4. Love your experiments (as you would an ugly child).
Joy is the engine of growth. Exploit the liberty in casting your work as beautiful experiments, iterations, attempts, trials, and errors. Take the long view and allow yourself the fun of failure every day.
– Bruce Mau, An Incomplete Manifesto for Growth
Last week, at the end of a post, I mentioned that I was starting a super-secret and PRIVATE Facebook group for this “Life Explorers Project.” I welcomed you to contact me through my FB profile if you wanted to join.
This is was an Experiment. (Yes, with a capital ‘E.’)
A couple of things you should know before I go further:
1. Facebook makes my face hurt. I use it. But I have to be vigilant with my time so it’s hard not to keep scrolling down and clicking through every article. I was active on it in in 2007-08 and then dropped off as life got a little busier with the arrival for #4 and #5. I have mixed feelings on it which I hope will be clearer after this little experiment of mine.
2. Inviting people to a group exchange/discussion of ideas, thoughts, creations is Terrifying. (Yes, with a capital ‘T.’)
That being said, I wanted to try creating this FB group as an experiment – to begin something that takes me out of my comfort zone.
Here is a list of my initial fears and doubts:
1. What if no one joins?
2. What if I can’t produce material to keep a discussion going?
3. What if this fails at producing what I’d like to see – a safe community where one can share explorations, social experiments, and creative thoughts?
4. What if this is a stupid idea? And someone says so?
5. What if no one joins???
Without totally becoming paralyzed with fear, I decided to jump in. I quickly made the group and posted its whereabouts on a blog post. Here is a screen shot of the page:
Here are the results of the experiment:
No one joined.
Let me rephrase that: No one joined voluntarily.
(Ha! I invited two people – my husband and my friend. I invited them because they happened to be either in the room with me or on the phone with me as I fretted about this little experiment and they encouraged me to go for it.)
The old me would have shut down the page, never mention it again, and put the kibosh on putting myself out there. (Down with social media! Down with blogs! Down with ever leaving the house or my bed again!) There have been times in my life where my great ideas and fantastic upstarts have crashed and burned – epic failures.
Oh that old wise teacher, hindsight. I can see where I went wrong. I failed because I needed to. My intentions for these grand projects were not in line with who I wanted to become. I didn’t even know who I really was and what I really loved doing yet. I also wasn’t ready to give. I was more than ready to receive. Money and time are hot commodities. My way was always right and I never asked for help. I am no longer in that frame of mind. I want to give and to share what is working well. I want to solicit advice from others who are rocking out their lives.
I understand that not everyone is on Facebook and I apologize for not providing a different method for a private group but it was the easiest and quickest way to dive into this experiment. If I hesitated due to the details, I know I would have abandoned this experiment.
Until I figure out another method, here is my manifesto for this Life Explorers Project group thing:
1. This group will be a safe place to share ideas, explorations, and creative expression.
2. This group is a baby step into opening up yourself to creativity.
3. Inspiring quotes, stories, and honest confessions are welcome but not mandatory.
4. In fact, active participation is not mandatory. Feel free to join and to lurk. Maybe one day, you may just have something to say and I want this to be the group that will cheer you on when you finally have the courage to say it.
5. I will share small challenges within the week that will also be shared here on a weekly basis. Show-and-tell is not mandatory but encouraged because we can all learn from each other’s leaps.
6. The creative individual and the creative community will be celebrated.
7. There will be links to maker tutorials and interesting events happening locally, nationally, and globally. (You know, just in case.)
8. This group is not for the cynic or naysayer. We have enough of those out there. We are looking for supporters, cheerleaders, and welcome wagons.
9. In reference to #8, know the difference between the cynic and the critic. Many viewpoints are appreciated if expressed with kindness and gentleness.
10. This group’s mandate is to help you explore, discover, and invent your own superpowers.
11. There is no such thing as a mistake.
12. You can join, leave, and return at any time. In fact, it is expected.
Rather than just sitting back passively and waiting for people to join, I am going to invite people. Don’t feel obligated to accept. Or do feel obligated because you want to show some love. Don’t feel like you have to contribute. Just showing up is enough. If you don’t get an invite, don’t feel slighted. Just send me a message or leave a comment and I will be happy to invite you. If you don’t have Facebook, you are always more than welcome to comment or ask a question here.
You might be wondering why I am doing this. Why am I adding one more thing to my ever-growing plate of to-dos? Why am I creating another thing to manage? Another commitment? Because I am done with the notion of scarcity: not enough time, not enough energy, not enough money, not enough ideas, not enough beauty, not enough hope, not enough. This blog and potential Facebook group – whether it’s read by 2, 10, 25, or 500 people – is what I can do right now. This is what I can contribute. I can offer a small light, a little hope, a smidgen of optimism, an ounce of creative output, a dash of humour, that just might make a small difference to the overall state of happiness in this world.
Will you join me in this experiment?