Need before greed.

Do you grab passing links on Twitter? Do you favourite them, build lists, re-tweet them with a tag seconds later for your folksonomy tool to collect?  Do you have lots of everything? – slide-decks, online storage tins, blogs, wikis etc. Do you need them all?

Of course you do. Your brain enjoys it.

You have needs, and your brain is greedy. You are probably more creative now than at any time since the age of 4.

The relationship between needs; and satisfying them re-wires our brains. Our attention is drawn to what we think we need. Satisfaction is experienced through the feedback we receive, and our perceptive experience is the filter that adjusts our worldview. Creative people often select ‘modes’ of thinking about their needs – at times the dreamer, at others the realist or the critic. I think this is why Twitter attracts so many creative minds.

In ‘dreamer’ mode, creative minds take on the aspect of the explorer, where you search for tidbits of information and interesting facts, and at other times the artist, where you rearrange all the different pieces of information to make new and interesting patterns – out of people, ideas and artifacts. Best of all, you do this from 10,000 feet – and tune it into your personality and learning preferences. Being a ‘dreamer’ is often cited as a negative characteristic of learning “Jimmy is a day-dreamer, can’t pay attention, in his own world”. Jimmy isn’t stupid. Jimmy is an explorer and you’re not giving him much to need.

Think of the average student online forum – one that has been prescribed as part of learning.

What are the questions about? – Needs. “How many words is it, how do I upload, that link is broken, who else hasn’t got the text book.” with everyone selecting ‘need’ all the time; very little community or connected knowledge comes out of it – because the other option is greed – and greedy mindedness is something that creative people often hide by grade 5 – because un-creative minds have taught you too.

Now think about how creative presenters. Notice the role they are playing? Dreamer, Realist, Critic? – Do they switch back and forth? Do they intuitively know how to lead, when to swap? – That’s the downside with creative types often. They are crap at passing the ball, and so organizations that don’t overtly ‘need’ creativity, tend to stifle all notions of it. Much to their detriment.

The point of being  creative is to try to break the mold. Once you’re able to step out of habits and old ways of thinking. In educational settings, we are very rarely cast in the role of Dreamer, explorer or artist – which I think leads to our creative needs not being satisfied but stifled. We pay less attention to these needs, and learn to become un-creative as people tell us that test scores matter more than throwing paint on canvas or writing a story.

Guess this is a dreamer post then.

7 thoughts on “Need before greed.

    • The story of my professional life. I am a dreamer but it’s not valued. I have learned to squash this need – and replaced it with the need to fit in, be accepted. I think I need to grow down and let my inner child / artist out. It’s a short ride. I should be authentic with it.

  1. Hi Dean
    Thank you so much for this blog post. I’ve only just read it and look forward to reading again. There were plenty of moments of resonation and the focus on creativity and the joy of encounter with curious minds; your own and those who draw from and give to us, ideas and a sense of connectedness. I love the idea of ‘greedy mindedness’ in the way you have descibed it. In my mind, the third ring in the 3 ring circus model of curriculum I’ve played around with is the domain of re-creation – recreating mind, body and human spirit. Thanks again for a post which allows so many of us to reflect on where and how we’re travelling.
    Roger

  2. Torkee says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    August 14, 2010 at 11:08 am
    The story of my professional life. I am a dreamer but it’s not valued. I have learned to squash this need – and replaced it with the need to fit in, be accepted. I think I need to grow down and let my inner child / artist out. It’s a short ride. I should be authentic with it.

  3. oh! The greedy lust driven desire to understand,know, motivate,contribute,play is that just in time(learning)greed?! How much higher is that a motivating/sticky factor than need? That is such a creative question thanks Dean.

    The other question is can I find that link just when I need it?
    You know the answer-the question in that moment begs to be answered differently, the need changes, and so does the solution.

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