In the following paragraph below, professional facilitator Viv McWaters writes about why he finds games so useful in his practice. While reading the blog entry, I was reminded about why curiosity is so important, and think that McWaters and the IdeaFestival share the same sympathies. See if you don't agree:
Lots of times games are not necessary. Yet time and again, I’m seeing groups playing a different game – with me, and with each other. They are doing and saying what’s expected, using language to obfuscate rather than clarify, staying abstract and safe – and all the while sounding very grown up. In fact, they’re staying safe. They are not stepping to the edge of their knowledge or awareness, they are not taking risks (even when they espouse that they are a real risk-taking company) nor are they willing to be vulnerable....
Many of us have become experts in our heads – we can say what’s needed, we can justify our position.
Touche. It's safe to say that I hold dear to certain ideas that may not bear scrutiny, or self-defeating thoughts reinforced by an internal dialog that rehearses all the right answers to the wrong questions. It's understandable to a degree. We all have value as human beings, and any answer that would suggest otherwise ought to be dismissed. It's the difference, of course, between being wrong and being wrong about the facts.
But those external facts are niggling, aren't they? And if I'm going to go beyond a reflexive defensiveness, If I am going to profit from the experience of others, then a willingness entertain challenging ideas is not just an act of courage, but one of personal development. Scott Berkun makes much the same point in recent blog post, asking: when was the last time you changed your mind about something important?
Perhaps it's a journal that sheds light on a pattern of inaction, or that trusted friend who can challenge your thinking, or maybe you make a point of attending the IdeaFestival next Oct., but it's important to find a practice that regularly exposes you to things that you may not, at first glance, appreciate or like. McWaters believes play can go a long way toward overcoming the privilege we accord our own thinking.
"Staying put," as Mars scientist Nathalie Cabrol says in the video here, risks, if we think about carefully, much more than we may realize. Listen carefully as she connects outer to inner exploration.