Hagan: Herman, listen. We need you for this. I know you think you're not fast enough, and I'm not strong enough, and I know we've had our differences, but I think it's time we—

Herman: Okay.

Hagan: "Okay?"

Herman: I'm in, man.

Hagan: Wow, you made that super-easy on me; I had like this whole speech worked up and everything.

Herman: Hmm, well, thankfully we don't have to listen to that.

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Purveyor of unusual learning experiences for a species in need of an upgrade. (Mostly) for grown-ups still secretly craving those adventures we used to read. Our time has come!

Knowledge is my jam. I deal in it; from the freshest emerging understandings to time-tested wonders that still ring true from antiquity, or universal fundamentals that transcend language. For my own delight, I hunt the stuff that pulsates with aliveness - novel, useful and surprising - genius.

Accordingly, I've made my work adventuresome. Varied, fascinating, and so business-oriented, that nothing is too obscure to avoid being an opportunity to lock into trends, its market viability assessed. But I have a problem. Wasting time makes me nauseous. The program to be responsible and useful to society/economy is firmly installed. Goofing-off is trip-wired with guilt. I choose non-fiction, unless I'm sure the author can astonish. I've been addicted to productivity tools.    It wasn't always like this. 

For twelve years my trades have been three: teaching, strategic foresight and transforming research into stories that shape policy or behaviour change. I help people think better, leave jobs they loathe, solve gnarly problems creatively, and use tech as a sidekick/powertool, not overlord.
I love my work ... but it isn't even nearly ballsy enough for this era. 

We're embarking on a wholly new journey of what it means to be human. And we aren't ready.

If we have any chance of evolving fast enough for the wild ride ahead, we'll need to get a lot less serious (about ourselves). Threatened humans get very scary/scared and do dumb stuff we regret.
I'm holding the hidden door open for intermission.

It is sooo easy to slip into the convenient comfort of passive leisure to recover. Its power is magnetic, and I refuse to diss it. Watching thrilling sports or devouring well-told stories is delicious. But a light sprinkling of serious leisure betwixt makes life sparkle and leap in unexpected ways. How we recharge matters

 

The risks that make us feel most alive are won from taking chances outside our castle of confidence. Trying new stuff - daring - almost always guarantees embarrassing fails and frustration. But it is the door behind which hard-won fun, awe and occasionally genius lurk. We're built for it, with brain-based biochemical cocktails to celebrate breakthroughs at the ready ... though few of us test the cognitive edges of ourselves for fun as grown-ups.  Busyness blunts our curiosity. Seriousness holds us back. Rare are they who will attempt this at work. Or have the friends who won't tease or side-eye.

Actively pursuing learning as a lifestyle choice (outside of traditional education infrastructure) unexpectedly takes work, guts and a dash of defiance. Putting effort into something with no financial or prestige payoff... you okay?!


Whether it's noodling with hobbies that have no glory or likes attached. Hitting a citizen science challenge hard. Nabbing microadventures in the nearby wilds. Taking a sabbatical season to tinker with the newly discovered, almost magical - natural and synthetic - powers around us. These "brainy holidays" are vital for blasting our imaginations well out of the reach of the deadening defaults that have us angry, anxious and threatened. It's just for the sheer joy of exploring stuff with curiosity. 

 

Okay okay, maybe not just. Word on the streets is that this type of "leisure learning" could be a gateway drug to picking up skills - exposing and equipping bright people to try new kinds of work. They might partner up with friends in unfamiliar fields to build projects with. It could all get dangerously out of hand. 

But apparently, I'm here for that kind of nerdy peril in big scoops.