Linear thinking vs Jazz hands

Any top notch jazz musician knows how the scales work.  They typically know how to play the classics, and they can do it pretty well.  My uncle used to be in the “white glove” restaurant biz, following all the French fine dining protocols.  That is, before he went out and founded his own place – ranked one of the top restaurants in Vancouver and decidedly not white glove.  Picasso was an excellent landscape artist before he tried something new (and revolutionized the art world).

You need to learn the basics, no question.  But then where do you go?  Seth Godin blogged recently about his non-linear talking pad concept (think a powerpoint presentation only with 8 options, rather than just “back” or “next”).  The concept is  neat one.  If you’re a sales person on a presentation, how much of that is rehearsed?  How much is one dimensional; binary?  (forward or back, forward or back)  If you’re a teacher, is your lesson planned fixed, or are you planning on tailoring it to the kids in the room?

Not only is improvisation more fun than following the pre-determined all the time, it’s a sign of your excellence, too.  To do it well, you need to know which rules you can break, and which are there for your protection.  Master your field.  Then start learning.

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