Keeping work playful – updated! 1

Einstein is quoted as saying “Love is a better teacher than duty.” John Anderson extended that to “Memorization is a function of duty; knowledge comes only from love.”

We are hard-wired to be people of community, it’s in our DNA. No amount of new-agey nonsense can change that. We also know that trust is most often built through shared experience. These truths weave together beautifully for the success of a lean-startup publishing project our partnership has launched in Romania.

Recently I had the chance to experience the insight of Clay Collins and soon realized that Clay, Eric Ries and Ash Maurya shop at the same tailor: they wear drastically different garments (what they are “clothed in” verbally, business sector, approach, etc.), which are exquisitely fitted to them, yet cut from the same bolt of cloth: Lean is Green. (No not that kind of green. Truly sustainable development is beyond sloganeering. People deserve better!) Each message is shaped in their own personal style yet the synergies are impressive. In this post I’ll be covering two main points to bring some specifics of Lean Publishing in Romania.

In Walter Ong‘s excellent book “Why Talk,” he describes language as “a search for meaning, and meaning is a particularly human kind of search.” (p5), later and more to the point for our project,

“When language gives out as a bridge, we make up for it with love. That is what you have to call it – love. Not only between husband and wife, or friends, but even in the more casual or routine kinds of social situations, love must still be present.

“If I am going to communicate with anybody at all, in language or otherwise, there has to be a certain love between us or communication won’t work, because the bridge won’t be made. It’s seldom that the love is pure, unmixed with other attitudes or reactions. But some love must be there. You have to give yourself to the other, assuming that the other person understands you and that you understand him…” (p35)

That powerful message is central to what makes Bridges between Generations such an inspiring effort, because helping children gain reading mastery truly unlocks the door to virtually anything they want to become! More importantly, US President Theodore Roosevelt famously said “to educate in mind but not in morals is to prepare a menace to society” which is more visibly true today than in the past 50+ years.

In light of the ambitious pace of progress that we keep, I thought it might be high time that we had a moment of reflection to ensure that we are maintaining the playfulness that children-at-heart need to get the most out of the events they attend. Without this playfulness, work becomes a burden to be endured rather than a refreshing engagement that allows us the privilege to serve others with our unique gifts.

Embracing Our Destiny, Part II, from a blog series I wrote last fall, expresses this in more detail; walking readers through the threads of faith, friendship and finances as they weave the fabric we call experience. As regular readers of my blogs recognize by now, I love analogies. Theme two of this post is focused on three points David Billington makes in The Tower and the Bridge:

· The Dutch cultural historian Johan Huizinga (1872-1944) argued in a full-length book that humanity goes by three names: Homo Faber, Homo Sapiens, and Homo Ludens (man the maker, man the knower and man the player).

· Play has a tendency to be beautiful.

· He really means to argue that play is central to civilization and that it is essential to an ordered society.

Huizinga’s last point dovetails beautifully with the Sophrosyne Project‘s core mission: expanding children’s capacity to learn, to grow, to achieve, in spite of the pressures they face to conform to a failed social model.

One of the very grave challenges to educational modeling is that almost none of them of the past 50 years are any good. Is that fair? Of course it’s not fair. Steve Jobs was never fair, to his credit he was obsessed with delivering excellence. To his detriment, the way he delivered it demeaned and devalued the spirits of many around him, as well as many of his company’s core suppliers. Much of what’s being written about Jobs the man is fan-boy hagiography not competent critical review that passes the “sniff test” for developmental insights.

In my own personal experience as a teacher of 50+ classes a month for years, from 4th grade to post-graduate (industrial training), the methods that work the best are hundreds—if not thousands—of years in the making and nothing I’ve seen has changed in the human mind’s architecture to make them any less relevant.

That said, of course we can augment these worthwhile methods with rich media, but that is all it is, augmentation, not a “new method.”

Our three dimensions of reality

As we continue to mature personally and build out the dimensions of our working relationships, I think that this graphic can serve as a useful reference (for US audiences, this graphic is in Romanian. I didn’t change it for domestic audiences because it looks cooler this way):

Faith, Friendship, Finances as the 3 dimensions of building your business

Image: Rock Eel Digital Design

Faith: this is what keeps us going in the face of challenges, it’s what drives us forward. It is on the x-axis.

Friendship: this is what makes us human and gives us our span of character (EN: breadth|RO: comprehensivitate). Inspiring those we love (our clients’ children as well as our clients directly); we are friends by what we do as much as by what we say. It is on the y-axis.

Finances: this is an unemotional, impartial reckoning of our service to others. If we are making money, we are delivering something (product+service experience » results|outcomes) in a way that people voluntarily chose to trade their money for these outcomes. The proof of our market acceptance is that they ask us to provide more of our brand.

Until next time,

Carpe Diem!


One comment on “Keeping work playful – updated!

  1. Reply elyssa Apr 8,2012 11:14 pm

    Faith, Friendship and Finance. This makes sense to me. I hope it makes sense to a lot of people as this is the kind of thinking we are basing business model on. lets you connect with friends, post and pick-up jobs and put money in your pocket. Instead of sending a job post to all of san francisco (as an example) we want you to be able to work with people you like and doing things you love to help put money in your pocket and back into the economy.

    Anyway Faith, Friendship and Finance. I like this model!

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