I was leading a life that was predictable
(5 days a week of work, same workmates and mostly 9 am to 5 pm routine).
Now many will say this kind of life is good, and I would surely have responded ‘Yes it is’ before I discovered the Power of Play.
It was a Monday morning, when i visited the Kindergarten.
What I found in a kindergarten was complete opposite to What I would have found in my workplace.
(I dropped in late, so might be all the separation anxiety led hullabaloo might have been diffused).
I found kids ‘PLAYING’, with a ball in the open with some of his school mates, wherein they stood in a circle and one of them would kick the ball and others would just run randomly and be happy.
They were not competing by rule and they were having fun.
With learning and growth also incorporated (like becoming stronger, learning to make friends, taking turns etc.)
As human we compete for attention, affection or hormone driven favor.
We adults also play but not the ones of similar kind as kids:
- Work and Play are separate for us (well, mostly opposites)
- When we play we play to win and not to have fun
(Congrats ! your definition of fun is now linked with winning)
- We make opponents before we make friends.
These things can be exhausting and lead you to an alone life.
I tried to give it a shot and started to play from that day- Trust me it made my day and changed life.
Playing to have fun and without keeping competitive scores.
You don’t play to get even with someone and feel great all the time.
[It is tough to find a playmate actually – people think either you are too kiddish or you have actually grown old. inside they also want to play.]
Mojo of Small Thing defines ‘Play’ as:
Any act (or a series) done with people you trust (a step towards psychological safety) , non-repetitive, harmless, full of surprises, uses your mind and body and creates joy.
Run, cycle, hop, jump, move, laugh, learn and do all that makes you happy.
Mojo of Small Things presents ‘ How starting to Play changed my life?’
1) Getting a day long mood boost.
Play does that to you.
I was happier and relatively stress free.
Play releases good hormones and they stay.
Play is therapeutic and helps build trust.
2) Making friends with interests far and wide.
In a work setting, it is tough to make friends.
Trust is an issue and competition a norm.
May be that’s why the friends we have from school lasts long? Because, we grew up playing with them.
Incorporating Play in general and at work in particular can change the equation you share with your colleagues and it happened to me.
Not only I met my colleagues in a relaxed environment, we were able to talk with our defenses off.
You can lose a play, but that way you will never lose a friend.
So Goes the saying, ‘ You can know more about a man in hours play then in weeks of talking with him’.
Not only conflict-free work environments are good for your health, they also promote networks that goes a long way.
Play also teaches us the Golden Rule of Networking !
Help before seeking Help – the vocabulary of Play has no F-word – F for FAVOR.
Bonus: Play can save families too. Play leads to quality time, memories and restoration of trust. Play but don’t mind loosing. That is why it is called Play and not a battle.
3) Feeling Healthier and Active.
No wonder kids are exploding with energy.
Play leads to them growing faster, metabolism is fast and they are ‘good hormone bombs’.
When i started playing, not only I became happier – I also became indefatigable (hey I am not tired honey !) ,alert and regained my ability to focus.
We skip opportunities to play, citing lack of time, energy or playmates as a prime reason, where as starting to play solved these problems.
When play becomes part of your day, you may decide to go back and redesign your day to incorporate play (thus becoming efficient and productive unknowingly).
4) Becoming Creative
‘Research shows that going away from your desk, taking a walk and playing can make you more creative’. I had read it, but started believing once it happened with me.
I suddenly became more creative, learned more and became more tenacious with problems.
5) Becoming More Organized
Life was ‘Carrying your work bag – Mandatory. Carrying your gym bag – Optional.’
Gym or any monotonous regime is not Play.
Once I became addicted to Play ( oops! I forgot to tell, Play can be addictive), I was walked into making a decision(s) to get my to-do list sorted, my routines in place, my belongings cut to minimum and warding off all the distractions – just to make sure that I was there for my dose of Play.
In short, I was becoming productive, focused and a minimalist – which I always wanted to be, buy never knew where to start.
Incorporating Play in Your life:
1) Carry things and mindset to Play.
2) Initiate and Invite People.
3) Eliminate the shallow and unproductive tasks
4) Have Fun.
5) Play at home too.
Did your Boss just said, ‘All work and No play makes Johnny a Dull boy’?
Include him too, if he is a sport and he will say so soon.
“Play is a basic human need as essential to our well-being as sleep, so when we’re low on play, our minds and bodies notice,” – Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play