‘I wonder what will happen if…’
I picked up a stray Adidas Predator football boot this morning and I was reminded of how this particular piece of sporting kit came into being. For those unfamiliar with the boot, it was introduced in the late 90s and had a revolutionary textured layer which yielded extra power as well as better control and grip, allowing the wearer to emit more spin and curl on the ball. The concept was invented by a former player who was curious to know what would happen if he sliced up a rubber bouncy ball and stuck the pieces to his boot. Almost instantly the power was improved and after scientific tests and many re-designs, the boot was launched to huge success. Many boots today follow a similar design.
The development of the boot came down to curiosity and perseverance. It started with the question, ‘I wonder what will happen if…’ and then required the determination and resilience to see the idea through. Perhaps one of the most curious minds in history belonged to Thomas Edison and he summed up this inventing process neatly in two separate statements: ‘I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.’ and ‘Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is to try just one more time.’
Life for the inventor of the light bulb and movie camera (among many other things) could have been so different. As a child his incessant curiosity was too much for his school teachers and they decided that he was mentally deficient. Realising that school was not the right environment, his mother decided to keep him at home and encouraged his curiosity to the hilt. Later in life, Edison acknowledged this in his diary: ‘Thomas A Edison was a mentally deficient child whose mother turned him into the genius of the century.’ We have a great deal to thank Mrs Edison for and it underlines the truth that positive words of encouragement can change anyone’s destiny.
Thankfully most schools are not like Edison’s anymore and St Andrew’s certainly isn’t. We believe fully in the power of curiosity and that is why we encourage a creative spirit – through music, art, drama, dance and sport – so much. It is also why there is an emphasis on play in the early years because imagination is where it all begins. Think outside the box and be curious!