My dog is very silly. She is goofy. She bounces around like a little kid (even at age 15), focused on that next treat. She is not afraid of being different. She is not afraid of making a mistake. Dogs never seem to get embarrassed. They aren’t filled with regret. Imagine if people were more like dogs. Imagine if it was okay for us to NOT know something. Imagine if it was okay to be goofy, to be silly, to be naive, to make mistakes, and to take risks. What a wonderful world that would be.
As adults, most of us have forgotten how to be silly. As kids, we were capable of being silly. We made silly faces. We danced silly dances. We said silly things in made up, silly voices. Some of us even had imaginary friends. Then, between our education system, adolescence, and a work hard and take no prisoners society, we stopped being silly. Now this may seem trivial to you, but I believe it has profound impacts on us and our society.
And many of us have that point in our lives that was the beginning of the end of our creativity and silliness. For me, it was my Uncle Bubba (yes, I do actually have an Uncle Bubba). I was acting silly and dancing around and he told me to stop because I looked “stupid”. That had a major impact on me. I now had to act “grown up”. I couldn’t be silly any more. At what point in your life did you start to leave your silliness behind? At what point did you opt for conformity and comfort? At what point did you give up that kid who loved to play?
Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge”. And yet, eventually, most of us leave our imaginations behind. Imagine (if you still can) the impact of this on innovation and creativity in the workplace. Imagine being so afraid of making a mistake or looking stupid, that you never contribute any new ideas. Imagine being so afraid of being wrong, that you never take any risks. Yet, this is the atmosphere in many companies, especially in the construction industry, especially in this economy.
So, start today. Vow to be silly. Vow to be goofy and naive. Vow to make mistakes. And do whatever you can to create that atmosphere in your workplace. We do many improvisational exercises that break down these barriers to creativity for individuals and companies. We actually teach adults how to play again. And the result is nothing short of remarkable. People actually open themselves up and feel free again for the first time in many years. Their creative juices start to flow again and they have incredible insights that they never knew they could have. They start contributing ideas to their companies that give them a competitive advantage. If you want to know more about how to create a creative and innovative workplace, contact me. I would love to talk to you about it.