Sometimes one finds inspiration in unlikely places. This happened to me last weekend when I came across a quote from Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull in his book “Creativity, Inc.” This is a longer quote, but I hope you’ll forgive me for including it all:
“Instead, it was to send a signal about how important it is for every one of us to keep learning new things. That, too, is a key part of remaining flexible: keeping our brains nimble by pushing ourselves to try things we haven’t tried before. That’s what P[Ixar] U[niversity] lets our people do, and I believe it makes us stronger.
“We begin life, as children, being open to the ideas of others because we need to be open to learn. Most of what children encounter, after all, are things they’ve never seen before. The child has no choice but to embrace the new. If this openness is so wonderful, however, why do we lose it as we grow up? Where, along the way, do we turn from the wide-eyed child into the adult who fears surprises and has all the answers and seeks to control all outcomes?”
This is something that I would have said I agree with for years, but I think it struck me more since it spoke to much of what I’ve written in this space over the last few weeks.
First off, there has been enough written about the government shutdown, so I’ll try to keep this bit short. Suffice to say that no matter which side you fall on politically, there is a clear lack of ability for the parties in our government to work together. And when the government is shut down, I think all should be able to look beyond differences and agree that we need to be able to work together and be more open to listening to new ideas – even if that doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen anytime soon.
I also recently wrote about the idea of resolutions as we began the year and even if it seemed trite to use it as impetus to make some good financial moves you had thought about but had yet to pull the trigger on.
So putting all these thoughts together, let this also stand as a push to do something completely new, and not just a slight tweak to what you have already been doing. There’s an even greater chance for growth if you are moving into new areas.
That may be something that’s sticking out to me more due to our current national situation, but it’s impossible to say that Catmull isn’t coming from a place where we could always listen to him. After all, his book is really more about the business of Pixar than about the movies it makes and whether or not you cry at the beginning of “Up,” you cannot deny that the company is a very successful business.
Therefore, be new, be ready to grow, and go do something different. It just might lead you to better places than you thought possible.
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