I’m currently reading “Linchpin” by Seth Godin which is about being indispensable to an organization and I’m having many thoughts about Genius Hour or 20 Time. I’m wondering if we should change the name of Genius Hour, because we aren’t really focused on being a Genius or finding our Genius, but rather fighting the powers that cause us to squelch our creativity and produce.
According to Godin, Steven Pressfield, in his book “The War of Art” coined the term “Resistance” for that entity which inhibits our ability to free our creativity, our great ideas, our insights, our generosity, and our connections. Over the years I’ve done the Genius Hour/20 Time project, I’ve found my biggest contribution (and also hurdle) was teaching students to fight the resistance, many times showing up as fear and anxiety, and producing.
Schools teach us to follow the rules. Society tells us that if we go to our job every day, follow the rules, and do what we’re told, we won’t be fired. And, not being fired seems to be the American dream these days. Words like “being mature” or “being responsible” seem to be synonymous with cowering in fear. In fear of the Resistance.
But, Elizabeth Gilbert talks about “doing your job” in a different way in her Ted Talk on creativity.
She asserts that many masterful artists, poets, and writers see creativity as outside of themselves. We should all learn to see creativity not as something we have, but as something we accept. Something that we can all attain and develop a collaborative relationship with. However, we must show up and do our part of the collaboration. We must continue to write, or dance, or create art. If we do our part, creativity will do it’s part.
In his book, Godin stated, “Fear of living without a map is the main reason people are so insistent that we tell them what to do.” Truer words have never been spoken. And, the reason is obvious as he goes on to say, “If it’s someone else’s map, it’s not your fault if it doesn’t work out.” I see this in so many students during Genius Hour. That fear of not being successful, that fear of someone may laugh at them, that fear of being uncomfortable. All those fears prevent students from finding that collaborative relationship with creativity and genius.
So, let’s rename Genius Hour to Fight the Resistance Hour. Because that is truly what we need to be teaching our students.