Creative Democracy

by Scott Noelle

Elections remind me of an enlightening conversation I had with my daughter when she was little...

“What’s that sign, Daddy?”

“That’s a political sign for the upcoming election.”

“What’s an election?”

I did my best to convey the abstraction of democracy to a 5-year-old. “Do you know what voting is?”


“Okay... Pretend we’re deciding what to make for dinner, and we’re choosing between pizza and spaghetti. Each of us gets to vote for which one we want... Which one would you vote for?”

“I want pizza AND spaghetti!”

Suddenly I was the student, and the lesson was clear: either/or, win/lose thinking is not something our kids are born with. It’s learned. Even if we don’t actively teach it to them, we teach it passively whenever we take scarcity and competition for granted.

Improve Your Groove

Today, pay close attention to your decision-making processes — your private “elections.” Are they based on scarcity and competition, or abundance and creativity?

Are you willing to concede your contentious elections and surrender to the creative process?

Originally published on 2006-10-03
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