Do you know why kids are so creative? … and enthusiastic about it at the same time? It’s simple! They have yet to learn that they’re NOT creative.
An amazing study was once conducted among kindergartners that certainly illustrates this point. The children were given a white piece of paper with a medium-sized black dot in the center of the page. They were asked to describe what they saw. Here are just a few of the answers they recorded.
- A squashed bug as seen from an airplane.
- A snowman’s eye which fell into the snow as he ran away.
- An ice-fisherman’s hole in the lake after he left.
- A rabbit hole in a snow-covered back yard.
- The top of a telephone pole in Alaska as seen by an astronaut.
The same picture was later shown to a group of seniors in high school, and the majority of them agreed on the same answer — a black dot on a white piece of paper!
What happened to this last group of students between their first and last years of school? They obviously lost their creativity, imagination, and resourcefulness. They had little or no desire to let their minds wander without the fear of rejection. Can you imagine what happened between their senior year and their first day in the work world? Frightening isn’t it?
Well, let me tell you about a young man who managed to avoid that sad transition.
His name is Hart Main, and he’s only 13 years old. This young entrepreneur has done for candles what Netflix did for movie rentals and Groupon has done for coupons. Last November his 12-year-old sister was selling candles to raise money for school. Hart, who wasn’t crazy about the girly scents, joked that there ought to be candles for guys — guys who didn’t want their bedrooms to smell like lavender soap or fresh laundry.
I’m sure a lot of people would agree with Hart. However, the difference between this young man and those people is very obvious. He took action! He did something about what he identified as a challenge.
He created a candle with a masculine aroma. He calls them “ManCans,” and they’re available in a variety of unique scents such as Grandpa’s Pipe, New Mitt, Fresh Cut Grass, Campfire, New York Style Pizza, Coffee, Dirt, Bacon, Crackerjack, Sawdust, Hot Coco, Buttered Popcorn, Bubblegum, and Breakfast in Bed (bacon coffee flapjacks).
He sells each ManCan for $9.50 and is certainly doing well for a startup. He’s averaging 300 orders a week and requests for his products are growing. Hart makes the candles in soup cans, so he purchases soup and donates it to local soup kitchens. He then returns the empty cans, and he and his mother make the candles in their kitchen. He orders oils from suppliers around his home state of Ohio and combines them with the wax. They’re currently looking for a space to rent as making the candles in the kitchen is getting out of hand.
Adults close to the 13-year-old entrepreneur are impressed how the 13-year-old has risen to the challenge of running his own company. Hart is apparently very much in charge of this business and is as hands-on as any CEO would be at the age of 50. He handles himself so well in media interviews and with the whole business that it’s amazing to watch, because you have to be reminded that this is a 13-year-old middle school student who simply wanted to be able to buy a bicycle with the extra money he would earn.
If a young man like this can capitalize on his creativity, most others can as well. In our creativity seminars, the majority of those attending deny they are creative. Is that true or are they in denial or unaware of their potential?
If you were given that piece of white paper with a black dot, what would you see?
Check out Hart’s website at www.man-cans.com. Listen to this young man as he describes his journey in this short video clip.