It sometimes feels as if the human race is embroiled in a battle of man vs machine. Commentators make bold predictions about coming waves of automation and we all worry about our place in this new world. In truth, these stresses are a fallacy and there is an entire world of work and play. There’s plenty of room for all of us to grow and flourish together – and the Norwegian concept of Samspill can show us the way.
Translated to English, Samspill roughly means to play together. That definition in itself should come as encouragement to those that are afraid of being displaced by technology – but this concept is so much more. It’s a state of being that helps us to challenge ourselves and to deal with some of life’s most complex problems.
With it, we can push at the boundaries of human understanding and achievement. If you can develop this mindset in your own life or business, you can overcome adversity and thrive.
While it is somewhat difficult to explain this concept, the spark is tangible when achieved. There’s no mathematical formula that can pin down its composition or benefits, though. Instead, it’s an ethos for stretching our thinking.
Projects so often start with ‘blue sky’ planning of what could be. The challenge is then to find the ways and means of bringing those visions to fruition. When you work in that way, it’s easy to lose sight of your ambitions as reality dawns on your grand ideas.
The concept of playing together is a practical solution to this dilemma. According to our strategic anchor and the founder of The World Institute of Slowness, Geir Berthelsen, the reason for this is simple:
“It’s better to act yourself into a new way of thinking than to think yourself into a new way of acting.”
Samspill encourages us to focus on the way we act and the factors that affect our performance along the way. The theory is that the right environment can lead us into a better state of mind where everything else falls into place.
To achieve that higher state of mind, it’s necessary to unpack the idea. The concept of being ‘time poor’ now pervades our society, but time hasn’t changed – we have.
Our obsession with linear time is understandable. It is how we schedule our lives, after all. The problem is, our obsession with deadlines and time constraints prevents us from tapping into our emotions and thinking creatively. In some ways, we could probably use a lesson from the Ancient Greeks on Kairos time when special moments give way to the things that matter.
Part of this issue stems from our preoccupation with machines and automation. Our marvellous creations have caused us to question our role in society and try to match them by thinking and working mechanically. It’s an impossible balancing act, and one that’s entirely unnecessary since there’s space for both man AND machine.
While computers may be able to best us in analytical and practical thinking, there’s no algorithm for imagination, purpose, creativity, or love. It’s in those areas that we can find our space to play.
Everyone has a creative sweet spot. It’s what you feel when you sit down to work on something you’re truly enthusiastic about. Reaching it can lead to higher levels of motivation, happiness, and contentment. All of these will serve you well when trying to bring brilliant, pioneering plans to life.
For something that can bring about such positive change, Samspill is a surprisingly accessible frame of mind. It can be brought about through positive psychology, gamification, and acceptance of imperfection. By taking time to forget about time, you can be more creative when you’re at work.
The future does not have to be scary. If you look deeper, you’ll see that there will always be a place for humans to flourish as masters of our own flow.
When you utilise the power of the art of life, there’s no limit to the journey we are on and our ability to create. The trick is to apply this thinking and use positive psychology, gamification, and the right mindset to find that sense of balance.
Samspill stretches our thinking and broadens our horizons. With help from The World Institute of Slowness and I Wish, you can broaden yours too.