Mime Anecdote

In a book chapter on the role of play in creativity, Sarah Lewis shares an anecdote about the public policy of a mayor in Colombia. He wanted to solve the problem of dishonest cops, so he hired mimes:

…to replace the “notoriously bribable” police. With faces painted white or blue, some dressed in bowties, black pencil on their eyes and eyebrows to exaggerate expression, the mimes would stand at the intersections and on streets mocking bad behavior and praising good behavior from pedestrians and drivers.

Mockus’s theory was that play could help, since people are often more afraid of ridicule than being fined (p. 156).

This mime anecdote may work as a transition between focusing on the scholarship of fear and that of failure.

Mastery Requires Endurance

Sarah Lewis, in The Rise: Creativity, The Gift of Failure, and The Search For Mastery, she discusses the mindset of archers at target practice. Her definition of mastery may be useful for educators.

Lewis writes:

Mastery requires endurance. Mastery, a word we don’t use often, is not the equivalent of what we might consider its cognate–perfectionism–an inhuman aim motivated by a concern with how others view us. Mastery is also not the same as success–an event-based victory based on a peak point, a punctuated moment in time. Mastery is not merely a commitment to a goal, but to a curved line, constant pursuit (p. 7-8).

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photo credit: me

See also Otherwise Ignored Ideas and (other posts about failure here)

Otherwise Ignored Ideas

In the introduction of The Rise: Creativity, The Gift of Failure, and The Search For Mastery, Sarah Lewis takes a look at the division between work and labor.

She writes:

A division line often position creativity, innovation, and discoveries as a separate, even elite, category of human endeavor: chosen, lived out by few. Yet out stories challenge this separation. If we each have the capacity to convert excruciating into an advantage, it is because this creative process is crucial for pathmaking of all kinds.

What we gain by looking at mastery, invention, and achievement is the value of otherwise ignored ideas–the power of surrender, the propulsion of the “near win,” the critical role of play in achieving innovation, and the importance of grit and creative practice (p.11).

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photo credit: me

The path is an image she uses quite a bit with reference to mastery. She goes on to explain several times throughout the book with how we perceive failure. She reminds readers:

It is cliche to say that we learn most from failure. It also not exactly true. Transformation comes from how we choose to speak about it in the context of story, whether self-stated or aloud (p.13).

See also Mastery Requires Endurance