Are we stifling creativity and thinking?

July 30, 2013

Filed under: General

The little image, below, that I saw circulating on Facebook sparked a rainbow of memories and images speeding its way through my mind.

  Source: Teachers Marketplace


The child’s response is not wrong. It’s honest and innocent. In fact, it’s downright ingenius. So why did the teacher cross it out? Was it because it’s not the expected response? I would have given the child full marks for originality!

And that got me thinking about my childhood and some of the triumphs and challenges I faced along the way. At age 10, I discovered I had a talent for sketching and I put it to good use. A friend saw one of my doodles and asked if I’d draw one for her. I did. Then another asked for the same and I thought to myself…..hang on…this could be something. I started selling A3 size sketches of Mickey Mouse (yes, everyone loved it back then) to my classmates for what was a whopping 40 cents apiece. Mum couldn't understand why I needed a new drawing block within days of one being bought. The kids went ballistic. I couldn’t keep up. Till the teacher found out and shut down my very lucrative business.

By no means was I the brightest spark in school and I struggled through a couple of subjects. I never realized why I had such a hard time with numbers till my later years. Or why the words in my books would look as if they were in the wrong order. I remember praying for the ground to open up and swallow me whenever I had a Math lesson. I’d slide down my seat, and hide right at the back left corner of the room but I’d still get picked for sure to work out a problem on the board. I could feel the sweat trickling down my spine, my fingers would be clammy holding that white chalk and I'd have 40 pairs of eyes staring at my back. Talk about pressure. Or why when I did write something, my spelling would be jumbled. I could read it even when it was in reverse so why couldn't everyone else? You’ll never understand the frustration at looking at something many times over and still not spotting the error. Talk about optical illusion. Oh, how I dreaded those years. Over time, I learnt how to cover or overcome it.

These days, they call ‘it’ dyslexia. I still hate numbers so thank god I’m not the one keeping the business books in order. And while I’m no writer, here I am tapping away on my keyboard and giving spell-check a huge thumbs up. If you do spot an error……ah well…..I’ll get to it when I spot it. *smiles*

Music was my Escapism. I couldn’t hold a tune, mind you, but I’d loose myself in the lyrics and rhythm. Music helped free the mind and feed my soul. I’d pick out song titles and phrases that inspired me. Having an active mind, I would relate what I heard in music to real life experiences. Each time I needed a little kick in the butt, I’d listen to the songs. Here’s the top five song that have inspired me:

1. Let’s go crazy – Prince

“Are we gonna let de-elevator
Bring us down
Oh, no Let's Go!

Let's go crazy
Let's get nuts
Let's look 4 the purple banana
'Til they put us in the truck, let's go!”

I’ve had my moments when it all became too hard and I was ready to throw in that towel. When it did, I would take a step back, think about the big picture, the possibilities and the benefits of that far outweighed any obstacles that were put in my path. I never set the bar too high. I believe in being realistic when setting goals. I want to get giddy with excitement when I achieve it. I want to shout it out to the world. Wouldn’t you? It’s important to me that I get there on my own steam and on my own terms.


2. Don’t stop me now – Queen

I'm a shooting star leaping through the sky
Like a tiger defying the laws of gravity
I'm a racing car passing by like Lady Godiva
I'm gonna go go go
There's no stopping me”

I didn’t exactly embrace my early school years. I was so terrified of failure. Once I worked out what my options were, I could formulate a route. I had a hugely supportive family. Although it wasn’t what they had in mind for me, my parents fully supported my desire to explore my creative instincts. I loved doing the unconventional and achieve amazing results. Forget about convention. Follow your heart and intuition. And if you fail, pick yourself up and keep moving forward.


3. Don’t stop – Fleetwood Mac

“Don't stop, thinking about tomorrow,
Don't stop, it'll soon be here,
It'll be, better than before,
Yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone.”

When I was in my pre-teens, I remember my Dad started his own little car rental company, with a couple of cars and no driver’s licence. He was an Insurance Salesman, had six kids (me being the youngest rebel) and was an entrepreneur at heart. He never took no for an answer. He was always up to something. He invested in property. He even started his own textile company. He’d ply his trade after work or on weekends when I could tag along.

I’d get a thrill out of watching him wheeling and dealing with the shop owners. He taught me not to fear. I don’t have to be everything to everyone. I just need to know what I am good at and to excel at it. He also taught me to show negativity the door.


4. The best things in life are free – Janet Jackson

“The best things in life are free
Now that I've discovered what you mean to me
The best things in life are free”

There’s so much around us that we take for granted. We tend to get so caught up in our daily lives that we forget to think about the little things we should be grateful for. Everyday, I spend a few minutes to write down what I have to be thankful for. It gives me a sense of peace, writing it down instead of just thinking about it. It becomes more tangible as I can refer to it anytime I need to. It also acts as an inspiration on those days when things aren’t going eaxctly to plan. Try it.


5. Steer – Missy Higgins

“But the search ends here
Where the night is totally clear
And your heart is fierce
So now you finally know that you control where you go
You can steer”

You’re the architect of your dreams and vision. You’re the one in control. Take stock of where you’re at and what you want to achieve in your life. Once you’ve worked out your purpose, the light will shine and you’ll be on your way to greatness. I struggled for years to try and work out my career path. The key is to look at what makes you happy and just do it. Once you realize what brings you the most happiness, you’ll enjoy what you do and the best part is that you’ll have so much fun doing it. Like I do!


In the immortal words of Steve Jobs – Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”  We all have unique gifts and talents. We just need to uncover what’s inside of us waiting to be discovered and unleashed. So, let’s unlock that inner you and tell everyone just who you are.

Me? I am a creative thinker. I have a knack for seeing things differently. I love the ability to juggle multiple projects at once. I’m very visual and I love unstructured situations. Did I mention that I enjoy taking risks (it hasn’t always worked out, but….)? And most of all, I love what I do. That’s all that matters. What about you? Who or what inspires you?


About Judith Silva

Judith Silva is Chief Inspiration Officer and the driving force behind SPINN Media – a boutique creative agency specializing in web, apps and graphics. She’s been involved in the Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations industry for over 20 years. Judith is a mother of two lovely girls and is crazily in love with her husband of many, many, many years. Get in touch with her at:

Tags: creativity, creative thinking, thinking, dyslexia, facebook, optical illusion


Great post!! I can so relate Judith. When I look back at some of the comments on my school reports, they always spoke of not meeting my potential (probably true), but the tone was discouraging. I had a knack for starting, but not completing tasks. Today, I am an igniter, and excel in the start up phase. We all have our own precious gifts don't we! Unfortunately teachers don't always see how that can be applied in the school environment. What's important is that we believe in ourselves.

Krishna - August 1, 2013 @ 07:39

Absolutely, Krishna. Self-believe is something I've drummed into my kids. And with encouragement and support there's no reason why we can't all succeed.

Judith - August 1, 2013 @ 08:42

Judith, what a great story. I knew some of it but you were born creative going by this. Your passion comes through and from personal experience it comes through in the work you do.

Ross Keating - August 1, 2013 @ 09:15

Congratulations and jubilations on your blog !Yes it's an important subject that you bought to light. One day soon we'll find an approach to solving the " one size fits all " problem in many walks of life but most importantly in the education of our young ones. What possibilities would we be able to create for ourselves if we tap into the incredible individual talents that we all have !

Clint McKauge - August 1, 2013 @ 10:48

You have such incredible attention to detail though! Love your post.

Growing up in Singapore, we were quite used to the cookie-cutter method of teaching. Moving to Queensland all those years ago opened up our eyes to a whole new way of learning. Multi-modal presentations, public speaking and debates were just as important as our written exams. It was refreshing.

Now that Queensland is being 'brought up to speed' with the rest of the country, teachers barely have time to ensure students understand concepts. Information is being shoved down their throats, and the only way the kids can keep up is to memorize and regurgitate the information.

I'm worried.

Rachael Ross - August 1, 2013 @ 13:50

Thank you, Ross - I suspect when we all just love and enjoy what we do, it'll shine through naturally.

Clint - See Rachael's comments. It's already taking place. Many schools are finding the balance between individuality and following the mainstream very challenging. It's important that parents harness that little bit of creativity in their kids (we all have it!) and help them bloom and "tap into the incredible talents that we all have" as you've very eloquently highlighted.

Ahhh Rachael - I know exactly what you're referring to. It's a fine line we walk these days in identifying the power within us all and to not give in to the expected. And to take our dreams and hopes into reality.

Judith - August 1, 2013 @ 15:48

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