Like many others, I’m inclined to cross lines. It’s exciting because I always discover new things. Stealing a cookie while I know I shouldn’t, sustaining a verbal fight longer than is good for the relationship, overloading myself with work to see if I can manage it, dressing myself an a sometimes radically different way than is the norm.

Much later I discovered that this trait is part of my role as a magician. The trickster part is one of the cornerstones of the magician as the ultimate change agent. The book “Trickster makes this world” by Lewis Hyde (2010) is subtitled: “Mischief, myth and art”. In the book, Hyde defends that the “trickster” role is necessary for development and growth. We need figures like Reinaert the  Fox, Pippi Longstocking, Bugs Bunny, Tijl Uilenspiegel to stress-test reality. Disconnected tricksters such as the Batman Joker just disrupt to disrupt. Which usually leads to crime or aggression and destruction.

To much comfort will become uncomfortable

You can prevent a lot of negative resistance in organizations by allowing the trickster to take the stage early. Allow early protesters to voice their concerns and help them connect to the underlying ultimate goals to help you transform. If you don’t do this, pat positions will develop as they often did in old-fashioned trade union actions and negotiations. You are then already far too late. Instead of transforming reality it will polarize.

On a smaller scale you can unleash the trickster within yourself. If you feel the energy diminishes, things become predictable and boring or you find it hard to stay focused, it’s time to disrupt. Write an email as if you were Shakespeare or a rapper. Ask a colleague an unexpectedly deep question. Call a stranger and ask her / him advice. Come up with a surprise for a colleague, friends or your partner or kids. Energy will be released and you will distance yourself from current reality and be able to see the bigger picture. Fresh ideas are guaranteed.

George Parker
+31 6 5110 8415