Posts Tagged ‘Play’

We’ve all heard the familiar scoldings growing up. “Quit fooling around.” “Will you please grow up.” “When will you stop acting like a child?”


Well if it were up to me, the answer to that last question would be never.


In an effort to eliminate the childish qualities from our behavior as we race toward adulthood, our child-like qualities often become part of the collateral damage. And that is too bad. By losing our child-like qualities, we lose an immensely valuable resource – the ability to play.


The value and benefits of play cannot be overstated. Studies have found that fun and play are foundational elements in unleashing a person’s creative powers to think differently. They are a critical ingredient in connecting people, improving relationships, increasing productivity, breaking down communication and personal barriers, and alleviating stress and tension.


Unfortunately, all too often I find that many grown-ups shun the idea of having fun and playing, especially at work. It is as if we believe work can’t or shouldn’t be fun . . . otherwise we wouldn’t call it work. Right? You’ve probably heard someone say that at some point in your life.


The only thing that mentality leads to though is more drudgery in our workplaces as we slog through the day.


game1 But what if we worked differently? What if we changed our mentality and approach to work and brought more play into our workplace? What if we addressed “serious” work-related issues by playing games?


That is something I have been doing with my clients for many years now, and if their success is any measure, I would say that playing games actually provides them with a competitive advantage as it unleashes all of the benefits listed above and improves the performance of the employees and the company as a whole.


Of course, these aren’t just any games. It’s not like we break out into a game of freeze tag in the middle of a meeting . . . not that I don’t think corporate America could benefit from a good game of freeze tag. Rather, these games are customized, non-electronic, experiential games that are designed to further a company’s goals and facilitate the important conversations necessary to advance progress.


And I believe play has a cumulative effect on people and companies. The more you play, the more creative, productive, connected and stress-free you become.

So that leaves just one question –


Are you playing enough as an adult in your workplace?


It’s time to shake up the way we relate to work – especially in larger organizations and corporations. There is a reason why children laugh and play more than adults. You may think the easy answer is that children have less to worry about. But maybe the right answer is that they remember something we don’t. Perhaps we adults need to learn the valuable gift of play children have to teach us.


Seven days without laughter makes one weak.

Mort Walke


Talk about gaming the system! Enjoy this moment of fun from the classic 1980s movie WarGames, where even the most serious of topics was made into a game.

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This past fall I had a fascinating conversation with a friend while at the Farmer’s Market.  Among the many interesting topics we talked about, our conversation touched on the growing inequality in the United States and the SHOCKING distribution of wealth among its citizens.  This disparity was recently publicized by a video that went viral on YouTube. (You can view the video at the end of this post)


(Before you get your partisan knickers in a knot, to be clear, the point I want to make has nothing to do with privilege, politics, the right to make a living . . . let alone a fortune, or the opportunity this country affords anyone who wishes to set out on that path of wealth.   So keep reading if you want to mine the real gold here.)


dollars 2After pointing out the inequality, my friend and I started talking about what might drive such an imbalance.  I suggested that one reason might be the generally understood “game” in this country called, “The person with the most money, wins.”  We all seem to have unwittingly enlisted in this game to accumulate money and wealth over the course of our lives.


To this, my friend responded by saying something I found to be bold and beautiful.  She said,“Well, that is not the game I am playing. I am playing the game called ‘Be more kind.'”


She then shared with me that in looking at her life, she knew she was not always as kind as she could be and she was striving to be more kind to those around her.  She then followed this amazing statement with one equally as fantastic, saying, “I chose not to play the money game.  I could have played it.  I could have chosen to be a stockbroker when I got out of school in the go-go 1980’s when the focus in this country shifted to money, but I was too lazy and had no interest in that area.”




Such a powerful and honest declaration required two important elements, both of which are key for anyone to possess happiness in life –


  1. Awareness (of who she is and what she wants).
  2. Personal responsibility (acknowledgment AND ownership of the choices she made in her life).


All of which leads to the BIG question YOU must answer in order to find that same happiness and fulfillment –


What game are you playing in your life?


If you can’t answer that question, then you will always chase the Ghost of Contentment . . . one you will surely never catch.


The only games worth playing are the ones that bring you happiness.

– R. Largman


2014 just started.   Do you know what game you are playing this year?


It may be the money game for you. If so, go for it. But it may not. Maybe you want to play the kindness game. Or the creativity game. Or the parenthood game. Or the peace of mind game. Or the grow my business game. Or the . . .


Don’t get caught up in someone else’s game if it is not the one you wish to play. If you want to play a different game, be sure to know and understand what YOUR game is. Choose it powerfully, commit to it, and play it FULL OUT!!


Doing so will ensure that happiness is just around the corner for you.


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The Fun Factor

It is almost impossible not to smile when you see a baby smiling.  Or laugh when you hear the contagious laughter of children at play.  Their joy abounds and appears almost limitless.  They are so present to the moment they are practically lost in it, drinking it in to its fullest and living in it as if it were their job to do so.  Their lives are about engaging in play, and in doing so, they learn immense amounts of knowledge.  It is simply awesome.

Unfortunately, we adults have not carried this wisdom forward with us as we grow older.  We leave many of the child-like qualities behind with a judgment that they are not appropriate or necessary.  Sadly, that is not true.  In fact, the benefits of borrowing from the way children learn and live their lives – in play and fun – is immensely valuable to us as adults.

Studies have found that fun is a foundational element in unleashing a person’s creative powers to think differently.  It is also a critical ingredient in connecting people, improving relationships, increasing productivity, breaking down communication and personal barriers, and alleviating stress and tension.  The value and benefits of fun should not be overlooked.

A fascinating experiment was recently conducted in Stockholm on the value of play and fun.  Essentially, the conclusion was that if you make work more fun, more people are likely to engage in it and take on the hard work

If you have 2 minutes, watch this video and witness the results for yourself:


It has been a challenging year for many and the worries have been great.  I invite you all to get lost in a playful and fun moment and see the difference it makes in your life, work and business.  When we exist in such moments we get lost in the “flow”, a place where creativity abounds, answers are revealed and goals more brilliantly achieved.  

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