Have You Allowed Your Training to Put You in a Box?

Don't get me wrong. I am very much in favour of training and I believe Dr Donald Howard’s comment that, “Education is life and you never finish learning.”

When I was in college, one of my German roommates, Gerhard, said to me one day, “You must not get frustrated about the machine that is producing these students.”  I was in training at the time when, in the UK, they were pushing the fact that “eggs are good for you”, and they had a little lion stamp which was put on each egg, to tell you they were excellent and fresh.  All done by the UK Egg Marketing Board.

So, my German friend said, "If these students all come out with a lion stamped on their production line exterior, all looking and saying the same, it will be because they cannot be anything other than that."

Sir Ken Robinson FRSA claims that, "Schools kill creativity," arguing that, "We don't grow into creativity, we grow out of it, or rather, we get educated out of it". ... "True creativity," he argues, "is based on knowledge, which, in turn is based on literacy".

The difficulty, it seems to me, is that when we read, listen to lectures, in all sorts of disciplines we assume that what is said, because the person is a teacher/expert/master of the subject, then it all must be correct. So, people read newspapers, which they say they don't believe, and then quote what the article stated, as if it is undeniable factual truth.

In one course I attended, the lecturer said something that has become my mantra; he said: "Believe nothing. Check everything".  Why is it when trained in any discipline, social work, teaching, pastoring, whatever - we disengage that valuable critical part of our brain and assume, “Now, if I follow this to the letter, I have all the answers.”

Many times, I come into conflict with people trained in various disciplines because I can think of another way, or even dare to question that what's told is not feasible or practical.  Then I suggest another way to do it. 

 I was being trained at college to be a preacher. The Principal of the college, a great guy, first-class Principal but a boring preacher, was, I noted, being copied by all the students in delivery and content.

“Why?” I asked them.

"He's the principal," was the answer. “Therefore, that is the way it should be done!”

“But he is boring and bad at delivery,” I complained. “He maybe good at lots of other things I confess, but no, not that one please.” 

 I guess they needed the lion stamping on their head; I am told I was dropped on mine.

Henry Ford, the motor car construction line inventor, was asked if he had asked people what they want. His reply was, “Why would I do that? I know what they would say; “faster horses”. I am, however, building cars that they have not yet seen.”

I want trained social workers, teachers, lawyers etc., but I really don't want the ones that have, at an early stage, cut out the critical part of their brain, and only believe that what they have been taught is the only way it should be done.  I am fed up with that approach; it is not enough and will not take us into the future. 

 Rutger Bregman says it well: "If we want to change the world, we need to be unrealistic, unreasonable and impossible!"

 I am a Jesus follower and He was raised from the dead. So, yes! I want to change the world, and do not want to be put in a box. For that reason, it seems to me that unrealistic, unreasonable and impossible is the way to go. They are words that people use who do not have box thinking.

 Maybe, before I go on anymore, I should stop with some more Henry Ford:“I cannot discover that anyone knows enough to say definitely what is and what is not possible.”

 I refuse to recognize the existence of impossibilities. I don't know anyone who knows enough about any subject to be able to say that something is or is not impossible. If someone who takes himself for an expert and declares that such and such a thing is impossible, right away there's a horde of nincompoops who sing the chorus: “It's impossible…”

(Two quotes famously attributed to Henry Ford.)

Adrian Hawkes

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