People in business need to reconnect with their ability to play and view the world like a child, Kevin Carroll, author of The Red Rubber Ball at Work, told the April 25 opening session of the AGS Conclave in Miami.
“Play is serious business,” he said. “And play is serious in business.”
He warned that, while children overflow with creativity, adults today “have allowed [their] creative muscle to atrophy.”
“If we want to turn ideas into reality, we have to embrace play again,” he said.
He offered simple lessons he learned from the playground:
- “Keep your eyes open” and always learn.
“We have to look up every once in a while,” he said. “I have one ‘look up’ a day a week where I just look up instead of looking down at a screen. I try to identify things I have never seen before and attach a story to it.… You start to see things with the eyes of a child…and then you start to get new ideas.”
- He declared people need activities that “reenergize” them. For him, they are seeking out new chocolate shops, working out, and practicing the cello.
“What do you do that always reawakens your energy, that reenergizes your creative soul?” he asked.
- People must strive to be “exceptional.”
“We have to aspire to something that makes us stretch,” he said. “I know that all of you are good at what you do. But we want you to be exceptional. We want you to go after something that is lofty and audacious. And maybe it’s not attainable. But you know? In the true effort to get [there], you will continue to grow.”
- Stay motivated.
“No dream, no idea, is microwavable,” he said. “It’s not going to happen overnight. You have to stick to it. And that day you are most flustered, when you are must frustrated, that is right before it is going to tip in your favor. But you have to trust and believe. You got to hang in there.” He added that achieving goals requires “doing the lonely work” that doesn’t draw immediate feedback.
- Continually perform a “random act of kindness.”
“Can you imagine the ripple effect that would have if everyone here did one random act of kindness each day?” he said.
Carroll shared his personal story as an example of how people can overcome obstacles. The child of two addict parents, he and his brother were once left in a trailer for five days unattended.
“Circumstances never dictate destiny,” he said. “I stand before you proof of that.”