Recently our very own Rachel Wiles attended an event called Street Wisdom, another eye-opening event run by the RSA . She found the event so fascinating and applicable to everyday challenges, she thought she'd talk a little more about her experience...
A good friend recommended going, I had no idea what it involved. I knew we would be on streets of central London and I assumed it would mean talking to strangers. All I was instructed to bring was a question; the recommendation was a question that wasn't not too simple (i.e what shall I have for lunch) and not too complex (i.e. what is the meaning of life?).
The organisers and facilitators at Street Wisdom are people you instantly want to be friends with - energetic, warm and welcoming. They explained the process, reccommend putting your phone away and divided us into smaller groups ... and just like that we were off around the streets.
Taking time out of work to truly ‘think’ without distraction was a new concept, something I would ordinarily have seen as a waste of time.
We started with a series of 'tuning in' exercises to get us into the right frame of mind with a different 'quest' every time. The general aim of the tune-in was to slow yourself down (in all senses) and to clear your mind of the normal chitter chatter.
Now, this was a strange experience for me - I have tried ‘mindfullness’ before (normally in my living room with an app) and failed miserably but in these crazy, busy streets I felt calm and focused. I didn't think of a single other thing apart from my quest (this never happens) and it felt brilliant. At one point I bumped into a friend on his way back from a meeting and he found it hilarious that I was so ‘zen’.
The next hour involved taking the question that you would like to answer and just thinking it through, exploring different outcomes and weighing up the options. I decided to spend this hour walking on the Southbank. I have to say, at first I thought that an hour was an incredibly long time to be on your own 'pondering', but the time seemed to fly by. I think I was a bit worried about spending so long alone with no activity (as this is so alien to me in our age of candy crush and twitter) but as it turns out, I was pretty good at it.
Very soon I found I was systematically working my way through the question in my head, instead of my normal process of flitting between various thoughts and ideas. I wasn’t distracted by people around me, thinking of dinner plans or refreshing my Facebook feed. I could think clearly and creatively, and come up with surprisingly good ideas that I hadn’t considered before. Aside from being able to think in a new light, I found I had also got rid of the the self-doubt I would normally experience when thinking about decisions. Due to this process the plan of action I decided upon was suprisingly bold.
Taking time out of work to truly ‘think’ without distraction was a new concept, something I would ordinarily have seen as a waste of time. I am constantly mulling over ideas for workshops and practices, but I find myself doing so whilst on the tube or eating lunch, rather than setting aside time to think and trusting myself to achieve specific goals. I rush into things and head first, to save time, then have to spend time rectifying or trying again.
Don't get me wrong, there is merit in multi tasking however I can’t help but see the benefit in quality thought that the Street Wisdom approach offers. Working for myself means that my new ideas are the future of my business, they are also what I get super excited about - so why wouldn’t I treat myself to the luxury of an hour or two to properly concentrate on these ideas?
This experience changed a lot of things for me. I wanted that chilled, creative clarity to last as it was making me a more relaxed, happier person - one that makes creative and brave decisions.
The next step is implementing this into daily life. Stay tuned to find out how this pans out…
Different Duck is a drama based training company specialising in unique customer interactions and engaging with consumers on a human-to-human level. We implement lasting change and instantly applicable ideas. It is run by drama makers who act, direct, write and produce work professionally –and creativity is the key to everything we do.