Among the best creative activities is brainstorming – which can be an enjoyable and highly productive form of play. When we’re playing, we are far more open to all possibilities. Assumptions about our limitations fall away.
Einstein said, “Play is the highest form of research.” And Emerson said, “It is a happy talent to know how to play.”
Play in the form of brainstorming teaches us to think synergistically – and have fun in the process. How you do at brainstorming most likely has everything to do with how playful you allow yourself to be.
What kind of brainstormer are you? Can you relax and appear to be foolish as if you’re playing – all in service of better or more creative thinking – and for just having fun?
What do you think of brainstorming as play? Do you see benefits from playing / brainstorming in your life and your career? Can you imagine using the web as a source of playing / brainstorming?
As we play as children, we are always learning. Our play often emulates family and work life where we play and act out roles that we are trying on.
Dr. Spock, the famous pediatrician, wrote, “A child loves her play not because it’s easy, but because it’s hard.” Acting “as if” is a way of understanding situations by behaving and even thinking as though they are true.
In this context, play has clear benefit. The slogan “fake it until you make it” means to play or pretend that you are where you want to be as a primary means of ultimately getting there. “Let’s pretend” or “let’s play like” are common childhood expressions that each of us can apply to contemporary situations.
Where in your life would you benefit from “playing like” you are where you want to be? What kind of identity would support your growth? Can you “play like” or “pretend” that you are the person who has reached some key goals? Can you “play like” and still maintain your authenticity and integrity?
What shifts would that kind of play likely produce for you? What impact would that kind of play have on others? How can you support others “living into” their dreams in similar ways?
Play has been celebrated by thinkers throughout history. How alive is the child within you? Do you give the child who lives inside you the permission to play? What about others? Do you allow them to be playful without judging them?
Dr. Stuart Brown said, “Play allows us to develop alternatives to violence and despair; it helps us learn perseverance and optimism.”
In other words, in an ironic twist: Play is seriously important! LOL
Workplaces can be playful without being out of control. Humor and fun and play allow hugely greater degrees of relatedness among human beings and, thus, help us get along better and be happier in our relationships.
Who do you play with? Is play integrated into your life? Do you teach, model and encourage others within your sphere of influence that play is positive and deserves encouragement? Hopefully, you have not, as Neruda wrote, lost forever the child who lived in you.
Come out and play fair, play safe, play fun! Please write and let us know how you are at play.
Silliness is a wonderful form of playfulness. How precious it is to cultivate light-heartedness and relax the ego’s insistence on being important.
I have some very good friends who, like me, are monkeys. Monkeys are smart and playful – and even downright silly. What does the adult part of you think about playfulness and silliness? Have you ever felt like a monkey?
Have you noticed any fear associated with silliness and playfulness? Yet, couldn’t we all use a ready wit, an easy sense of humor, along with precious little need to take ourselves seriously?
Are you playful and silly? What are the conditions which have best allowed these qualities to shine through? How do family and cultural patterns about playfulness show up in your behaviors and belief systems? Who are the people with whom you feel most comfortable and safe to be fully yourself – even when you’re being goofy and silly?
Memorial Day Weekend is the traditional beginning of summer, our best season for playfulness. Let’s shift from seriousness to playfulness, lightness and fun.
Remember the joy we felt as children when school ended and we were free? It was fun to eagerly anticipate three months of unscheduled days and staying up late, summer camp and family vacations, swimming and being around water at the ocean or the lake?
Now, consider how you’re starting the summer of 2010. How can you make it more playful? Can you give yourself permission to be free to enjoy your life in ways that perhaps only summer provides?
Consider the next three to four months, and map out the activities that you need to have a playful summer. How much is enough play for you? How willing are you to give yourself the gift of playfulness?