Wednesday, May 13, 2009

How to Think Like a Fool #13: Give Up

RISK: Give Up
Happy Fool Year! For this Year of the Fools, I have given up the following things:

  • Chewing rocks
  • Telling adults there is no Santa
  • Shredding 100 dollar bills
  • Sticking my finger in light sockets
  • The ship
  • Public naked ballet dancing
  • My favorite adult beverage, "Cold Turkey"
  • Aging
  • Not breathing
  • Rigmarole

What a sense of success and achievement I got from compiling this list!

Giving up is such a part of foolishness, that suicide has been a theme of many a clown, from Commedia dell'Arte to Waiting for Godot. One of my first clown pieces came out of a clown exercise in a class taught by John Towsen, in which he instructed us to enter the stage in despair and then to decide to kill ourselves—the only rule being that clowns can't die.

Giving up is about getting unstuck from a current train of thought that has derailed, and then generating (starting and stopping) as many ideas as you can, until the best ones emerge. Edward De Bono, in defining Lateral Thinking, has said, "You cannot dig a hole in a different place by digging the same hole deeper."

See also about quitting: The Dip by Seth Godin

Think: What can I give up? What can I give up that I never would begin? How often can I start something, stop, and start something else?

Tomorrow: How to Think Like a Fool #14: Repeat Repeat Repeat

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