“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.
By now, most of us are looking forward to a much deserved summer break – getting away from overheated brains and serious work. Why is it that we need to wait for summer to play? What ever happened to unbridled joy in our daily lives? Remember the fun of play we experienced as children?
Much of my work, particularly with those “higher up” in an organization, are discussions about how to keep innovating and renewing ourselves as leaders. We all start out in life playing quite naturally, having fun with whatever’s available. But by the time we start our careers, we have learned to be serious, to squelch our natural drive for fun.
According to Dr. Brown, the opposite of work is not play. Play and work are mutually supportive. Play is not the enemy of work, in fact, neither can thrive without the other. We need the newness of play, the sense of flow, imagination, and energy of being in the moment.
What do work and play have in common? Creativity! – the key to creating new relationships, skills, and making things happen. Many clients talk to me about their overwhelming sense of responsibility and competitiveness which buries their inherent instinct for variety and challenge, eventually leading to stress and burn-out. Recognizing our innate need for play can transform performance and quality of life. When we stop playing, we stop growing, and we begin dying.
There is power in play, even for the most serious of careers – so let’s start playing, get our kids playing, get our partners playing … and see what future we can create!
Have a fantastic Summer,