Seven Steps to a More Playful Life

Get Comfortable

Hungry, tired, and uncomfortable aren’t good conditions for serious play. Sleep well, have a healthy meal, and put on relaxed fit pants and
shirts before you set off in search of fun.

Give Yourself Time

Play is as essential to our long term well being as food, water and sleep.
Set aside a few hours, or even better a whole day or weekend to do
nothing but indulge in fun … it’s a necessary luxury that will
reap rewards in higher creativity, mental efficiency, and
productivity. You will also avoid reaching burn out.

Start Moving

Put on some music and let yourself move to it, hum along, or sing out
loud if you feel the impulse. Creativity and playfulness are rooted
not just in your mind, but also your body, and music touches both.

Be Messy

The reason that we dress kids in wash and wear clothes and sit them at
plastic tables is that play is messy! So whatever your playtime
involves – whether it be drawing, cooking, dancing, gardening, or
creative brainstorming – don’t worry about doing it perfectly and
don’t worry about the outcome. Just enjoy the mess and stay in the
present moment.

Take on a Different Role

If you play with others give up traditional hierarchy. If you are
playing with co-workers you may have the more junior members of the
team take the lead for a change.

Fail With Gusto

To paraphrase what Titanic director James Cameron once said, failure is
always an option, but fear is not. Embrace failure as part of the
process of life. Don’t get hung up on what you are doing, why you
are doing it, and where it is leading or not. Accept your fear of
failure and get on with it; if you don’t, you can’t evolve.

Open the Floodgates

In French we have a saying that translates roughly as, “Jack
laughing, Jack weeping,” meaning that when you open yourself to
one emotion you access the whole range of your emotions. But if you
keep yourself from feeling a particular emotion then you ban yourself
from the whole gamut of your emotions. So go ahead and cry at the sad
movie, laugh out loud at the absurdities of daily life, or vent your
frustration in a kickboxing class! Emotions are the fuel for
authentic living and our best source of energy and creativity.

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