How to achieve the impossible
What can a clown teach? Quite a lot, if his name is Slava Polunin. The legendary clown and creator of the Academy of Idiots, whose art has been admired worldwide, recently presented at the Skolkovo innovation center.
When you glance at the 67-year old Slava Polunin or listen to him talk, you understand that life is a game. More accurately, life is a performance, a brilliant performance, as Polunin himself says. He organizes this performance just as he does every one of his shows. It is enough to note how Slava carefully set up the decorations before his performance at Skolkovo. First he decided that he suddenly did not like how the wooden boat with oars was set up on the improvised stage, then it was the color and configuration of the chairs around it… “A space needs to be filled with warmth,” the artist noted. “You need to feel its flow, its energy. The most important thing is for there to be harmony in everything.”
Polunin reaches harmony with the help of his principles. These principles are so good that he who understands them is greatly helped by them. This is not just in day-to-day life, but in business as well. Not surprisingly, Slava was invited to discuss these principles at the Skolkovo innovation center, where mind, creativity, and originality are appreciated. Slava himself noted during the gathering at Skolkovo technopark that he was “an economist by education, but a fool in life.”
Creativity are originality are two things that the “fool” Polunin has enough of to spare. During the beginning of his performance he recounted how he managed to collect 3 million dollars (!) during the late 1980’s in order to conduct his own international street festival in the spring and summer of 1989, in which more than 100 artists from 120 countries participated. Starting in Moscow, they traveled through all of Europe, turning the continent into one theatrical space. Interestingly, one and a half months after this grandiose show the Berlin Wall collapsed, following which the Velvet Revolution took place in Prague. Of course, there is no connection between these historical events and Polunin’s show. Though, who knows? Laughter is a powerful weapon!
Regardless, in answer to the question “How did he manage to collect 3 million dollars at that point?” Slava responded “When you do what you love, you accomplish the impossible.” This, seemingly, is Polunin’s main principle. Not surprisingly, Slava does only that which is impossible.
In accomplishing the impossible, Polunin is assisted by another principle: “Do that which you love with those who you want to hug. This is very important. Nothing will work if done with those you do not want to hug.”
According to the artist, he never criticizes or reprimands those with whom he works in his team. “I only praise everyone, from which people get so much energy that they could overturn a mountain,” he explains. Moreover, as soon as he begins one or another project, he calls upon everyone to fantasize and give word to the most unbelievably, crazy ideas. He listens to everyone, and never says no to anyone. There is another one of his principles: “If you see that a person is working – walk away, don’t interfere. If you see that a person is relaxing – go up to them and help.”
Polunin also tries to surround himself with happy people. “Whiners and cynics will come flocking by themselves,” Slava notes. Polunin is convinced that “de facto, positive attracts positive, and not the other way around. As has been determined, physics formulae where positive attracts minus do not work with people. The more positives you gather, the more positives you generate, no doubt about it.”
The artist can reject any project, no matter how interesting or successful it is. He has been doing so for 7 years: he closes an old project and opens a new one. Polunin calls this principle “legs in the water.” Here is how he describes this law: “You need to sit at the bank of the river, let your legs touch the water, doing nothing, sitting and thinking: what have you done these years? Why? Did you need to do that? Where are you going? Going one way forever is boring, uninteresting, and not right. You should question yourself and ask: are you happy or not?”
Slava Polunin’s principles work so amazingly well, that he has reached such a high level that he no longer looks for money for his project, but rather money looks for him. He gives birth to unique projects with ease. Could it be any other way for a person for whom every day is a holiday?