Iʼd like my crayons back, please.

Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten.

Then when you hit puberty they take the crayons away and replace them with books on algebra etc. Being suddenly hit years later with the creative bug is just a wee voice telling you, “Iʼd like my crayons back, please.”       

~ Hugh MacLeod.  HowToBeCreative

This tickled me when I read it. I’ve been following Hugh on Twitter for a few months now and subscribe to his daily newsletter. He’s a cartoonist and draws and writes about authenticity, individuality, and creativity with a certain edge that I really enjoy. I find him frank, restless and angry. Check him out; he has some very interesting things to say: http://gapingvoid.com/

As I reach the end of my time at Henley I’m still listening to those “wee voices” Hugh speaks of. There seem to have been a lot of them lately: My “kayak to school” voice, Henley faculty encouraging us to find meaning in our work, various chirps and tweets from the web, and the echo of Steve Jobs’ Stamford address imploring us to “stay hungry, stay foolish”.

Responsibility for crafting our dream career lies squarely with us. Nilofer Merchant’s Harvard Business Review article “Steve Jobs’s Legacy: Design Your Own Life” urges us to embrace our uniqueness and to try to be our greatest self.

Hugh manages to convey the same message in two lovely cartoons:


I guess crafting a dream job is more than an afternoon’s work.  It may take years.  That’s OK with me.

For now I’ve got my crayons back in my own little way: investigating creative problem solving for my MBA dissertation. Who knows where it will lead.  I’m trusting that the dots will somehow connect in the future…

To everyone in FT10: good luck getting your crayons back 🙂

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Rob is a consultant, technologist, facilitator and outdoorsman. He lives with his wife in Henley-on-Thames.

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