The Power of Play
What ever happened to unbridled joy in our daily lives? Remember the fun of play we experienced as children? Maybe we need to renew ourselves and start playing more.
Nearly everyone starts out in life playing quite naturally, having fun with whatever’s available. We make up rules, invent games with playmates, fantasize and imagine mysteries and treasures.
Something happens as we become working adults: we shift our priorities into organized, competitive goal-directed activities. If an activity doesn’t teach us a skill, make us money, or further our social relationships, we don’t want to waste time being nonproductive.
Sometimes the sheer demands of daily living and family responsibilities seem to rob us of the ability to play.
“I have found that remembering what play is all about and making it part of our daily lives are probably the most important factors in being a fulfilled human being. The ability to play is critical not only to being happy, but also to sustaining social relationships and being a creative, innovative person.” ~ Stuart Brown, MD, author of Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination and Invigorates the Soul, Penguin Books, 2009.
Dr. Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play, presents his ideas on this TED TV video: Play is More than Fun. Sprinkled with anecdotes demonstrating the play habits of subjects from polar bears to corporate CEOs, Brown promotes play at every age.
Dr. Brown offers this definition:
Play is an absorbing, apparently purposeless activity that provides enjoyment and a suspension of self-consciousness and sense of time. It is also self-motivating and makes you want to do it again.
We underestimate the power of play. Imagine a world without play – not only an absence of games or sports, but an absence of movies, arts, music, jokes, and dramatic stories. No day-dreaming, no teasing, no flirting. Play is what lifts people out of the routine of the mundane, and offers a means to find joy in even the little things.
As we step into 2019 remember that play stimulates creativity. As we explored in the last series on coaching, when we create a safe environment creativity flourishes. So, make sure your play is safe and remember that sarcasm is not safe.
Play, fun or entertainment historically may have carried a religious bent to it of being sinful. I believe God loves for us to play. He enjoys us as Our Heavenly Father. The reality is that play, fun and entertainment are of themselves neither good nor bad. I would lean towards Colossians 3:17 – “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him”. Is our play pleasing to God? If so then I say more play, more better generating more creativity and reducing anxiety.
In my work coaching people (moleadershipcoaching.com) we discuss the importance of enjoyment and play. No matter the seriousness of your work, you need to find ways of renewing yourself through the power of play.