China, Korea and Japan have a comparable culture of putting team achievements above individual achievements. In other cultures like the US or Italy, for instance, it may be slightly deviant or exactly the opposite, assuming you are just telling the truth and you’re entitled to self-promotion and well-deserved ego-boost. No harm there!

Be-heard

In the US or Europe, this scene may actually end with a hand shake and a smile (or not), without jeopardizing the professional work relationship or taking the fight outside!

In Japan and Korea, CEO's can be extremely apologetic, also in public.

In Japan, CEO’s can be extremely humble and apologetic, also in public.

Off course , there are also other extreme illustrations of how culture can be “shockingly different”. People in Italy, for instance, believe it or not, have always liked Silvio Berlusconi, the famous business man, media tycoon and former prime minister despite his widely covered long litanies of scandals and stubborn non-aging aura of vanity and arrogance for a reason, they only know, and the rest of the world (especially Northern Europeans) has to respect.

In the US, they have a common saying “if you have got it, flaunt it”, meaning “forget about false modesty, if you have it, just show it and enjoy showing it off”.

While it all seems too tedious and tiring to make up the balance whether it is better to speak up or shut up at work, you and I can make it much simpler by doing one thing in any event and in the right order, and that is: knowing the culture FIRST!

What was the “weirdest” job-interview question you have been asked?

“Would you laugh at my jokes if you found them lame and not funny?”

My interviewer was no less than the managing director of the hiring American software company & it was obviously a trivial question with a hidden smile to it, to wrap up an unconventional, quite relaxed job-interview.

My spontaneous answer was a typical sober up-front one (bordering on “rude” in some cultures):

“No, probably not” [pause] “Is that a problem?”

I got the job for other reasons (I’d like to think) & he turned out to be a very funny, amicable & inspiring guy (really; he isn’t reading along anymore!)