My walk for the school-run was glorious this morning. It takes me through the park and along the riverbank, so with today’s cloudless sky and the day already baking hot, it was a recipe for mindfulness.
As so often happens when I’m outside, it inspired me.
When I have the pleasure of working with the National Trust I notice something interesting about the gardeners and rangers within the groups – they cannot stand being inside all day. For people used to being out and about, a training room, no matter how full of colour, ideas and energy, will never be their ideal place to learn. And it’s not only people whose jobs are based outside who feel like that.
So, whenever the weather is kind, we always weave some walking-talking and outside activity into our programmes. For many people, it’s crucial to their learning.
It’s not about how smart you are, but how you are smart.
Professor Howard Gardner’s work has identified 9 ‘multiple intelligences’; they go some way to helping us understand that we are all gifted in a blend of different ways due to the unique combination of our cognitive abilities and personality characteristics. You can find out what yours might be here.
People with ‘naturalistic intelligence’, first described by Gardner in the mid-nineties, are energised and inspired by time spent in the natural world; they are skilled, confident and comfortable there, and it’s where they learn best. They display curiosity for nature, and are often skilled in the classification of species and identification of natural patterns.
Regardless of your unique range of ‘smarts’, we know that the great outdoors is great for everyone. With huge benefits for child development, as outlined by bestforthekids.com, the popularity of natural learning opportunities and forest schools is unsurprising.
In terms of physical health, it’s where we are most likely to be active, boosts our vitamin D intake, and reduces stress. In addition, the combination of increased oxygen-levels and a change of scene has the power to unlock creativity and innovative thought.
If you’re grappling with an issue at your desk, research has shown that one of the best ways forward is to ditch the tech and go for a walk.
Research by the American Psychological Association found that walking outside produced ‘the most novel and highest quality analogies….opening up the free flow of ideas’.
“All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking” – Nietzsche (1889)
This month’s call to action:
- It’s lovely out there! Whether it’s taking the time to head to the park with your lunch or meeting outside, go for it.
- Let your legs and your mind wander. What new thoughts and insights happen?
If we can help you or your organisation tap into your unique ‘smarts’ via creative training, coaching or team development events, please drop us a line – we’d love to help!