The Rise of the Mischief Maker

The Rise of the Mischief Maker

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I love mischief. I always have done. I feel like it’s part of my DNA; I can’t help but want to cause it.

I see it in my son, too: that cheeky smile and glint in his eyes, and it makes me smile every time. I find so engaging and disarming.

In the world of social change, there are two mischief makers that really make me smile: the wonderful Pam Warhurst from Incredible Edible and Jason Roberts from Build a better block.

These two movements are captivating people and spreading worldwide. They have discovered that mischief is a super-effective weapon against bureaucracy and both find ways to break rules in small, playful ways, to cause social change. They are the epitome of a new type of leader. I defy anyone to watch their TEDx talks (Pam, Jason) without it evoking something deep in them.

Many people think that making things happen should be a serious business. I believe the opposite. Something within us loves a bit of mischief. And engaging and captivating people is so much easier and more effective these days, in our world of social media and innovation.

To truly engage people and make things happen, throw away the suit and tie, the strategy documents, the project plan. Just come together in fun and do something. If you think change is a serious endeavour, you are missing one of the greatest opportunities of all: to laugh, to smile and to feel young again.

Children change us. If you’ve ever had a young child, you will know that they have a healthy disrespect for rules and boundaries. Most of us lose this as we get older. Yet mischief is a super skill that needs to be developed and nurtured, rather than quashed.

Rather than teaching them to never break rules, why are we not encouraging kids to break rules in the right way? I recall my trip to the innovative Blue School in New York, where mischief and rule-breaking is part of the curriculum for young kids. The founder proudly showed me a guerilla art exhibition: none of the teachers knew who had done it. I can’t wait to see what those kids go on to do in the world.

And what is the first thing most people look for on every dating site? A ‘good sense of humour’. If we require this for something so important in life – surely we should be developing skills that help us thrive?

Seriousness is a disease that has somehow enveloped the planet. It is no surprise that people feel disconnected from politics, and from the organisations they work for. Our systems have become dull and uninspiring. We can feel old and tired just thinking about them.

I don’t know about you, but I want to feel eternally young on the inside. I want to be inspired to play and have fun. I don’t want to be thinking that ‘I can’t do this’ or ‘I shouldn’t do that’. That’s the best way to take the fun out of anything.

What I have learnt from a lifetime of mischief is that you can make it up as you go along. You don’t need to know what you are doing to get somewhere. You can push the boundaries with a smile on your face, and that will take you further.

The boring, serious barriers of the past are tumbling. Our communities, our companies, our families can move away from black and white towards a life of vibrant colour. We live in an incredible new world where wonderful, playful mischievous skills can make really positive things happen.

Make someone’s day. In the comments section below, share your stories of how mischief makes things happen.

Marc 😉

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  1. A wise man once told me you can apologize after. 🙂 This is one of my favorites, Marc. I couldn’t agree more, we need to have fun and mischief in all that we do. 🙂

  2. Humor is the key and it can be seen in the brainwaves in our minds. On purpose I use the mind it goes beyond the brain. It has effect to us all.

  3. Glenwood Johnson says

    I agree as it seems those that reach their aspirations and goals have incorporated that sense of mischief – that sense of curiousity, exploration, and wonder – into what they do and into their lives. We, as a species, have progressed most during times of curious disruption.

    “Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind. And life unkind”

  4. Sahira Ward says

    Hi Marc I’m a crazy person and made Incredible Edible Dunstable with my hubby and few neighbours. I’ve met Pam and Mary and am just doing it. The poo has hit the fan so many times but I wont give up, because there are people like you out there who give me strength. So thank you for this blog. xx

  5. Pam MEunier says

    I totally agree with using humour and creativity in our lives and careers! In my work in government, I tried to encourage my staff to feel comfortable in working with people in positions of “power” by reminding them that politicians have bowel movements like anyone. Somehow that made sense to them! Finding the fun in every situation should be everyones right!

  6. I love this article Marc! So, light yet thought provoking. Right, right adding some forms of mischievous plays really help me (us) in our job in the BPO industry. It drives away boredom and stress especially when dealing with difficult customers.

  7. Dear Marc,

    This one will definitely be shared on my fb wall again. I don’t do such things often, but this one really deserves it! I fully agree with your words here…
    Hope to hear more about your experiences with biocybernaut. I’m thinking about it too…
    Keep it up!

  8. Don’t take life too seriously…..no-one gets out alive! This little reminder is mounted above my desk. Lightness, fun and mischief is our true nature, as shown by children who haven’t had a chance to have it covered up by a society wide misunderstanding of how our experience is being created. When we understand that we are creating our own experience of life from the inside out on a moment to moment basis all boundries and rules about what is possible fall away. From this space of clarity and freedom from busy habitual thinking fresh new thought and creativity can flow through us and this insight and inspiration is what changes our personal world through following our wisdom. As more of us raise our level of consciousness we change the world around us……let the mischief begin!!!!

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