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Drawing the black and white world in a totally blue kind of way

July 19, 2011

There is a wonderful book by Crockett Johnson called Harold and the Purple Crayon.  In the book, Harold has a magic crayon that allows him to draw the world in whatever way he wants.  When he wants to go for a walk, he draws a path. When he finds himself in the ocean, he draws a boat.

I wish we all had a magic crayon that allowed each of us to create a world that is perfectly suited to our needs.  Since we don’t, we have to use the tools we do have to create a world that works for us. We have to find our own colorful crayons and use them to help us navigate the world we have.

For many people who experience neurodiversity (AD/HD, Asperger’s, Autism, etc.) this is the key to success.

We live in a world primarily populated by people  for whom this world was specifically designed. For lack of a better analogy, let’s say they are the black and white people in the black and white world. Everything they see is in black and white.   Because they are black and white and the world is black and white, they fit here.  They understand the rules of this world and because they match this world, they know how to do all the different things that this world requires.

But if you aren’t one of the black and white people, navigating the black and white world can be a never-ending series of challenges and obstacles.

Let’s say you are a blue person trying to find your way in a black and white world.  You don’t see in black and white, you see in blue and you don’t think like the black and white people think.  Both of these things make it difficult to find your way around.  There are some things you can do easily, often faster and easier than the black and white people.  But other things, things that seem so easy for the black and white people feel impossible.  And most of the people in your life – your Dad, your teachers, your boss, your spouse – they are all black and white people and they don’t understand what it means to be blue.  Some of them don’t even believe there is such a thing as being a blue person because they can’t see the blue and because they can’t see what the world looks like through a blue person’s eyes.

You do your best and try to function in the black and white world.  But you don’t know the rules and you don’t have the right tools to do things the way the black and white people do them.  You want to be and do and have all the things that are promised by the black and white world, but you don’t know how.  You feel frustrated, angry, hurt, misunderstood, lost, and alone.

In the book, when Harold loses his way in the world, he simply draws his bedroom window and finds himself back in familiar surroundings.  As simple as it seems, those of us who are blue or purple or green or magenta or silver with a dash of cyan need to do the same thing.  When Harold needs a path, he creates one, he doesn’t jump on someone else’s path and hope it will get him close enough to where he needs to go.   When blue people have a challenge, they need to find a way to create or design or change their environment so that is works for them and allows them to do black and white things in a black and white world in a totally blue kind of way.

For help in finding your own purple crayon, call or email me today to find out how coaching can help.

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