|The Reluctant Fool by LeslieLeeArt|
See Part One, Scrollwork's School for Fools Now Open
Roger Van Oech has a favorite strategy for stimulating creative thinking: Think like a fool. Fools everywhere take this as a compliment.
Roger notes that besides being a truth-teller, a fool challenges assumptions, sees what others overlook, and takes the contrary position in ways that make us think twice. If nothing else, a fool, when heeded, may avert disaster that nobody sees coming.
Once, an institution atop a hill decided to mark a milestone. They would ask a local boy who had made good to return to his provincial hometown and speak at the event. Everyone praised the plan. They asked the new scribe to draft a letter of invitation. It was practically a done deal, as the local boy had already spoken at a previous milestone.
The scribe Googled the invitee’s accomplishments to flatter him with their mention. Six links down was a detailed account of a world-renowned institution’s grim displeasure at the invitee’s admitted plagiarism. Horrified, the scribe derailed the plan and appealed to the man in the corner office.
The experience was rather like pointing out the emperor’s butt nakedness as the fans praised his exquisite new duds. The scribe realized that in following her own code of ethics, she had taken on the role of the fool. Would anyone listen?
The chief pennyraiser’s concern was dealing delicately with the major moneygiver who had suggested inviting the plagiarist. After much hemming and hawing, the plan was scrapped.
The institution then invited the Equivalent of the Queen, who accepted, to everyone’s shocked delight. The institution made history, as it was her first speech following the
Nobody credited the fool, of course, but little did she care. Remember, a fool’s credo includes “A fool isn’t in it for the prestige.” (It would have been nice if the fool had been allowed to keep her job as scribe in acknowledgement of her one usefool moment, but why that wasn’t so is a convoluted story involving microbes as metaphor, told here.)
Third and last part: How to be a fool (and what's in it for you)