Strange times call for new perspectives in problem-solving creatively.
Start by grounding yourself and those you love in your strengths; and make this the lens to look through going forward.
It is a simple wellbeing exercise, which you can do for yourself, as a group of friends, or as a family.
In the UK, the Durham Commission on Creativity & Education was published in mid-October, citing:
"The increasing recognition of the economic and social value of creativity and creative thinking has brought a fresh urgency to the development of entrepreneurship and the skills of the future workforce."
This is extraordinarily well-timed as Global Entrepreneurship Week 2019 takes place 18th – 24th November.
Why celebrate GEW in your school? Because it is a fantastic way to build youth wellbeing, complex problem-solving skills and solutions to challenges in your community.
“What do you do when you wake up and feel overwhelmed?” was a question I got when I was talking with Capacity Zurich’s start-up entrepreneurs in April 2019. They were starting to turn the seeds of their ideas into self-sustaining businesses and we were exploring resilience for their ‘entrepreneur’s journey’.
My response went something along these lines, but shorter as time was pressing, so bear with me, as this is something of a love letter to them because they are such an amazing community.
Some days just start like this. And so, what to do to get past that feeling of overwhelm?
For a few moments, reconnect with the fact that you are unprecedented.
Admittedly the enormity of contemplating that there has only ever been a you, right here and now, not before and not coming after…does mess with your perception, a bit like a Max Escher staircase.
But I know of nothing simpler, gentler and more powerful a starting point than this, as a way to be present, let go, change direction, trust yourself to take a leap of faith and do things differently. You are a point of light in an unfolding cosmos, on this pale blue dot. A fractal of energy, rising and falling and rearranging.
It takes a nanosecond to practice, acting like a love-bomb filling you with colour and courage. The more you practice it, the more choices you get back, the more resilient you are – having the capacity to adapt in a constantly changing environment – softening into trust.
It gives you a different kind of courage because it’s not about ego (please note, feeling loved by feeling credible will frequently keep you trapped and get in the way of your best problem-solving). The best leaders and problem-solvers I’ve ever worked with and met, have been the humblest of people; and (from experience) the intra- and entrepreneur’s journey will take your ego and jump up and down on it, until you give in, let go, ask for help and keep on asking.
Reflecting on being unprecedented, is an invitation to think about how and where you want to show-up, to take the risk on allowing yourself the time to be deeply connected to others, to slow down long enough to be authentically you, which will fuel your unique engine of imagination and creativity.
Not only are you unprecedented in this bend of time and space, but so is the person next to you, the blade of grass, this year’s Spring flowers, the butterfly, the baby just born in a warzone, the families risking everything in the hope of something better. Once you pause to see it like this, you realise how precious the unique web of life is and how knitted into it you are. You start to own your story. Make like Gerald in Giraffes Can't Dance.
Tell someone else today too, especially a kid and watch their reaction. This kind of Love is disruptive innovation, cutting through overwhelm to what is most important to focus on; and what is needed when we take action for people and planet.
Martha Graham in her letter to Agnes De Mille wrote, “There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost.”
Someone asked me this week why I focus on getting people, especially young people, to play with ideas. It is a key part of my practice because it is a ‘change-maker space’ for building resilience, the capacity to adapt to challenges and continue to move forward in life.
In this space with me, everybody gets to build the ingredients that go into being resilient because everybody gets to play.
Why do I care about kids being resilient?
Because it is an essential part of their wellbeing, as well as the personal life-skills that they need to take action in making positive change happen.
…and we need GenZ to take action more than ever!
Giving them to passion to achieve the SDGs using their creativity, connects to a profound sense of their purpose in their lives.
Take 3 ingredients
Here are three of the ingredients that increase resilience; they are also character strengths that play a role in wellbeing.
> Empathy – Defined as the ability to understand and share other people’s feelings, we connect by exploring their everyday experiences and other people might be experiencing those things too.
> Risk-taking – When we play, we are adventurers and adventurous in our thinking and actions; we take incredible risks, adapting as we go and picking ourselves up when things don’t go to plan.
> Flexible Thinking – We change perspective, choosing new ways to see challenges, making sure that we recognise challenges as events that are ‘specific, external and temporary’ rather than down to who we are.
Play, play, play
And so, we play within our ethical framework: freestyling, iterating, dreaming up the seemingly impossible, saying the simple obvious things too; gently building our resilience, ready to adapt as we go.
We play as equals in our creativity, creating a prism of insights where everyone’s voice matters, because in that ‘space between’ the rules, is exactly where we will find our courage to do something different. And that something different, might be the very thing that changes everything.
To quote Picasso, “I start with an idea and then it becomes something else.”
It is breath-taking to watch the alchemy at work when young people are in this space. I see their joy and it is contagious.
Because of these resilient agents of change, I am hopeful for the world we are in.
 Reivich, K., 2003. The Resilience Factor: Seven Essential Skills for Overcoming Life’s Inevitable Obstacles. Crown Publishing Group.
 Zolli, A., 2013. Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back. Business Plus
Inspiration for opening up your unique blend of creativity to take action for people and planet