On January 7th, 2012 when I walk off the stage at TEDxYouth@TheWoodlands, that is how I hope the audience will describe my presentation.Â They have no choice you see because â€śRidiculous, Ludicrous, Amateurish!â€ť is in fact the title of my presentation.
Today, the words â€śridiculous, ludicrous, and amateurishâ€ť wear ugly grey connotations of the inept, the incompetent, the inappropriate, and the inane. But originally, they wore the vivaciously bright colors of laughter (ridere, Latin), play (ludere, Latin), and for-love (amare, Latin). It is these colors with which I paint my life.
The benefits to emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being that laughter, play and love bring are both intuitively obvious and supported by research. I am particularly interested in the additional practical benefits they bring to the development of creative capability and character in youth.When we laugh and play, we cross boundaries and make novel connections with ease. Boundaries that separate different domains of knowledge, different approaches for problem-solving, different assumptions and different attitudes. We are able to cross these boundaries and make connections easily when we play and laugh, because we are in a sense acting as if we were outside of our usual ego-protective selves. The things we do, say, think, and feel while we are outside of ourselves are deniable and so we are emboldened. â€śItâ€™s not really me suggesting that we train pet hamsters to filter spam emails, itâ€™s actually my playful avatarâ€™s idea so please donâ€™t think any less of me if you donâ€™t like the idea.â€ť
When we do things for the sheer love of doing them, we will likely persist. That is the power of intrinsic motivation. Not for glory, not for gold, but for the sheer joy of discovery, mastery, and meaning.Â In my mindâ€™s eye, it is 5:20 p.m. on January 7th. I am mid-way through my TEDxYouth@TheWoodlands presentation. I quote Richard Feynman speaking about this kind of joy from his 1965 Nobel banquet speech:
â€śImagination reaches out â€¦until suddenly I find myself momentarily alone before one new corner of nature’s pattern of beauty and true majesty revealed. That was my reward.â€ť
So laughter, play and for-love make a colorful and potent palette with which to paint the creative capability and character of youth.
In the weeks ahead, I will share my journey in working with schools to explore this palette. Future blog posts will include:
You Donâ€™t Have to be Creative to be Creative
Students Pursuing Innovation Creativity & Entrepreneurship (SPICE)
My Magnum Opus
Invent & Innovate
I would like to share with you, REEP Blog readers, a bit of my background:
- Twenty years experience consulting in the areas of Innovation, Organizational Development, Talent Development with large global industrial firms.
- Inspired by the kindness and innocence of 11 year old son during the 2005 World Expo in Japan to follow his path in serving the greater good.
- Currently working with schools to inspire and enable youth to develop creative capability and character as they solve local community problems through venture projects.
For 2012, my motto is â€śSeek More Ridiculous, Ludicrous, Amateurish!â€ťÂ Will you join me in embracing more laughter, play and for-love in our lives?
In my mindâ€™s eye, it is 5:30 pm on January 7th. I have just completed my presentation at TEDxYouth@TheWoodlands. As I shake the hand of the on-stage host, he tells me â€śthat was absolutely ridiculous, ludicrous, and amateurish!â€ťÂ I thank him with a broad satisfied smile.