The favorite game of my three years old daughter is catch me. This means that she will run away and I have to catch her. Full of energy and with laughter she will start running. Looking over her shoulder regularly to see if I’m following. Sometimes she deliberately slows down, so I can catch her, and she will scream with delight. It’s much more fun to ‘loose’ and get caught, than win all the time and never be caught.
When I teach managers playful learning, a lot of them are trying very hard to get it right and feel like they have failed when the outcome of the game is different than expected. They focus on winning (or not losing) so much, that they get tense and stressed while playing. But in playfulness there is no desired best answer. Every outcome is valuable, depending on the meaning you are willing to give to it. Once they get that and give themselves permission to play and ‘fail’, a lot of positive energy is generated. And that’s when the real learning starts…because
“If we don’t learn to fail, we fail to learn”
So where, when and why did we loose our natural playfulness?