Today I saw a little image on the bottom of my WordPress page, for a Daily Post. This site encourages you to think outside yourself a little creatively write or brainstorm ideas to share with your readers.
What really drew me to this idea, though, is an idea I had thought about for a while: creativity. Dan Pink (A Whole New Mind) and Jonah Lehrer (Imagine: How Creativity Works) both write about ways to improve your creativity, thus improving your ability to innovate and “think outside the box.” Yes, an overused cliche, but as a cliche it is well understood.
Today’s Daily Post suggested thinking of a random word, then finding the eleventh picture on Google’s image search for the word in mind. Then, write a post about it.
Today’s word: Snarky. The associated picture may be even better. It includes the cat-titude necessary for full understanding of the word.
If you have ever suggested a new idea to a resistant colleague, you have gotten this reaction. Many reformers are afraid of their ideas because a certain percentage of people will react like those above. I have been one of those people. However, when you realize your ideas are stronger than one individual you rise above criticism. Rising above it does not mean ignoring it. I believe every bit of criticism has its place. You can learn from the critique and become stronger. If you let it hold you down, you will always be victim to the attack of others.
Flip the tables a bit. When someone presents an innovative, new, bold idea, how do you react? Do you tell them immediately that the system will not accept such a change? Do you bear your claws?
React how you want others to react to you. Yes, you may criticize, but as was pointed out in Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs, your criticism must contain a solution to be productive. Otherwise you are simply being mean or unproductive. With criticism should come suggestions for improvement. Encourage others to continue to think about problems from creative angles. Dismiss being snarky!
Mother Theresa once said, “What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.” If you are snarky or mean with those around you, why should we expect the world to change? To encourage real change, change needs to start with us. Model that to your community, and your impact will be profound.