“The problem isn’t just that these exercises are pointless and silly. For a lot of people, this stuff can be really stressful. For older workers — say, people over 50 — these workshops compound the fear they already have about being pushed out of their jobs.”
Pointless and silly only means you don’t see their point. And their point is very simple. Being a child is about discovery and discovery breeds creativity in a very generalised form. As you grow, you become specialised, you turn to what you want to do. This directions always end up with you ‘knowing what to do’ and applying recipes learned through years of developing solutions (whether it’s software or sewing handbags or creating designs). Very few people can escape this situation.
So, going back (in a way) to rediscover stuff in a simple way helps to reset some neuropathways and help reboot (at least partially) creativity and learning ability. You can do this for most stuff you already went through in your lifetime.
Yes, it can come with some fear. Yes, it’s a competitive world out there and this is why this stuff is important. Going all kindergardnery breeds adaptation.