“I’ll be out in the garage” is a phrase often uttered by my husband on weekends. What exactly happens “in the garage”? Some days he’ll emerge having reorganized all of his bikes, surfboards, SUPS, kayaks, skateboards (shall I go on?), and other days I can’t tell if anything really happened. But I think that’s the point. It doesn’t have to.
And it’s why I believe in tinkering.
The guy gets to be alone, without an agenda, without the kids asking to play monster, or me asking about the status of the (insert chronic historical house problem here.) He gets to do no-thing, while doing some-thing, and think. But he gets to think without being charged with thinking. And he gets to use his hands and figure stuff out – work stuff out – build stuff out – without much attachment to an outcome or life-changing expectations. When else in your life do you tinker – with no strings attached? This is how problems are solved, ideas born. Garages are ideal, but there are other options, too.
I’ve solved client issues while building magazine collages with my girls. I’ve thought of short stories while washing dishes or cleaning out the spice drawer. I’ve dreamed up solutions to friends’ conundrums – personally, in business, in life – while weeding my vegetable garden.
My grandfather used to spend hours “down at the boat.” I’d see my grandmother roll her eyes at this, as we all knew the boat hadn’t actually worked in decades. But now I get it. And respect it.
Should we consider Intentional Tinkering? Conscious tinkering? LeanInTinkering? Tinkering Forward?
Someone stop me.