Sunday, January 10, 2016

A jigsaw puzzle or a quilt?

When I got married 27 years ago, my best friend made me a quilt.  Although it was a fairly geometric pattern, there was one part that was different.  She told me that traditionally quilts always had a "wrong" bit in them because "only God is perfect".  I thought about that today when reading Chapter 10 of inGenius about creativity.  Tina Seelig writes about the different approaches people take when making a jigsaw puzzle and when making a quiz.  With a jigsaw there is a fixed goal and if a piece is missing you won't be able to finish the puzzle.  Many people are not creative because they see life as a jigsaw - it's too challenging if they don't have all the pieces needed to complete the puzzle.

Making a quilt is completely different however.  You change the pattern depending on what pieces you have to hand.  In fact you can complete a quilt with whatever material you have.  This is the mindset of an innovative person who can "respond to the unexpected and who can leverage the resources that are available to create something of value rather than waiting for all the pieces to show up".  These people are willing to take on projects that might not turn out as expected because there is always the chance that they will succeed.

It's possible to move from being a puzzler to a quilter, to move away from the fear of failure that makes you unwilling to take on challenges.  Seelig advises people to take small chances first, as a way of building up creative confidence, before taking on larger and larger challenges.  She writes that eventually your drive to succeed will outweigh your fear of failure.

Photo Credit: Thescrappybee via Compfight cc

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