“I would redefine adulthood by being serious. And sometimes being serious about not being serious.”
That’s Adil Dhalla, executive director of Toronto’s Center For Social Innovation (CSI) – one of the first communal working spaces. A center that embodies something near and dear to Adil – making genuine human connections. According to Adil, as we get older we grow out of pursuing those connections and don’t take the time to play the same way as we did as kids.
It’s why he’s on a mission to change that mindset and bring our playful spirits back to life. He’s doing so with an adult summer camp, mobs of ukulele players at the subway, and even through the co-working center. Also discussed this episode? Adil’s progressive views on gender roles, the importance of empathy, and how getting vulnerable is honest, raw, and pretty amazing. All that plus much more on Xero Gravity #88!
“When did you stop playing?” It’s a simple yet important question that Adil asks. A question that a lot of people don’t have a clear answer for. It just happens at some point. Seeing that same pattern in his own life, Adil co-founded Camp Reset – an adult summer camp where you turn off from the outside and just play. “Every single person I know likes to play. And every single person I know at some point growing up was told that you’re not supposed to play anymore,” Adil tells host Elizabeth Ü.
“If we can create opportunities for play for people in an environment to which they are fully present, then their ability to connect with human beings would be so much deeper. And when we connect with humans, our ability to transform as individuals is that much greater,” he continues.
And Adil stresses that making those connections is crucial. But in order for us to understand each other on a deeper level, there’s a degree of empathy that’s needed. “Empathy in my mind is probably one of the most valuable skills of the 21st century and beyond,” he says. Without it, those real connections suffer. According to Adil, men, in particular, have previously lacked that sort of empathy in society, but he sees a shift happening into what he calls ‘the modern man’ who’s “more emotional and more in touch with his emotional intelligence.” That’s something we can get on board with!
Tune in for more on masculinity and the modern man from Adil on Xero Gravity #88. You’ll also hear more on the importance of adding play into your life – including a lesson on strategy and agility from a snowy sumo wrestling match. And you don’t want to miss his thoughts on keeping your personal life and professional life as one.
- BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies)’s Local Economy Fellowship
- Simon Sinek’s book Leaders Eat Last
- Brene Brown’s TED talk on the Power of Vulnerability
- Radical Candor
If you enjoyed this episode, join us again next week when we welcome Rob Roy Campbell. We’ll be chatting with him about the audio recording equipment he’s creating that big studios probably used to produce your favorite albums. Be sure to check out all of our previous episodes for more small business tips, resources and insights.
What would you like to hear?
Got a topic you’d like to hear discussed? Or a business expert you admire and would like to hear from? Let us know in the comments below!
Project Ukelele Gangsterism (PUG)