The Importance of Creative and Critical Thinking

“Scientists” have been quoted saying; “In order to make us more competitive in the global marketplace, we are going to have to invigorate the school curriculum and provide more opportunities for science and math and especially for creative thought in general.”

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers: The Story of Success, he theorized that in order to master your craft, you need 10,000 hours of practice.  We need more practice thinking!

An inventor was recently asked, “Why aren’t there more inventions in today’s society compared to even 50 years ago?” He explained that in our present society, we honor and celebrate the mere existence of celebrity. The people we cover in the news headlines don’t actually do anything; they are famous for fame’s sake.

Instead, we must honor the creative thinker who steps out of the box and that will spur more creative thinkers to try and propel us forward with new, vital discoveries and inventions. America has become a stagnant nation that has stopped celebrating the outsider or creative-thinkers, leaving us to reward mundane and repetitious behavior. We are, in essence, stifling creativity and idea generation.

Well, not so at ECA!  We are still bent on highlighting the odd and the different, the exceptional and the new. ECA genuinely searches for creative thinkers who have concepts that seem a little out there. Collectively, we support those people and what they want to share, and are trying to do our part to celebrate those creative minds that are not afraid to reach outside the norm to try something new. BRAVO!

Experimentation will always produce some sort of failure. However, as the saying goes, “It is better to have loved and lost, then never to have loved at all”. If we are not willing to try, we will never excel. It is essential to our industry, as well as the world at large, to provide an atmosphere where a person can feel safe to try and even to fail. The creative process itself must be celebrated and nurtured.

This is precisely why I worry about where our industry is headed when so many “canned” programs are rolled out, guidelines are followed blindly without critique, question, or room to maneuver and salaries are minimized in the name of profits and ease of operation. The product of this is consistency for sure, but at what cost?

Surely we can find a happy medium where both can exist, can we not?

Media outlets and fitness pundits ask me what are the upcoming and latest trends and programming and who is the new talent? Indeed, where will we draw from if we are all robotically practicing the exact same workouts? Where will the creativity come from? Perhaps this is why we see the resurgence of the individual studios, places where there is more freedom of expression, and the product more individualized.

I am not suggesting these types of standardized programs do not have their place. What I am saying, however, is that we cannot abandon mentoring, education and exploration in favor of them. Yes, they are easy and offer brand consistency but is that all we are striving for? Whatever is easiest? As the fitness industry goes, so goes the client.

Of course there are still many bright spots! We DO have some creative programs thriving: BodyART, IntenSati, willpower and Grace, Groovalicious, Drums Alive, Beaming, and Powerstrike are just a few that come to mind. These programs were created out of the passion of their creators.

We are in an era where radical thought and solutions are becoming imperative and we will need to create an environment to foster that creativity. YES! Let’s celebrate those who dare to tread where no one else has gone before. Let us honor those who care enough to focus on something new and different. The oddball, the outcast, these are the exact people who later turn out to be our next Einsteins, Hawkins, Salks, Gates, Jobs and Fords.

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