Recently I have learned of an interesting activity conducted by Tom Wujec. Here is the set-up: You are given 25 pieces of dry spaghetti, a yard of string, a yard of tape, and a marshmallow. The goal is to build the tallest tower that will support the marshmallow. You are supposed to work in teams of four and try to build a taller tower than the other teams. Oh and you also only have 18 minutes to complete the challenege.
Tom has done this with many different groups of people. Most notably he had recent college graduates perform the challenge as well as kindergarten students. Who built taller towers? The kindergarten students. Tom goes on with his personal explanation about it and you can hear about it during his TED talk here.
The basics of what he says is that the college grads came up with a plan of what they thought would work and used their 18 minutes to construct it. Near the end of their available time they placed the marshmallow on top of their structure and watched as it fell down. The kindergarten students built their structure without much of a plan, had it fail, and then tried again. It turned out that basically the older that the participants became the less iterations they performed. The younger participants tried, failed, tried, failed, tried, failed, tried, and then succeeded far more than the older participants.
What is my take on this? The older we live in this world, the more afraid of failing we become. Another interesting thing is how Tom offered a prize to group with the tallest tower. He offered like a 1000 dollars to the group with the tallest tower, in that attempt, no group was able to build a standing tower of any height!
How is this possible? How is it that all that really happens in life is that the older we get the more afraid we become?
I strive to be able to live my life with the freedom of a kindergarten student and set aside my foolish fears.
Free yourself and your mind will follow.