by Zachary Towne-Smith
Who are you?
Who were you yesterday?
Who will you be tomorrow?
Who will you be at Mind Camp?
One of my favorite new trendy creativity games is Bananagrams. For those of you who haven’t played or read the directions tucked inside the yellow canvas banana-shaped pouch, it’s like speed Scrabble.
I like it because everybody’s working simultaneously, independently, and building in any direction they want. Chess on the other hand divides time into turns of varying duration, specifically developing strategic convergent thought processes (no less critical to creative thinking but less fun for me). Creativity is multiple simultaneous parallel perpendicular binary and infinite. The closer a game gets to that, the better it works to exercise your creativity.
One of my favorite rules of this game is that at any moment you can scatter your words to the wind and begin anew. When I play, I like to feel the possibility of a fresh start absolutely under my control. Whenever I want I can toss out the blockages and redundancies of the structure I’m building and re-lay the foundations.
It’s not easy to do though. I observe myself clinging to my creation, trying to squeeze a solution out of it, feeling the pressure of the competition. When frustration finally wins, I channel my inner Thanatos the destroyer (yin) and shatter my crossword. In the aftermath (or from the ashes) I sort through the same letter blocks, playing with innovative combinations. I’m always amazed at how many new possibilities open up for me, and how much fun it is to explore them.
For self-credentialed “creative people” like us, we know we have to reinvent our selves constantly and infinitely if we want to continue to flow and grow. But that’s easier said than done. We create our selves in our image of our selves and then cling to our creation like a clever bananagrams board.
Many of us cling even tighter. And with good reason. What if my new self doesn’t want to work where I’m working? What if my partner re-invents her self and hits the road? The possibilities are infinite once you let go of your present creation: your illusory self.
Mindcamp is an opportunity to reinvent your self. You’ll be among peers and leaders, teachers and friends who are all on the same journey.
If you choose, you can leave your old, comfortable, customary self at home. Arrive with a new name. Maybe your Mindcamp name represents something you’re striving toward, or running from. In the end it’s less important what name you choose than it is to resist the urge to share your standard “life details” or attempt to “investigate” other people’s habitual selves during the first 2 days while meeting tons of interesting new people and seeing some you know from years past.
It’s fascinating to see what conversations occur without the conversational crutches (where ya’ from?) and labels (I’m an engineer).
Who knows who you’ll discover inside of you?
But fear not, in the end you can go home and choose to reassume your trusty’ole self. Because unlike Bananagrams, with Mindcamp you can always “revert to last saved version” when you leave.
But I’m willing to bet you won’t.
“Yesterday’s hero becomes tomorrow’s tyrant unless he crucifies himself today.”
– Joseph Campbell
Zachary Towne-Smith presents Four Essential Elements: Practicing four elements essential to accessing the creative state at Mindcamp 2012.