By Mort Laitner
As I stared out into the classroom, forty-one students sat, stared and waited for my words of wisdom. They came from eleven nations and five continents. Their flesh tones ranged from milky white to midnight black. All of these smart kids were seeking a masters degree in Bio-Medicine. A bunch of left-brained twenty-something year old kids hungry for wisdom and for the initials, MD, DO or DDS to follow their names.
“What is creativity?” I asked.
Silence echoed off the walls. As seconds lapsed, I formed a new question.
“Are any of you creative?”
From the first row, A hand jumped into my face.
I examined the young woman who was attached to the hand. She is a slim, wild looking girl with great dark eyes. She wore jeans, a yellow halter top and two tattoos. On her right arm held one in the shape of a dagger and on her left appeared a fire-breathing dragon.
“Please tell me about your creative act?” I asked.
She pointed above the dagger to a set of letters burned into her skin and said.
“These letters stand for….”
My ears went deaf. Her act of creativity was getting some letters inked into her skin.
Okay, she was a millennial and I a baby boomer.
I asked myself.”In two generations had creativity fallen to this lowly depth.?”
As my ears unclogged, my voice resonated,
“Class please take notes. Here are today’s words of wisdom. Remember that most of your patients will think they are: better looking then they are, moths that think they are butterflies, more intelligent then they are, more highly skilled at love-making then they are and more creative then they are.”
I paused to let the thought sink in.
“Treat them with respect, but do under estimate their ability to love.
Nobel prize winner, Daniel Kahneman called it a ‘pervasive optimistic bias.’
He said,’Most of us view…our own attributes as more favorable than they truly are…”
I want the forty-one of you burn this thought into your brain. Most of you are owners of a pervasive optimistic bias. Be creative on how you handle this bias.