really? you’re kidding, right? play? nobody plays with things they know will bite them in the ass. where did we learn that public speaking is anything but play? that in order “to be good at it” you have to work really, really hard on all kinds of things. write yourself a script. practice. practice. practice. memorize. don’t forget what’s next because if you do, boy, are you going to be embarrassed and shamed. all that sweat, shortness of breath, shakiness, and blushing were justified after all. no wonder so many of us refuse to do a speech, speak up in a meeting, or tell someone what we really think, even your boss.
let me ask you something. when are you most yourself? when can you or do you realize most vividly who you really, really are? isn’t it while you’re playing? when i was about 5, i lived in very rural mississippi. i used to go out into this field where no one would be. ever. no one but me and the waiting enemy. there was an old school bus there – no engine, just a rusty dinosaur. the seats were still in there, though, and most of the windows. this was not a bus. this was my, my fort. every time i rushed in and pushed that long metal bar that opened and closed the two narrow doors (remember?), i morphed into the armed guardian of this fortress suddenly facing countless warriors – enemies trying to defeat me and take my territory. i shot and bombed and pierced them all yelling “look out!” “over there!” “here comes another one!” i didn’t stop my relentless defense until every one of them died or ran away in shame fearing a kind of bravery they had never encountered. in my imaginary world for those few moments, nothing else existed – there was no one else, there was no other place, there was nothing more important.
where did you play? and, do you still play? is it possible – for you – that speaking can be nothing less than play? wouldn’t that be absolutely liberating and life-changing? we’re going to talk about this, a lot here. it really may not make sense right now, but it will, trust me.
hree are some places to go to help open up this idea and we’ll pick this toy up a little later. check out ted.com, their original content. click here: http://blog.ted.com/2009/03/12/stuart_brown_play/. try on reggie watts at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdHK_r9RXTc or http://www.ted.com/talks/beau_lotto_amy_o_toole_science_is_for_everyone_kids_included.html.
leave a comment, please, and email me if you’d like from my contact page. … go play.