Aidan's Infinite Play 12 School Killed Your Childhood Curiosity

Aidan's Infinite Play 12 School Killed Your Childhood Curiosity
Photo by Ivan Aleksic / Unsplash

As kids we come to life with a curious, playful, and gameful mindset.

We ask questions about everything. We play. And we love games, whether four square, Monopoly (only when you're winning of course), and tag.

But then.


School dampens our childhood curiosity and inhibits our playful gameful mindsets through forced assignments, tests, essays, quizzes, and homework. Instead of learning for the sake of learning itself, we learn to get the best grade on the test.

We are taught to separate things into categories and labels which of course helps with understanding but can hurt curiosity.

Kids stop having the freedom to use their imagination to their hearts content. A rock becomes an assemblage of minerals instead of a piece of space matter to be used as a weapon against the incoming Alien invasion.

At the same time, we stop seeing games and play as a fundamental part of life. Instead, they become "kid activities," as if enjoyment and play should be confined to only the very early parts of our life.

Of course, some of this process is good. We can't be kids forever. And not all schooling is this bad, but a concerningly large amount of the Cornell students I have talked to give me experiences that resonate with this storyline.

What's often the result of all of this?

Students stop coming to learning with curious, playful, and gameful mindset. Learning stops being an enjoyable activity but rather something you HAVE to do for some number grade.

Worse yet, this mindset carries itself over into adulthood. Many adults I know think they don't like learning when what they really don't like is the learning they have been taught to do throughout traditional schooling.

What's the solution?

I believe people need to reignite our childhood curiosity.

Ingrain a gameful and playful mindset.

Having a gameful mindset means coming at your daily activities with an understanding and willingness to fail. Like in games, you know the process of failure is part of winning.

It comes with the understanding the journey is more important than the destination. The worst part of a game is usually after it's over. The fun part is while you're playing.

And having a Playful mindset means coming to your daily activities without rigid rules and an openess to spontaneity.

You don't take yourself too seriously.

You're a bundle of sentient organic matter floating on a rock in space. The rock isn't going to explode if you don't finish your essay or problem set due tomorrow.

Enjoyment, play, and games aren't things that should be constrained to just the early periods of our life. They are a fundamental part of enjoying your time on this planet.

Here's what I would like to share this week.

πŸ“ΈNews From The Channel!

​ Watch This to Finally Understand The Zettelkasten Method in Obsidian : By the end of this video, you will have a concrete zettelkasten system and workflow to use in Obsidian. You will understand the history, benefits, and practicalities of using a Zettelkasten, as well as the philosophy behind it so you can transform your system and process to fit your needs. I will take you through an overview of my entire zettelkasten Obsidian workflow. I will show you how I capture, organize, distill, and express information.

​Rachel Madrigal: From Chronic Notetaker to Minimalist Obsidian User : Rachel Madrigal is a Software Engineer turned product manager at Twingate and part-time YouTuber who creates vlog and Obsidian content. She's also a friend because we meet weekly for our YouTube accountability meetings. This week, we talked about Rachel's work as a software engineer and experience switching to product management, how notetaking is helping her in both careers, and her experience becoming a more minimalist Obsidian user.

​Flow State MOC : this is one of the Maps of content that I am most proud of in my Obsidian database. I strongly encourage you to check it out and explore.

πŸ’‘My Best Insights:

πŸ“–Book - Awareness Conversations With The Mystics: this book is a great slap in the face to introducing people to spirituality. Anthony De Mello has an incredibly direct way of writing that is hilarious through the lens of spirituality. My favorite concept from the book is the four step framework to centering yourself when negative feelings arise: get in touch with the negative feelings that you aren't even aware of, understand the feeling is in you, not reality, don't identify with the feeling, and understand that when you change everything changes. Read my book summary to learn more.

✍️Blog Post - Reopening the Mind: How Cognitive Closure Kills Creative Thinking : Cognitive closure is resolving uncertainty so that we don't have to deal with the psychological pain it brings. Because uncertainty is psychologically painful we tend toward Cognitive closure in the short term at the expense of the long term. This is an issue because often times cognitively closing on things for the short term opens us up to more pain in the long term. And A high need for cognitive closure might reduce creativity because people tend to select information that confirms what they already know and prefer to come to quicker resolutions of understanding. But creative acts are in their nature uncertain. Accepting this and entering into Liminal Spaces is therefore one of the best ways to foster creativity.

πŸŽ™οΈPodcast - Podcast 71 - Video Game Engagement : This podcast episodes explores how the best video games promote engagement, focusing completely on a game or task using great energy, passion or effort. Even if you don't like video games, this podcast is super helpful to listen to because it can give you ideas on how to make your real lives more engaging. The four main ways games create engagement is through goals, feedback, social information, and the fostering of a growth mindset. I'm currently working editing a three part gamification series describing how I gamified my own life so look forward to hearing more about the idea of gamification in the future.