By Harianto Herdiman

Friday, April 8, 2011


In my college years, I took a class which discuss about creative person and what traits that every successful person has in common.
One of the common traits is playfulness!
This word is wake up call for us, who self label ourselves to be a mature, and knowledgeable. The thing is, if we self label ourselves with those kind of prodigy, we are totally losing to nursery kids.
Nursery kids are playful! They don't mind to do new activities, open to suggestion, teachable, and dare to fail. In other words, Playful.
I think, something's wrong with our education system and social interaction; eliminating the level of playfulness which we used to have. School forces students to hold a pencil, do their math, follow the formula, listen to boring lecture, and read what other people told them to read. Such a sad illustration to our education worldwide. I've been studying in two sides of this world. East and west and from my observation, those activities are very typical; what students can expect in school. On the contrary, what I expect from education as a student is freedom to choose what he want to learn. In university level, one can choose his specialization. I choose my specialization and I have no regret with my bad grades because I "play" with them. I do mistake, but I learn from them and seek for possibilities.
Some people still aim for high grades in school to fulfill society expectation and forget how to play with their mistakes. Clearly, our society is losing the big picture, to create innovation.
In my opinion, false expectation is the pitfall which eliminate playfulness.

Without playfulness, we close possibility.
Take Thomas Alva E for example, if he had not been playful with every combination of the materials he used in order to create light bulb, we might have to change our light bulb every week.

At the very end of this short thought, I just want to say that there is nothing wrong to be playful. Mistakes and moments of emberasement happen, but as they increase, the length of the path decrease.

The moment of revelation usually come not in a serious/deep thinking. Creative and out of the box solution often come when we "play" I often amaze myself because I have a brilliant ideas when I take my late night shower. They just jump in when I'm toying with water.

1 comment:

  1. I think I get your point, that it is necessary to think out of the box and be radical/different and experiment with what we have.

    On the other hand, I would not call what Edison did as "playful" or playing. He made a calculated decision and his inventions were not based on "luck". The word "play" tends to suggest that if there are anything that result from the "play" are based on mere coincidence or luck.

    Also, almost all of these inventors or successful people who were able to think out of the box started with a strong vision. Yes, they maybe trying new ideas/implementations here and there, but their vision is fixed and strong. This also suggest that merely trying ideas or playing around will not necessarily yield any good or any result at all.

    There is a famous Japanese proverb that says "Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare."