Remember when we were kids, and we’d just… mess around with stuff? No goal, no agenda, just pure, unbridled curiosity.
I’ve always been about experimenting. Most of the things I’ve built and loved began with tinkering. Fun projects that were simple explorations. Take the first camera on the iPhone, for example. That sparse 2 megapixel “camera” wasn’t something to be taken seriously. People actually made fun of me using it. What “pro” photographer uses a 2 megapixel camera? Yet I loved the freedom of always having a camera with me to capture the random moments we wouldn’t bother dragging our full frame camera out for. It wasn’t about revolutionizing photography. It was about the joy of creation. It was about connecting with that raw, unfiltered freedom that comes when you’re just playing around.
Now, I get it. We’re all grown up. We’ve got jobs, responsibilities, and a never-ending to-do list. But here’s a little nugget of wisdom: some of the best things I’ve ever created, the stuff I’m genuinely proud of? It all started with tinkering.
But let’s dive deeper. Why is tinkering such a big deal?
- Innovation Through Experimentation: You know, history’s chock-full of folks who were big on tinkering. Leonardo da Vinci, for one. Those countless hours of playing around? They led to some groundbreaking stuff.
- Skill Development: Tinkering’s like a gym for your brain. You’re flexing those problem-solving muscles, getting better with each challenge. And trust me, the more you tinker, the sharper you get.
- Breaking the Monotony: Ever feel like you’re stuck in a rut? Tinkering’s the antidote. It’s like a breath of fresh air, a chance to reignite that spark.
- Building Resilience: Here’s the thing: when you tinker, you’re gonna mess up. And that’s okay. Each stumble, each mistake, it’s all part of the journey. And you know what? You come out stronger each time.
So, what’s stopping us? Why aren’t we all tinkering away? Here we can take a hint from education and creativity researcher and author Sir Ken Robinson who said it simply: “We are educating people out of their creativity”. Traditional education had us chasing the “right” answers. But real growth? It’s all about asking the right questions.
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Now, let’s get practical. How can you bring back the art of tinkering into your life?
- Dedicate “Tinker Time”: Set aside a few hours each week. No goals. No expectations. Just you and whatever project catches your fancy. It could be a DIY project, a new recipe, or even a puzzle.
- Embrace the Digital Detox: Put away that phone. Close that laptop. Disconnect from the digital world and reconnect with the physical. Remember those old-school model kits? Or maybe even some clay modeling? Dive in!
- Join a Workshop: There are countless workshops out there, from pottery to woodworking. No goal or purpose needed. Sign up! Not only will you learn something new, but you’ll also meet like-minded tinkerers.
- Travel with a Tinkerer’s Mindset: Next time you’re on a trip, explore. Wander around without a map. Get lost. You’ll be surprised at what you might discover.
- Journal Your Tinkering Adventures: Remember what I said about writing? Get a journal. Document your tinkering journey. The successes, the failures, the eureka moments. Reflect on them.
- Collaborate: Two heads are better than one. Team up with a friend. Challenge each other. Share ideas. Tinkering is more fun when shared.
- Educate Yourself: Dive into books about inventors, creators, and innovators. Understand their mindset. Adopt it.
Before I sign off, here’s a little challenge for you: this week, set aside some time. Dive into something new. No goals, no expectations. Just pure exploration. And who knows? You might just stumble upon your next big thing.