We have a natural propensity to not want to look foolish, but we could be missing out on the power of embracing our inner fool? We like to use our foolishness to uncover wisdoms and ideas that can pass us by unnoticed.
Embracing your inner fool
It seems an obvious truth that being the fool in a group or team will mean we are in a low status position within that group or team structure. This is not necessarily true. We can embrace the position of the fool and find that this position has great power.
The first time I embraced my inner fool
As a younger man, I worked in recording studios as a recording engineer and producer. I often worked with young bands, often a group of young men full of testosterone and posturing. If you imagine a recording studio as a smallish room (I was never an engineer in one of those huge studios, you might see on TV, like Abbey Road) that you pile equipment and people into in close proximity to one another, that was the environment I was working in.
Now a lot of the time I worked with bands that had not worked in studios too often. The group may also have constraints of a limited budget which translated to limited time. This then translated to a higher than average possibility for disagreements to become conflict. The way I sometimes dealt with this was to take on a persona of allowing myself to be deemed the fool in the room and allow the band to create a relationship with me that did not automatically put them into a lower status than me, despite me having the studio expertise and experience. This allowed me to put forward suggestions, ideas and resolutions that would be considered without instant dismissal.
This is just one illustration of how using the persona of the fool allowed me to exert an awful lot of power in this type of situation without being overly authoritative and courting conflict.
What are some benefits of being the fool?
There are a number of possible benefits of embracing our inner fool. These could include:
- Being able to say something that others view as taboo or unsayable
- Adopting the power of play by following a naive curiosity, seeing things as if for the first time
- Allowing ourselves to ask questions without judging the question before we ask
- Offering a set of checks and balances on power within a team or organisation
- Being able to be the outsider, this is why it is often the place of consultants and facilitators like me to take on the role of fool.
Get in touch with us and we can create workshops that help you to explore and embrace your inner fool. Let’s play!