Creative Tinkering

“The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.” Leonardo da Vinci

One of the first toys I remember playing with as a kid was legos. I assumed that LEGO was invented around the 80s or 90s (I’m a 90’s baby) but actually The LEGO Group has been around awhile. It was established in 1932 by Ole Kirk Kristiansen in a Danish carpentry workshop.

The original name for the LEGO brick was Automatic Binding Bricks (1951). The bricks where iterated and refined into what we know them as today. Kristiansen’s toy business had many ups and downs. Fires, economic upheaval from a post World War—not to mention WWII and the fallout from it as well. But despite it all, Kristiansen kept creating and tinkering.

One of the worst things about lego sets is that they come with an instruction manual. One of the best things about lego sets is you can break the rules and build whatever you want. Growing up, I would usually building by the instructions first (achievement unlocked) and then I would tear it to pieces and then build things from my imagination.

It’s easy to go through life living by an instruction manual. We live by the expectations of the people around us. Family. School. Society. We conform without always thinking about what we are signing up for.

Sometimes this works really well. Instructions by themselves are bad. It’s nice to know exactly how to fix a tire or how to learn illustrator or how to start an online business. The problem is it’s easy to follow instructions blindly, without completely thinking things through or experiencing things yourself.

A part of being a creative is thinking differently and getting your hands in the mud. Book smart only gets you so far. Hands-on practice and experimentation unlocks a new level of creative ability. There’s knowing something from reading or hearing about it, and then there’s knowing something from hard-earned discovery and tinkering.

How to Learn by Tinkering:

  • Don’t read the instructions.
  • Play first.
  • Try it the wrong way.
  • Make your own rules (add limitations).
  • Approach the world with childlike curiosity.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1058

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Creative Play

“I work very hard, and I play very hard. I’m grateful for life. And I live it – I believe life loves the liver of it. I live it.”

Maya Angelou

I was extremely into video games going up. I was into a plethora of things (sports, reading, drawing, swimming, exercising, chess, etc) but gaming was something I gravitated towards. My first console was a Nintendo 64. And If you caught me out and about then, I’d likely be carrying around a red GameBoy Advance. I enjoy games now, mostly for the incredible storytelling, but I don’t play very often because of lack of time. (Honestly, I listen to more gaming podcasts than I do play them.) There’s a lot that I’m learning and doing so I’m hard-pressed to find the time to pick up a controller. I’m more interested in creating and the principles of creativity than playing at the moment.

I’m not sure what drew little josh to gaming. My guess is it was because it combined many of my interests all in the palm — art, adventure, story, laughter, and challenge. The thought never crossed my mind at the time that someone (some team at Nintendo) created that experience. From hardware to the tiny jumping pixels on the screen was created.

Why do we like the things we like as kids?

Do you ever wonder if we are drawn to things instinctively, not because of what we see, but because what we can’t see but feel past the surface?

Music that pulls our heartstrings. A painting you can’t look away from. An idea you can’t quite shake. A spark of potential. A gleam of mystery our curiosity can’t help but follow. Buried treasure hid in a dungeon. I’m not sure if I’m smart enough to know what I’m saying.

I do know that what you do in your free time speaks loudly about what you dream about your life. What do you consider play? What would you keep doing no matter if you were never paid a dollar for? What do you find that makes you come alive inside? These are things worth pursuing.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #831

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Beginner’s Creative Advantage

Most people default to mimicking what a successful person does, and that moves the needle, but it doesn’t get us to originality.

Original ideas come from following our curiosity and playfulness.

Your creative advantage is that you haven’t succeeded at the level you want to succeed at yet. When you are in the spotlight (however modicum or huge your success is), you are beholden to your success. Expectations seem high. Self-expectations are usually through the ceiling. Sure, you’ve got the money and clout, but you are internally and externally capping yourself. Because you succeed in a particular way, you want to keep following that success. Known success is chosen over unknown originality and potential failure.

By not being successful yet, you have the creative freedom to experiment and find your own way of doing things. You might not have the financial freedom to do whatever you want, but you have more room to fail with less risk. (The higher you climb, the longer the fall if you fail.)

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #792

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I used to Skate.. Reclaiming Wonder

Q: How often do you get rabbit-holed into your daily routines and forget to actually have fun and enjoy your day?

When was the last time you did something silly?

Silly, Playful, Goofy, Childlike — Just for kicks and giggles — for no reason at all except to have fun.

A friend of mine would call this whimsy

— The act of playing, wonder, and seeking adventure >


When I was a kid, I grew up in a big neighborhood, filled with herds of kids around my age.

Naturally, shenanigans occurred.

When I was a kid

I remember those endless days fondly, as you probably do about your own childhood.

Bikes + hills + skateboards + basketball + pirates + trees + explosions + ding-dong-ditch + hot-wheels + games + dirt == awesome.


When I was a kid?’

Why can’t I still be a kid?

Isn’t wonder, curiosity and happiness what we are all searching for?

Taking on responsibilities of adulthood shouldn’t mean the death of our childhood.

When we lose our wonder, we fall into a sleep-like daze, lacking what makes us enthusiastic about living.

We can do taxes and still have a good time.

We can still be responsible, hard working adults, and strive for excellence while having the heart of our inner child at the same time.

I don’t have to be stressed for the sake of stress, nor worried for things outside of my control.

I can live responsibly without losing wonder.

I hear the phrase, “well, I’m XX years old, it’s time for me to die now.” * all the time.

* paraphrasing a bit there 😛

Grow up, just don’t grow dull. +

I’ve gone through quite a few setbacks recently, and perhaps you’ve gone through even harder things.

However, if you’re still breathing, you’re still ALIVE. If you’re still alive, you can still live with wonder and curiosity, despite any setbacks you may have.


Action Step — 

Find an outlet to keep your childlike wonder ALIVE. Something playful, and silly.

We need wonder to have a wonderful life +

#KeepPursuingJosh Waggoner, RenaissanceLife: Ethos


related wisdom

Book: Play it Away, by Charlie Hoehn

“In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play.” — Friedrich Nietzsche


“I like nonsense; it wakes up the brain cells.” — Dr. Seuss


“Wisdom begins in wonder.” — Socrates