THE BLOG

On How "Normal" People Can Make it To the Top

07/30/2013 11:43 EDT | Updated 09/29/2013 05:12 EDT

Excerpt from a communication I received after winning Canada's #1 Female Entrepreneur:

"I opened my wife's Chatelaine Magazine while waiting for the kids to finish in the bath tub and saw your photo there. Wow, good for you. I was so surprised to see you in there. I remember you from school. I used to think that you probably passed just because you were in sports."

De-coded, this communication reads: Wow. I thought you were a dummy or at best average. How did someone like you succeed? Why aren't I in a magazine highlighting my success because I was far smarter than you.

Fair enough. That guy was better at school than I was. Hands down.

We tend to think that to be successful or a game changer in any industry that we have to be brilliant, have a high IQ and an ability to channel in on extraordinary opportunities for discovery.

Luckily for me, one does not have to have a high IQ, be brilliant or have any woo-woo channeling powers. You just have to be a little playful with your mind. In my opinion one simply has to maintain or develop the ability to let your mind play creatively and you have a good change and disrupting the status quo, game changing, succeeding.

Important note -- creativity does not mean that you are a musician or painter and play does not mean hitting a bat with a ball.

Creativity is defined as the use of the imagination or original ideas.

Play is defined by engaging in an activity for enjoyment rather than a serious or practical purpose.

Luckily for me, I developed a creative mind through my practice of play when I was a child and I kept that way of thinking active. I am a player who paid little attention to the system of measurement that consistently told me I was not smart enough to make it in the big wide world. In fact, my GPA landed me on academic probation a time or two but I still believed that because of the unique way I see the world, I would be able to see an opportunity in a way no one else did and act on it with success.

I give my mind time to play and get creative. My mind gets time to toss a word in edgewise between the clutter of deliverables, responsibilities, should's and have tos.

I am not the only person who believes it is possible for 'normals' to make it to the top. A clever lady named Dr. Barbara Kerr and her colleagues at the University of Kansas decided to turn the measurement of game changers and future big time successful folks on its head.

Instead of looking at 4.0 GPA cohorts and seeing where they were 10 years out, they took a group of people which high ability to think creatively, ingenuitively and be game changers and backed their brainy quotients out. What they found was good news for most of us, especially playful creative dummies like me.

On average these students had good GPA's however GPA's ranged from 4.0 to 0.85.

The study called these students creatively gifted (no matter what their GPA) and the study found the following:

"Creatively gifted students may be spontaneous, expressive, intuitive, and perceptive, with evidence of intellectual sophistication and childlike playfulness. They are very likely to be curious, open to new experiences, and innovative in many areas of their lives. They may express originality in thoughts, and are probably unafraid of what others might think of their ideas. Most likely, these students have a wide range of interests and abilities, and may be comfortable with ambiguity and disorder. Likely to be unconventional, creatively gifted students are imaginative, and may challenge the status quo."

Sound like the kind of person who might wind up doing something interesting or game changing? Sound like you in some ways?

So, to that nice fellow who sent me the congratulatory message regarding my Top Female Entrepreneur in Canada win I can share only this: standardized testing ends at the conclusion of school and then real life begins.

Who then is best prepared to act on the constantly changing unconventional future that rapidly rolls out before us? Is it those who can regurgitate things we are now able to Google with ease or is it those who have the ability to see the world anew and innovate or challenge the status quo through a playful mind providing them with new opportunities to succeed today and in the future?

I put my money on those with play at mind rather than big GPAs.

What do you think?

Comment below or Tweet at me: @kelseyramsden