I’m inspired by playfulness when I see it. People playing with their dogs or kids, the guy who fills his workspace with toys, the woman with the dashboard of her car filled with odd objects or a silly bumpersticker. The checker who greets me at the grocery store and when I say loudly in response to the amount I owe, “Are you kidding me!?” gets the joke and laughs.
You can inspire playfulness anywhere, anytime. You can spend a day or a year pretending to be an artist, you can take up the ukelele and start your own one person band. You can plant your garden in the shape of your favorite _______. Organized and spontaneous play allows us to relax and let the good in.
Playing accelerates innovation.
It’s an automatic de-stressor. It opens wider that two way interchange with life and puts the critical self on hold. It lets the alpha waves in. Those are the good fairy waves that help your brain mash thoughts together to come up with better ideas.
Playing requires only a willingness on your part to suspend belief and use your imagination as a guide. Ask yourself, how can I make this more fun? How can we do something silly? What kinds of ridiculous things might I wear, eat, do? When we were young we spontaneously played. Secretly, when we are alone, we still do. Sometimes it is just a fantasy that we are having in our heads, other times, we experiment, we take a Zumba class, we join a team, we dress up for a football game. All of this makes us healthier, and believe it or not, wiser.
When I first moved to Seattle, Scott Ward and I secretly played tennis almost every afternoon. Scott is my secret weapon. Not only is he a superb visual artist, he is also my favorite playmate. We were both terrible at tennis, the ball would go wildly all over the court. Rather than swim against the current, we decided to make up our own game. We called it Tigawatab. In the game of Tigawatab, every time your ball was at the net because you hit it badly, you had to run to the net and do a set of pushups or a plank hold, or run around the outside of the court. At the time, I believe we were both trying to get into better shape, so this was our way of making “workout” fun. Variations on Tigawatab included if we were alone on the court, we would take over the one next to us and play both courts when the ball went flying over there. We made up stories about the tennis ball, we made up songs, we parodied grunting, you get the picture.
Playing is easy. it’s natural.
You are going to have a meeting, you decide to bring costumes for your team and have them wear them. You don’t have to role play (although you could) you don’t have to do anything more than offering freedom and people will respond. I can guarantee once they get beyond the shock (and you let go of worrying about that one person who won’t play with you) they will expand into their true nature…that of a child. Your meeting will be fun and you’ll be surprised at how much more you get done.
Honestly,we all need to play more, and more often. He doesn’t know it yet, but Scott and I are starting a
Do you want to come out to play?