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The Mindset of Play

The Mindset of Play

Posted by Susan Dix in Resilience 19 Dec 2016

Learning How to be More Creative


I was reminded today in my meditation of the importance of play. Thought I would pass it along – lately I keep getting reminded that I am too serious these days. There is nothing like laughter and fun to boost those endorphins! Laughter is so amazing, and I am working at laughing more. Sounds silly doesn’t it? Working at laughing more. I think so, but silly is okay. Truth is that play and laughter feed our souls our creativity and our brains.

We all get so serious when we grow up.   Most things, while perhaps important, are really not as life-or-death as we feel them to be.   It is pretty simple, play and the open-minded, joyful, childlike mindset that comes with it are HUGE contributors to creativity. Creativity is what we all require to continue to evolve and succeed – even thrive – in this fast paced world.

How are you doing? Could your laughter quotient be improved? What you can do for yourself to improve your mindset and outlook for the New Year?

A Playful Mindset – Do You Have One?

How do you feel about playing? When was the last time you let yourself truly play? Do you allow yourself to really be free like a kid and enjoy what you are doing? Do you ever get down on the floor and wrestle or tickle your kids or grandkids until you both are laughing out loud? When was the last time you had a good belly laugh? And, to be clear, I am not talking about laughing at someone else’s expense, which often happens in office politics or today’s humor. I am talking about a positive, happy fun where everyone wins all around laugh-out-loud-just-because. Get it?

What about Competition? Striving to Re-Balance Your Brain

More often as we grow up, fun comes to mean competition. The battle to win in sports, for example. We train our kids to that at such a young age, it’s remarkable to me. For example, the importance of winning the “Super Bowl” for my son’s undefeated flag football team was intense. He was enthusiastic, always running down the field with a smile, but honestly not the best player. He was new to the team.   The importance of winning (to the parents and coaches) meant he played for one play in that “Super Bowl” game. That was a lot of sideline time for a kid. Makes sense you think? Maybe.

Would you feel differently if you knew that he – and all his teammates – were in kindergarten at the time? Yup, kinder. He was 5 years old. Although much lip service is given to the importance of “just having fun” and learning the game, when it comes down to it – winning is what matters to most in our culture. We get trained in competition for its own sake at a very young age.  Especially as an attorney and a trail lawyer at that, I get competition and loving to win.

It is not bad to be competitive, that is not what I am saying. Just try to keep a healthy perspective.   Realize how your brain has been trained over the years in our society that values work and competition over just about everything.   Question whether play and lightening up a bit just for its own sake could actually improve your outlook, career and life. I know it can.

Get Your Play On!

Competition replaces play in the freeform sense of what an innocent child creates. Is it no wonder then that the vast majority of us have an adverse mindset towards play as we mature? Grow up. Be serious. Be successful, we are taught. Stop being so silly! There is benefit to learning those lessons – Peter Pan does not get far in life. Right?

Yes, it is important to be responsible. However, play is really important to contributing to your brains ability to remain flexible, joyful and open to those intuitive spontaneous bursts of creativity. Creativity that is highly prized and increasingly required for success.

Try taking some time off for you and your family to enjoy each other. Go out and have a snow ball fight – if you can find some snow. Go extra fast down those slopes. Put on some tunes – dance and sing. Relax and laugh. You will come back to the office with renewed vitality and creativity for addressing 2017.


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