Jason Howmans

make it fun

If you’re reading this and you make your living from creating things, or thinking about making things, or any type of problem solving really, then you will no doubt understand the importance of state of mind.

It seems obvious that state of mind can affect the outcome of our interactions, and our lives in general. In fact, the Harvard Business Review prove this using data collected from a group of successful business leaders. But most people still don’t focus on tuning their state.

just play

Remember as a child how free your mind was to wonder. You would invent games and worlds and just play with them. There was no agenda, no goals, just play.

Now as adults we must be efficient, we must get stuff done, there’s no time for that play stuff, that’s just for kids. Well, maybe not. It’s been proven over and over that for problem solving; for being creative; our brains want to play. They want to explore and wonder.

When we try to think, we’re restricting our thoughts. Our brain is actually less active. It’s like when we try too hard to fall asleep, we just end up kinda lying there waiting for the morning. When we try to think, or be creative, we just end up waiting for an idea that never materialises.

This is akin to lateral thinking. The term was invented by a gentleman called Edward de Bono, and he wrote a few books on the subject. In a nutshell, he suggests that our brains are built for being creative. Think about the last time you were scared of something, you probably invented a whole scenario in your head that didn’t exist. Horror writers say that this is the best way to come up with really scary stories. Just listen for that creek or bang in the night and see what comes to you. The idea is to rest your mind against a problem instead of throwing yourself at it.

how we do

I’ve been thinking about this at MetaBroadcast recently, and I realised that we work this way fundamentally. We can be serious when the time is right, but when it comes to communicating ideas to each other as a team, we’re playful.

Ideas move around better when people are comfortable with each other – when we don’t take ourselves and each other too seriously. Our brains already know how to be creative and solve problems, we just need to get out of their way.

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