Charles Starrett


Blog, links, and…

Culture consultant & social tech teacher/facilitator at SoulCo & Northeastern University. He/Him. Dad, Harvard and NEC alum, visual thinker, dabbler in ukulele, electronic music, 한국어, and TTRPGs.


Learning by doing

“Don’t think about game design. Don’t read about game design. Don’t watch videos about game design. Just get to work and create 30 small games based on your gut instinct. Then you’ll start to think like a game designer.”

This advice I saw on Twitter got me thinking about my own journey with mindfulness, awareness practices, and emotional intelligence. All the books, trainings, and wisdom I heard sounded great, but didn’t help me create any real change. I thought I understood it, but now I know the difference between knowing something in my head, and understanding something so that I can act on it.

Knowing that I have the choice to let go of a failure so that I can learn from it is one thing. Understanding the experience of feeling the burn of failure, then moving to self-compassion and self-forgiveness, and finally opening the mind and heart so I can learn is something that takes time and repeated practice—and many failures as well!

Knowing that the person who cut me off in traffic might have an emergency and isn’t necessarily being selfish is one thing. Noticing the anger that flares up when it happens, being kind to my own anger so that it can calm down, and then remembering that the safest and healthiest thing I can do is to create more space in myself by breathing, and on the road by hanging back a bit has taken years of practice.

Knowing that whatever situation I find myself in is going to change is one thing. Understanding that what I am experiencing right now, good or bad, is only here in this moment and that in an hour, tomorrow, or next week things could be completely different has taken consistent noticing to have the insight over and over again of how much what I think will last, or what I think will happen, doesn’t. How the stuck project unexpectedly moves forward. How the rich, working relationship falls apart. How the step into the unknown that I was terrified of taking turned out to be a gift, once I mustered the courage.

There aren’t enough hours in anyone’s lifetime to read all the books with all the wisdom, and in the end it doesn’t matter. The only wisdom that is worthwhile is wisdom we can turn into action. And the only way to gain that wisdom is through learning by doing.

14 August 2022

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