How Important is Silliness In Our Amazing Lives?
How Important Is Silliness?
Remember that list we talked about? Keeping track of things that inspire you? Well, the last time I decided to tweak mine, I printed it out and then got onto a very important and very long phone call. After the conversation ended, I found all kinds of goodies in the margins of my list. Not words, but doodles. Of all kinds.
Things like flower pots with alien ships for blossoms:
and squadrons of crazy dragonflies:
While these are plain silly, the doodles made me realize how inspiring the combination of silly and amazing together can be.
Silliness Can Be Inspiring
Like my dog. He is insane in the particular way of all Jack Russells. He’s like the clown-fish in an aquarium, with his goofy piebald patterning, his thick body, and springs for legs. And while he is hyperactive and exploding with antics, as a descendant of the mighty wolf, he can also sniff out the best-hidden rodent, bark like mad at an intruder, and go ‘hackles-up’ when he thinks we need protecting.
Gretchen Roehrs is one of my favorite artists. Her work is deceptively simple and yet so playful and innovative, it practically takes my breath away. She sketches vegetables and fruit into dresses and fashion-forward clothing. In her drawings, she imbues personality into wispy runway models clothed in broccoli or romaine lettuce. It always makes me smile and wish I had a talent for drawing!
One of the best gifts I received from a colleague when I landed a big client years ago, was a set of crayons that she insisted I keep open on my desk. It was one of those thick, choir boy boxes – with something like forty-eight (forty-eight!) different colors. But I don’t color. I thanked her with polite skepticism. Her response? Just wait.
It still surprises me how much I ‘used’ them. While I never put them to paper (a definite corporate no-no), over time I found that they often served as a stress reliever through the pressure points of my days. The simple presence of a childhood treasure in the gray seriousness of my office was itself spirit lifting, the small dollops of color added joviality to some of the gloomiest days.
Probably most importantly, they also served as reminders that fun can and should be woven into the most onerous of tasks.
And guess what? It wasn’t just me. Coworkers who normally dropped by and spoke in droning voices about data-driven outcomes or other such ‘important things,’ began to chat in conversational tones when they spotted the crayons on my desk. More often or not, they’d grab the box, search for their favorite colors and then proceed to doodle in the margins of reports or other ‘important’ documents, as we spoke.
It became a thing. Are you bringing the crayons to the meeting? I have a box in my office now, too – you should stop by.
Silly is good. It can even be amazing. And contagious.
And you know what? Now I color!!