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Underbelly: 10 Things - Play

Wendy Kelly
Wendy Kelly
#99 in a series of wild and precious things to help you practice and play.

  1. TWIL (This Week I Learned)
This week I contemplated play.
Two metaphors for our lives converged this week — and I realized that at times, we might be either preparing for a leap or we are stuck.
And that, at least for me, sometimes the difference is subtle.
At one point this week I could not leave the house — reading a book on our stuckness as a society (The Dawn of Everything <= excellent) shoveling buttered popcorn in the general direction of my face, warmed by the fire — very stuck.
And, also, perhaps, preparing. There’s a stillness that happens before we are about to do something that scares us: a heightened awareness of ourselves in space and our body — breathing, muscles tensed, pulse.
I want to say that the difference between stuck and preparing is awareness — maybe?
2. Quote
“Why the real question is not "What are the origins of social inequality?” but “How did we get stuck?” — The Dawn of Everything, David Graeber and David Wengrow
“But Ericsson was not pleased. He wrote a rebuttal paper in 2012, called The Danger of Delegating Education to Journalists. (<= I happen to just love that title :) )
"The 10,000-hour rule was invented by Malcolm Gladwell who stated that, ‘Researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: 10,000 hours.’ Gladwell cited our research on expert musicians as a stimulus for his provocative generalisation to a magical number,” Ericsson writes.
Ericsson then pointed out that 10,000 was an average, and that many of the best musicians in his study had accumulated “substantially fewer” hours of practice. He underlined, also, that the quality of the practice was important.
In contrast, Gladwell does not even mention the concept of deliberate practice,” Ericsson writes.“ — Ben Carter Can 10,000 hours of practice make you an expert?
"Ericsson finds world-class champions — whether weight-lifters, pianists, or a dog-sled team — tend to limit arduous practice to about four hours a day. Rest and restoring physical and mental energy get built into the training regimen. They seek to push themselves and their bodies to the max, but not so much that their focus gets diminished in the practice session. Optimal practice maintains optimal concentration.” — Daniel Goleman, Focus (via Brain Pickings)
3. Prompt
My guess is that you know whether you are stuck or preparing for something by how deliberate you are. And you need to rest. So you can go back to deliberate practice.
Deliberate includes an awareness that is often really not fun. I would say that deliberate practice during a time where you are making lots of mistakes is exactly that time where you would rather just stay stuck — and potentially try to convince yourself that you are actually preparing yourself, practicing.
So: Are you stuck or are you preparing?
Or are you resting? Valid!! Rest away :)
4. Quest
Okay - a long time ago, I taught ESL at Whistler Language Institute. At the time, we would sometimes play these silly games from a book called Kokology.
Here is one of them:
In the Bag
You find a closed black briefcase on the street. There’s nobody else around, and when you open it to find out the owner’s name, a bundle of cash spills out – and no ID. The money is almost certain to become yours.
What is your reaction?
1. “Hey, this must be my lucky day!”
2. “Oh no, what am I going to do now?”
3. “I’d better take a night to think this over.”
4. “God must have wanted me to have this.”
To see what your response “means” scroll down to #11:
5. Level-UP / Go Deeper
The idea of that little quiz is to give you an idea of how you make decisions. It’s silly. Kokology quizzes also often make me laugh out loud with their precision, so…
Sometimes we can be so serious with ourselves, I think, and we forget that this journey around the sun is supposed to include playfulness. So even preparing for something really amazing that you want to do, or resting, or whatever you choose to do remember to play this week…
6. Video — Stuart Brown is the PLAY expert :)
Why is Play Important? - Dr. Stuart Brown - Dirt is Good
Why is Play Important? - Dr. Stuart Brown - Dirt is Good
7. Longer Video — I stumbled upon Stuart Brown’s work ages ago — he was answering a question around why people murder and found the one variable all serial murderers had in common was a childhood devoid of … PLAY! So, if you feel murderous this week, go out and play :)
Stuart Brown: Play is more than fun
Stuart Brown: Play is more than fun
8. Poem
21 Short and Sweet Shel Silverstein Poems That’ll Bring You Back to Ch – HarperCollins
9 Hero — A bit overly personal, Jake Johannsen happens to be my favorite comedian. Who is yours?
Jake Johannsen - Wikipedia
10. Share/Connect/Action
The Why behind this newsletter, the website, and the Wild and Precious podcast
11. Answers! Also, these are freely available — here — the book is a couple decades old and there are several now.
Key to In the Bag
1. You have a childlike capacity for joy.
2. It’s OK to feel uncertain, but in the end the decision is up to you. Don’t wring your hands too long – someone else may take your good fortune away.
3. You’re a deliberate person who seldom relies on your instincts. Do you ever take a risk?
4. Either you don’t take divine intervention very seriously, or you think of dating as a religious experience.
Don’t miss out on the other issues by Wendy Kelly
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Wendy Kelly
Wendy Kelly @wendykkelly

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