We were sitting on the living room floor playing with Legos, talking about what we could build. Then, as our creation took shape, we started figuring out what else it looked like or what else it could be used for. The boat turned on end and blasted off into outer space. The house became a telephone. What else could it be?
“If we think about it, the magic will come.”
He’s so right. But as adults, we forget that. We forget what incredible powers of creativity we have, the ability to connect completely unrelated things in innovative ways. And everyone has it buried in there somewhere – but somewhere in the growing up process we lose that belief in ourselves. We forget how to suspend reality for a while and let our imagination take the reins. As adults we negate the possibility of thinking about things in ways other than what we’re told is appropriate.
An empty paper towel roll isn’t really a telescope or a megaphone.
An empty tissue box isn’t really a shoe.
A shirt stuck on your head isn’t really a cascade of long hair.
Heavens, no! Just imagine where those kinds of thoughts might lead someone! But that’s my point – imagine where those kinds of thoughts might lead someone…
This very short yet very wise person has helped me open myself back up to the “magic.” To let myself think about things in unconventional ways, and to come up with solutions that go against the rules. To let go of the self-censoring for a while and imagine possibilities rather than focusing so much on why it couldn’t possibly work.
In his book Linchpin, Seth Godin argues that our society has been structured to churn out “mediocre;” there are set parameters that we must stay within for the factory system to maintain its privilege, and we’re taught from a very young age to stay within them to be accepted, to get a job, to live the “American Dream.” Except that system isn’t working anymore, and those that can think beyond those walls are the ones that have the upper hand now. (I won’t spoil it for you – if you want to find out more you can read the book Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? [affiliate link] for yourself.)
My young one will learn soon enough that the outside world is a little uncomfortable with playful thinking, so I’m going to encourage him to keep it going on the home front – as much for my sake as his. Don’t be surprised at anything you see when you walk in our front door. With any luck, we’ll all be pleasantly surprised by what comes out of it.
So go think about it. The magic will come.