Wednesday, February 21 , 2018, 9:30 pm | Fair 46º

 
 
 

Susan Ann Darley: Prying Open a New Mindset

Clinging to old ideas and ways of doing things only holds us back

Liberals usually believe themselves to be open-minded people. They certainly are quick to point fingers at closed-minded people. However, what I’ve observed lately is that some people — liberals, conservatives and free-spirits alike — can become closed off in their small professional fields.

By that I mean they get stuck, develop a singular mindset based on their specialized knowledge. Case in point: I entered the world of the medical model — a veterinarian medical model, to be exact.

Without knowing what was wrong with my dog, a worst-case scenario was painted before my eyes. Stats were read to me of dire outcomes if my dog had surgery and dire outcomes if I didn’t. When asked if I’d like the stats e-mailed to me, I replied. “No, I’d like to empty them from my mind.”

There was no room in the mind of the vet for possibilities of different outcomes, and this was based on not knowing the specific problem. This was a sad example of professionalism taking a wrong turn into a dead-end street, even though I suspect it came from good intentions.

No matter what our expertise or specialty is, we will become better at what we do if we remember that the world is larger than our specialized area and that there are many paths to healing, answers and solutions.

Our world is in an exciting era of major change. The collective voice of people around the world is becoming more powerful than any one dictator. The old regime is collapsing as new ideas are being birthed. The time for collaboration is critical.

Years ago I spoke to a special-education teacher who shared some very innovative methods in terms of working with children. Naively and excitedly, I told her to share it with other schools. She laughed.

She explained they most likely wouldn’t be interested because her experience had revealed administrators with big egos who wanted to be the originators and authors of new ideas — or at least take credit. That is an example of the old regime clinging to the past while stifling innovation and creativity.

Our world is smaller. It is more intimate. Transparency is happening whether we want it to or not. Age-old secrets spill into our laps via the Internet and cable TV and stand naked in our living rooms as more and more is revealed and exposed.

As the old is exposed, new hope is being born for a better world. But it will require a spirit of cooperation and a focus on the whole, not solely the individual.

The shootings of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 17 others in Arizona has opened, if just barely, the eyes of those in Washington as to their divisive words and actions. Their harmful and obstinate divide is symbolic of the old regime.

Creativity is nurtured and conceived in the fertile ground of the mind. It flourishes in a receptive environment. It flows through open channels. It becomes expansive and innovative with collaboration.

Certainly the time is ripe to come together and create for the common good for all. Are you in?

Susan Ann Darley is a creativity coach, arts writer and author. Through coaching and writing, she motivates people to use their talents and market their creative projects. For more information, click here, e-mail her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call 805.845.3036.

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