Recently my family and I visited the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo. This place gives a great insight into the creative process behind the magical animated films of Studio Ghibli – films such as Spirited Away, Ponyo and My Neighbour Totoro (pictured). There is an especially strong focus on the work and vision of filmmaker and creative genius Hayao Miyazaki.
As we entered, I was struck by the slogan “let’s get lost together”. Alongside this was encouragement to explore the exhibits freely, rather than to follow a set path through the museum.
“LET’S GET LOST TOGETHER.” What a powerful idea!
Getting lost is about moving away from the known, it’s about taking chances, it’s about not knowing what we will find, it’s about throwing away maps and plans, and it’s about being open for surprises. It’s about moving beyond our predictable, routine lives and embracing a state of not knowing. When we allow ourselves to become lost, we awaken aspects of our intelligence and creativity that we don’t use in the safe and known worlds we usually inhabit.
When we get lost with others the benefits are greater still. Magic can happen as we gain the benefits of shared experience, we allow new ideas to emerge from our interactions, we prop each other up, we hold each other accountable, we combine our strengths in unexpected ways, and we make our relationships richer and more robust.
Unfortunately, becoming lost is now an unusual thing. With our busy lives we aim for the most efficient path from A to B in whatever we are doing, rather than taking the scenic route. We almost always have online maps to show us where to go, and we have easy access to all of the information we need with just a few taps on a phone.
In the workplace it’s important that we encourage people to get lost together. Getting lost at work involves trying new things where the outcome is not known and embarking on projects where there is no certainty of success. It is about suspending assumptions that normally constrain thinking, being curious about how things can be done better, and experimenting with new approaches. Getting lost together calls for collaboration and teamwork of the deepest and most constructive kind.
For all sorts of reasons I suggest we take the advice of Hayao Miyazaki and get lost together. Who knows what riches we may find!