I am convinced we must rediscover playfulness.
Not discover, rediscover.
There was a time in all our lives when we played.
Then we grew up and we forgot how to.
Gamefulness is opens to us more of what we really want to do and to do more, full-stop.
To be good, to be really good at something, we have to train, but training sounds like hard work, but through gamefulness or play they become smaller games towards what we really want to do.
This morning I read ‘How most of Kickstarter‘s magic is simply that they made a game out of raising money.’* Kickstarter has a few rules which are ruthlessly enforced: set a deadline, set a minimum funding goal, keep to the deadline, have tiered levels for giving and thank-you gifts for each, and, leave the ownership entirely with the fund-raiser.
This is a finite game doing what it does best: supporting a bigger game – in this case, each of the Kickstarter projects.
What is it you really want to do with your life to express creativity and generosity, thereby providing you with enjoyment? What are some of the smaller games (training) you need to play in order to pursue the larger game and to up your game?**
Leah Robb suggests there are three ways a piece of art can be developed: craftsmanship, substance, and innovation. Ideally the “big picture” will push each of these as far as possible, though depending on what is being pursued, this can’t always be so: Leah suggests Tracey Emin’s Unmade Bed is high in innovation, not so high in substance, and lowest in craftsmanship.^
Our smaller games (or training), in support of the big game, can focus on one or more of these three components at any time. Substance games can develop who we are and the purpose we are pursuing, craftsmanship games work on the skills, and innovation games enable us to look divergently across new fields and disciplines with the aim of fuelling our imaginations.
Games are serious ways for becoming more engaged in what we must do.^^
(*From Chris Anderson’s Makers; Kickstarter is the online crowd-funding movement for a diversity of projects; I’m working on onemyself.)
(**Imagine paying to go to a Premiership football match – better still a Championship game to watch Middlesbrough – only to find the players hadn’t trained since the last game – in fact, they hadn’t trained between games for several months – and now you’re watching them sluggishly move around the pitch, misdirect passes, argue with one another because they can’t agree what system to play. Our lives move up through the gears as we gamefully train for what we do.)
(^What do you think?)
(^^When Martin Luther King Jr. arrived in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963, he and his workers were very much the underdog. What they did was to play a game which suited their goals and strengths – King to local activist Wyatt Walker: “Wyatt, you’ve got to find the means to create a crisis, to make Bull Connor tip his hand” – Eugene (Bull) Connor was the city’s racist public safety commissioner. A photograph, resulting from a peaceful march which had brought out the violence of racism horrified a nation and began to change things. This story is explored by Malcolm Gladwell in David and Goliath.)