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Create With Freedom Not Control

Create With Freedom Not Control

One of the things missing with educational systems insistence on tests is the lack of concentration and value on the journey. Even in youth sports now we are seeing children as young as 6 and 7 years old playing on “elite” travel teams. These teams travel to ‘away’ game because there is status in that travel.

Controlling these kids time with such rigid structure is not beneficial to their long term mental and physical growth. Psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman and science writer Carolyn Gregoire offer many insights to the idea of openness leads to creativity. Being open to new things lets the brain work its magic. As I have stated before in many of my talks balance is the key to life. 

Being told what to do inhibits the brain's ability to create. This extrinsic stress actually inhibits the brain's ability to open itself to new stimuli. So while a teacher forced to give multiple tests to younger and younger children by the “Common Core” hierarchy, it may actually be stunting the very thing it is trying to test, children’s learning.

One of my favorite expressions in the talks I give around the country to sports teams, teacher, and organizations is to say: “Stay in the moment but then dream of the future.” Even the lottery people have adapted a similar slogan: “A dollar and a dream.” Now I always thought that I had the same probability to win the lottery whether I played it or not!

I stated in an earlier chapter that children want to own their experiences; it now seems that there is real science behind that drive and real true way to do it for them. When focus is on the process or journey and not the result children are able to be creative. Have you ever seen children make games up? Sometimes they take a few things strewn around and make up a whole new reality all by themselves.

Kaufman and Gregoire call it “harmonious passion.” They believe and their research has proved them to be correct that the idea of “folding some creative pursuit dancing, drawing, writing, etc., into your identity. An “obsessive passion” has anxiety and self-consciousness. They believe that this obsession with the extrinsic force means you derive your self-worth from your ability to best your rival. Whether it be in the classroom or the playing field research is showing that when you are always trying to win or get really good grades to impress your teachers, coaches, and parent and don’t enjoy the journey, you actually make it tougher to do what you want to accomplish.

Think of it, and I mean truly think of it. Studies are showing that the tense and hyped you get instead of relaxed the more difficult it is for you to achieve greatness.

One of my favorite expressions to tell my teams and my family is that “everything is fine.” I wanted them to calm down. The calmer you are the more able you are to handle stress whether it is a test in the classroom or the game on the field.

Written by : Jennifer