“Play on purpose – simply to boost your ‘experiential capital!’” – Futurist Jim Carroll
Today’s theme in my series “Insight 2020: Leadership Insight for the Era of Acceleration” – #6 of 20 – is “Boost Experiential Capital!” Learn more about the series here: https://insight2020.jimcarroll.com – it runs through the month!
Let me explain the context: it’s a story that I started telling on stage about 1999 or so, when it became evident to me that many organizations were unclear of how to prepare for the faster, more complex world around them.
One bit of my advice came to be built upon a personal philosophy that I have long subscribed to: buildmore play time into your day! That will help you to build up the skills, knowledge and insight that you need for the new unknowns that you will face.
When you play, you are discovering new things, new ideas, new concepts, new technologies – new toys! – you can certainly have a lot of fun! But you also quite likely learn a lot at the same time, somehow falling into something that will be useful in the future.
So let me tell you about my ‘Peleton’ biking experience! Today, we’ve got a hot new company that is in the news with their hyper-connected bicycle. Years ago, I had one in my basement, and it led to the discovery of a lot of new knowledge.
Back in 1996, shortly after the birth of my second son, I began to exercise more at home – an exercise bike was a big part of my activity. To keep it interesting and goal-oriented, I decided I should “ride” across the country, marking my progress each and every day on a large map on a wall. I was quite diligent at it, and made it all the way from Halifax to Thunder Bay before I decided going to an actual gym would be more beneficial.
But here’s the interesting thing: I used the effort as a huge learning experience too. I was hearing a lot of about Unix and Linux and things like that, and decided it was something I should know about. So somewhere along the way, I started putting some computers and screens and keyboards at my bike station, and started geeking out while cycling.
Here’s the last photo I have before disassembling the setup many years later.
It was my Peloton setup – computers, screens, an objective!
But the best thing was that each and every day, I was investing an hour or so on an absolutely frivolous project that really had no goal, no objective, no outcome.
Today? I’m pretty proficient at understanding all kinds of different aspects of Linux, which helps me to interpret, analyze and understand all kinds of major trends involving such technology as the Internet of Things and more.
Key lesson? Here’s the more serious, business oriented version of the quote: “Do things that have a vague objective, unknown potential for success and an absolutely uncertain payback – simply to boost your ‘experiential capital!’
The more you play, the better positioned you are for the future.
Do more things that don’t have an objective, serve no purpose, and are there for no other reason than believing that somehow, one day, they will lead to something useful!