Whilst cooking lunch at the weekend, I was listening to a fascinating programme on Radio 4 called The Museum of Curiosity in which the guests donate exhibits to an imaginary museum.
One of the guests, Chilean scientist Isabel Berncke, was talking about the importance of play:
‘Play bonds, cements and builds relationships. It also builds your creativity because it’s like you are enhancing your internal repertoire of things and then you are under positive emotion and positive emotion literally opens your mind. Play is the chemistry of yes.’
Her phrase ‘the chemistry of yes’ jumped out at me: such a dynamic and exciting phrase! Remember those days at school in the chemistry lab where you worked with elements to see how they reacted – the fizz of magnesium ribbon when dropped into acid, the incredible blue of copper sulphate, the squeaky pop of hydrogen? Sure, we were working in those classes but it felt a bit like play. We learnt, we enjoyed, we remembered.
The chemistry of yes sounds like an exploration or a voyage of discovery. Berncke herself said play is ‘the only space where uncertainty is really fun – I don’t know the end of the joke, I don’t know the end of the game.’
So if play opens us up to more options and increases our creativity, how would it be if we incorporated some of that creative uncertainty into our work and our life? What might happen if instead of doing something the same way we always did it (which will probably result in exactly the same way it did last time), we played at decision-making? What if instead of making a shopping list for dinner, you bought one item from the middle shelf of the first five aisles in the supermarket and created something from those ingredients? If you usually write the marketing information for your product by considering all its features and benefits, why not come up with a huge list of all the things you really shouldn’t use the product for? Who knows what ideas this might spark off? What if you played at saying ‘yes’ to the all the ideas you’d usually say ‘no’ to? What fresh perspective might come from this?
Today’s pebble for you to play with: can you play with an idea this week to help you solve a problem in a fresh and creative way? Will you see how the chemistry of yes can add new options to your action plan?
What do you think?
Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching.
If you’d like to take action and create positive change in your work and life, why not email me to see how we could work together?