Life Lesson 6
If you want to change the world,
sometimes you have to slide down the obstacle headfirst
Every parent wants to encourage creativity in our children — within certain boundaries. Crayon on paper is fine. Crayon on walls is not. Playing guitar in the bedroom is fine. Rehearsing the rock band in the living room is not. But true creativity knows no limits.
In Admiral McRaven’s commencement speech, he tells the story of a recruit who beat an incredibly challenging obstacle not with his muscle but with his mind. The Slide for Life is a thick, 200-foot rope strung between the top of a 30-foot tower and a lower tower.
Instead of hanging underneath the rope and inching his way down, like every other recruit had done, this one young man mounted the top of the rope and threw himself forward headfirst.
It was a dangerous move. It was a dumb move. And it succeeded. The recruit broke the record for the fastest descent.
What this life lesson means to us
We’re both creative guys (we run a marketing agency in Richmond, Virginia), so this kind of crazy, why-not thinking is second nature to us. But how do you teach your children to be creative? Is it even possible?
Many education experts say it is. Remember that creative thinking is not the same thing as artistic ability. You can nurture your child’s creative brain simply by encouraging her to answer her own questions and to question the answers she’s given.
Life Lesson Number 6 also tells us that if you want to change the world, you need a little something extra: You need creativity plus courage. Your mind and your heart need to go all in. Only then can you throw yourself at an obstacle head first and expect to succeed.