“For every nine people who denounce innovation, only one will encourage it. . . . For every nine people who do things the way they have always been done, only one will ever wonder if there is a better way. For every nine people who stand in line in front of a locked building, only one will ever come around and check the back door.
“Our progress as a species rests squarely on the shoulders of that tenth person. The nine are satisfied with things they are told are valuable. Person 10 determines for himself what has value.” -Za Rinpoche and Ashley Nebelsieck, in The Backdoor to Enlightenment (Three Leaves)
The pessimistic side of me wants to say that in schools, the proportion is probably one out of every twenty, or perhaps even higher. But that’s just me being whiny.
What this book excerpt reminds me of:
- Ian Jukes’s Committed Sardine metaphor
- about 203,094,820 faculty meetings I’ve been to where one person speaks out about doing something differently, and gets verbally crucified
- the feeling I have after I finish a really good yoga session, when I have the most clarity about what I determine as valuable for myself
Questions I have:
- Is it in a person’s nature to be that 10th person? Or can one learn to question and be curious?
- How long before that 10th person becomes tired of always being “the only one” who’s encouraging innovation, asking if there’s a better way, and going around to the back door? How many times before s/he gives up?
- What would happen if the proportions shifted? What if, in a group of 10, there were 4 people who were always asking the questions and finding new ways of doing things? What would that look like?
- Should leaders in our schools be the 10th person?
Photo credit: Mozzer502