These days I’m reading a book entitled “Creative Confidence”. If you are familiar with design thinking, you probably know the authors, David and Tom Kelley, inventors of the concept of design thinking. They also founded the d.school in Stanford, a place dedicated to helping people develop their creative abilities.
Every human is creative
The book talks about how everyone can develop his/her creativity, although you may usually think that you are not a “creative” person as, for instance, you can’t draw.
The authors move from the idea that we are all creative as we are human. It’s a natural talent that we all have, no matter if we are an accountant, a plumber or [put here your job]. You just have to practice your way to be creative.
Are you scared by snakes?
This practice includes a concept that has struck me: self-efficacy.
What is it? It’s one’s belief in one’s ability to succeed in specific situations or accomplish a task, according to the psychologist Albert Bandura, who studied and developed it. In other words, when we think we are able to do something, we have more possibilities to succeed.
Particularly, in the book the Kelley brothers explain how Bandura used it to train his patients as they improve their self-efficacy against something they fear, such as… snakes!
Learning “guided mastery”
He started saying that there was a snake in a room next to the door, where he and the patient were, and that their goal was to go there and touch the snake.
You can imagine the enthusiastic way the patient showed listening to the proposal. But what Bandura was going to ask was to go on step by step, with a series of little tasks to overcome the frightening mission. The first one was to watch the snake through a one-way glass. Then they open the door and move there to watch it and so on, until the patient arrives to touch the animal.
For each stage they took the time to allow the patient to get comfortable with each specific situation. Finally, he succeeded, winning a fear that lasted, more or less, from the beginning of his life. Bandura called it “guided mastery”.
Snakes & softwares
I find this anecdote enlightening as I saw affinities with learning how to use a software. Quite often I have noticed people who would like to create charts or to use a spreadsheet to analyse data. But they are also afraid of making something bad happen as they don’t know how to do it.
The good news – apart from the fact that no button inside tools for infographics actionates a nuclear bomb somewhere – is that we can benefit by a step by step approach similar to that proposed by Bandura.
Step by step actually is the only way that allows us to understand the logic of the software, its basics, to discover its features, the tricks we could need to make it work better, the ways we can put it to work according to our needs.
Some time ago I read this sentence somewhere: “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood”. I believe it’s true even about learning how to use technology. The guided mastery by Bandura is a useful path to follow in this discovery.