Learning from Kindergartners

Last week a friend of mine shared a link to a thread on Twitter that discussed a very interesting experiment:

In short, an experiment was conducted in which business students and kindergartners each had a limited time to build the highest possible tower out of spaghetti, tape and marshmallows. Most people assumed the business students – being older, more experienced and using a structured approach – would be better at this than the kindergartners, but somehow the kindergartners won. What gives?

Presumably the business students lost because they spent too much time worrying about what approach would be best, when to speak, who was in charge, whether it was okay to disagree – so on, so forth – until they ran out of time. Meanwhile the kindergartners simply rushed to begin the task, building multiple versions quickly and seeing for themselves what worked and what didn’t. In essence, learning by doing.

I found this thread incredibly refreshing and most definitely relevant to any creative craft. More than once I’ve found myself filled with uncertainty when considering new projects:

Would people like this?
Is this the right time?
Have I planned this out carefully enough?
Does it have an audience?

At the same time I remember being 6, picking up a pencil and – within minutes – creating a full comic about cows and ice cream, not caring one bit who saw it or whether they’d like it. Was it a hit? Of course not – but it was made, which is more than what can be said for many other project ideas I’ve had in more recent years.

So perhaps the next time we think of a creative endeavor – whether it’s painting, writing, making a game or anything else – we should consider the kindergartner approach and simply dive into it and see what happens. If it works, it works – if it doesn’t, at least we learned something (that it didn’t).

Only if we follow our hearts and try will we ever know how tall a tower we can build.

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