No one taught us how to play.

We just tried stuff... until some of it worked.

We are all bad at new things when we first start.

Seth Godin on a recent podcast talked about Wayne Gretzky being bad at hockey when he was 3 years old. (25 min mark)

His point? The way to get good at something, is to be bad at it in the beginning.

Be ok with being bad at the beginning, and commit to getting better.

Seth Godin with a cheesy smile on his face

Adult Life

At some point, we stop playing.

We stop allowing ourselves to be bad at things before we get good at them.

Being an adult means being proficient at everything we set our minds to doing.

We tell ourselves that being an adult means never failing.

Never trying things we are not sure we can do.

Become like a child

The Bible says we need to be more childlike to enter the kingdom of heaven.

What if that was a better way to live here and now as well?

What if we looked at failures not as defeat, but simply a learning data point.

What if we told ourselves "Well, that didn't work, guess I will need to try something else."

Do you remember what it was like to finally learn that new skill you were trying so hard to accomplish?

For me, it left like:

  • Rush of excitement
  • A sense of accomplishment
  • Newfound pride in my skills

From hackysack, to rubic's cubes, every new skill under my belt reinforced my identity of someone that could learn anything.

What changed?

Carol Dweck in the book Mindset gives some insight into why some of us loose that childlike ability.

At some point, many of us become stuck.

We believe who we are is fixed and will not change.

As Carol puts it, we can feel like our “... qualities are carved in stone—the fixed mindset—creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over”.

She calls this a fixed mindset.

I have had a few bosses that had a fixed mindset... the moment I made a mistake, they saw it as confirmation of who I was, instead of a competent person that made an error.

And with ADHD, I tend to make errors.

But... you know who else makes lots of errors? People learning something new.

Primed to learn

Do you feel like you are good at picking up new skills or hobbies?

Like.. really good at it?

You can get thrown into chaos, and make order of it.

It is true for me, and may be for you.

Why is that?

Perhaps, our ADHD primes us to feel comfortable with uncertainty, and even chaos.

My brain is constantly interrupting my current thoughts with new ones. At this point, I am used to going with the flow, never knowing quite where my brain will take me next.

So what...?

So... what if we approached work and life more like play.

Carol might call this new frame of mind "Having a growth mindset".

I call it having more fun.

I call it letting things roll off my back.

I call it trying challenging tasks like they are part of a playground instead of a board room.

What if we gave ourselves permission to fail, and just get back up again?

What would life look like if you played more as an adult, instead of less?

Play can be hard work.

Play can be challenging.

Play can even be scary.

But play can be freeing.

Play gives you permission to fail.

Play lets you lean into your strengths, instead of resenting your weaknesses.

Let's all play a little more :)

How are you going to play a little more this next week?

P.S. If you tried replying to this newsletter recently, it probably, almost definitely bounced. Thanks for giving it a shot!

Replies should be fixed now, but who knows... it could break again! Reply if you dare, and we will both get to see what happens :)

P.P.S. Want to see me playing? I bought some drift skates a while back, and recorded a little video trying them out.