We have the potential to do so much better and even create enjoyable lives for everybody. This is a believe I share with many others. But, we should not be blind to things that are happening around us, which at times can be discouraging. All the misery we see can make us feel helpless and insecure about the future. Feel helpless. I mean don't fight this feeling, let it exist. Get familiar with it. Apathy or indifference is trying not to feel the pain. It is closing yourself of. Whether it is with your personal issues or with larger ones. What I am trying to say is that feeling helpless is not the same as being helpless. Feeling helpless is allowing yourself not to know what's going to happen in the future. Feeling helpless allows you to get out of the state of expectations and into the state of being, and more doing. According to Socrates the only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing. What I had to learn is that this wisdom of not knowing is something I needed to feel. A feeling of knowing the unknown.
It is only interesting if it might not work. This is what my head teacher in the subject of Insecurity Seth Godin tells me. There was a time that I wanted everything to work. In order to achieve that I needed to control everything. To be able to control everything I needed to know what was going to happen. And I only could know what was going to happen, if I had experienced the situation before. In others words, situations where I could not predict the outcome became very frightening and I did not know how to deal with them. It made me insecure and less playful, and consequently more serious. My world remained small or as big as it was. I had managed to box myself in. I did not want to feel helpless. I thought feeling helpless was bad. So, I would not enter into situations in which I could be rejected. I did not know how to deal with rejection. I had a desperate need to be recognized for the things I did, constantly seeking for approval. Basically, I took everything that did or did not happen much too personal.
I didn't realize that what I was doing was quite so dangerous, until I saw a presentation of Dr. Stuart Brown of the National Institute of Play. In which presentation he explained that play is essential for our survival as a species. He further explains that play is borne out of curiosity. That curiosity through play leads us to explore the surroundings and options. That playing with other people is also a way of regulating our emotions. That play learns us to adapt to new situations, because we're not afraid to experiment with it. But, we only play if it feels save to play. If it is save enough to take risks. Playing builds life experience. So, when we're not playing and the situation gets "dangerous" we have the skills to cope with it. Which we would not have had, if we hadn't played beforehand. Therefore this presentation of Brown is called "Play is more than just fun."
An important factor of creating something new is the ability to play with the subject or object one's trying to create. Seth Godin will tell you, that if you know the result beforehand, it isn't new. So, to be creative we need to play with a subject or object, which will lead us to an uncertain outcome. Because of this knowledge, my main objection against massive standardized testing is simply that it is not stimulating creative thought and practice. Secondly, you cannot teach what you don't understand yourself. I do Shotokan Karate, and I have two wonderful teachers who have a great understanding of karate. Luckily for me, it gives me the opportunity to learn a lot. Creativity is like karate, you learn it by doing and you need a teacher with a black belt in creativity. Creativity like karate is a process of continues learning. An endless well of exploration of your creative abilities. In my home country the Netherlands I am at the moment trying to launch a program on the creative process, which will put together artists, entrepreneurs and scientists to share their experiences on this topic. I may not succeed in this grandiose enterprise and I do wish you to be able to benefit from the creative knowledge I have collected thus far. If you're interested you can find a collection of presentations on the creative process via this link. Please don't hesitate to add the stuff that inspires you, it is most welcome and appreciated.
If we're going to play it is nice and practical to have a playground. You can have your own. I for some weird reason enjoy it more and more to play in the sandbox of somebody else. And one of my favorite sandboxes to visit is The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). Their Chief Executive, Winnetou, excuse me I mean Matthew Taylor, has started a new game and has invited the (global) tribe to come and play. The name of the game is "#PowerToCreate". Taylor argues that we need to work towards a world that gives people the freedom to make the most of their capabilities. And that this will involve tackling the many constraints that limit individuals, and lock them out of the creative process. He states that this can be done by combining new leadership and institutions that give us hope and excitement about the future, with a championing of individual creative endeavor and a 21st century spirit of solidarity and collaboration.
Let's play together. Join this initiative of integrating different people and organizations for a common goal of a glorious future, whatever that may be. One team with many players bundling their power to create.