Beyond The Lines

Guest Author: Richard Gerver

DSC_3057Do you remember when you were a kid? When the world around you looked huge; adults were giants and the future was; well just not immediate enough to think about? Can you remember the joy of grabbing a crayon, sticking your tongue out and drawing, colouring, creating; people, trees, your house, car and dog? It was at that time precisely that our world would have changed. Here’s a question, who was the first person who told you that you had to colour in between the lines? Do you recall that moment; your latest masterpiece, presented for public scrutiny for the first time and you are asked what it is; or that next time, that you should try colouring inside those lines.

When I started to explore the concept of change for my book and in particular, why we find change so increasingly hard to deal with the older we get, I started to see the narrative. You see, having spent most of my adult life as an elementary school teacher and principal; I began to realise that we are not born adverse to change, in fact the opposite is true; we are born to love it. If you think about it, when we are exposed to the light and air beyond the comfort of the womb, we know nothing; there are no routines to cling to, to reassure us. We don’t know anyone or anything; every moment is new and uncertain; every sound, smell, touch and sight. Yet we thrive; learning more in those first few years of life than in the rest of the time we are here. As young children we are constantly seeking the stimulus of the new.

As we get older we tend to lock down our lives; we try and live within our own routines, systems and structures… What happens? Where does the “magic” go?

When we initially suggest to a child that they colour in between the lines, we are first teaching them that life should be about outcomes not the process or the journey. They gradually start to believe that what they should know and how they should behave will be managed; in some ways, it is the first time we learn about targets!

Much of what I believe in and what I write about, is based on exploring thechange narrative of our lives, particularly our childhoods; I try to help people to understand where the joy went and to work on concepts and ideas that folk can apply in order to rediscover that natural love of change and of all things new and uncertain.

As adults we need to be cognisant of our routines and break them occasionally; meet new people, try new food or to read a book that on the surface, “isn’t my kind of thing.”

What I’ve learnt most over the last few years, since leaving teaching, is that we have more to learn from young kids than ever we have to teach them.

CHANGE is a very personal book for me; I wanted to touch people emotionally and stimulate their thinking. Having read it, what I hope is that readers get their backpack on and go explore what is new and challenging. I hope that you get the chance to read it, but in the meantime…

Go on, grab some paper, draw the outline of a box in thick pen; use a ruler, make it as exact and as perfect as you can and then; grab some crayons, let your tongue feel the breeze and scribble right over those lines! You see? Change really can be child’s play!

About Author:

Richard Gerver is one of the world’s foremost thinkers on education, leadership and change. In 2005, he was judged the best head teacher in the UK, after turning a failing school into a global innovation success story. Since then, he has become one of the world’s most celebrated speakers and a best-selling author, helping governments around the world to shape education policy and major organisations to make the most of their talent. His unique formula is a blend of simple ingredients – communicate with impact and empower those in your charge – but the underlying techniques he has developed are powerful enough to make learners of all ages feel inspired. His is the ultimate insight into mastering change and leading innovation.

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