I’m thinking about creativity lately. Specifically how hard it is to think of new paradigms from within our existing paradigm. There are a lot of reasons for this, but one of them is the reality that I am often the cause or creation of my own barriers to new paradigm thinking. Specifically, I’m thinking about how people use the word “culture” at times as an excuse. Mark Horstman is a consultant and co-founder of Manager Tools. He wrote this paragraph below that I thought was some good advice/thoughts, to help me overcome my own, self-imposed boundaries of culture and how that may at times limit my creativity.
“When a someone tells me, ‘that won’t work in our culture,’ we think he or she is wrong.
Here’s the first reason: “culture” is a VERY strong word. It has become imbued, in the modern world with special powers that demand a respect that borders on myopia. If someone says, ‘oh, that’s against my culture,’ that’s a LOT different from, ‘we’ve never done it that way,’ or,’ that doesn’t make sense to me,’ or, ‘I’m uncomfortable with that.’ The culture comment gets you a million fellow defenders, arguing that it would be disrespectful to do it the new way.
Almost no one individual can honestly purport to represent any one culture. Usually what they mean by ‘culture’ is actually the more precise word of ‘customs’. Meaning, what you’re suggesting is not customary.
Next time someone says, ‘that’s against my culture,’ do a little thought experiment. Instead of hearing, ‘culture’, substitute the word ‘customs.’ You might find that you now can continue the discussion.” ~ Mark Horstman