Friday, May 01, 2009

Soap Box Friday: Do We Need To Learn How To Play?

Good Morning Everybody,
Well, today we wrap the last day of my Master Class. We had everyone to our home for dinner last night and gave them a peek at how we run our business and just plain do things around here. I think everyone enjoyed the short tour, but I think they liked the food more;~) We finish the day at noon and then it's back to the real world for us and a little break over the weekend before we head back out on tour on Monday - look out Seattle, here we come.
Anyway, on with the post today...

Do We Need To Learn How To Play?
Two weeks ago I posted an article entitled, "Are We All Just A Little Bit Lazy?" [link] It hit a chord for many readers and spoke to how we sometimes waste time in our lives and what we could do to change that behavior. Anyway, today's post deals with a different aspect of staying motivated, imaginative, and creative.

I was reading a story a few weeks ago about how high risk kids need to learn how to play. Their stress filled lives had no room for just having fun. It was a fascinating article - kids having to learn how to play. Children's day-today lives have certainly changed as that thought never would have occurred to most of us.

I got thinking how so many of us live our own stress filled, busy lives which leads to all kind of health ills - some very serious indeed. Do we as adults need to learn how to play more too? I think so.

In David Elkind's book, "The Hurried Child", he states that play is shorthand for imagination, curiosity, ... and it's in increasingly short supply. You know that applies to adults too. Without some kind of safety valve - play - the pressure builds and we feel anxious, overwhelmed, and stressed. Folks, it's simply not worth it - we all need to plan some "slow down" time into our lives.

I know people look at my lecture schedule and think I'm crazy when they see 58 cities listed - plus I need to run a studio too. The unstated question always is, " When do we ever get a break?" The fact of the matter is this - to keep our sanity, we have what I like to call "pause points" schedule in along the way.

Here is an example. We land in Seattle on Monday the day before I present Tuesday's DWC program. Wednesday we head off to Portland for the next presentation. Ah, but after Portland we have 5 days off from the tour schedule to get down the coast to San Francisco. Do I need to mention that we pass through some of the best wine growing regions of the country - Willamette Valley in Oregon and Napa and Sonoma Valleys in California before we need to land in San Fran on the following Monday for that evening's presentation. LaDawn has scheduled a little play time along the way into this portion of the trip. And frankly we can't wait!!

Anyway, here is the deal - psychologists worry that limiting free play in kids may result in a generation of anxious, unhappy and socially maladjusted adults. “The consequence of a life that is seriously play-deprived is serious stuff,” Brown says. But it is never too late to start: play also promotes the continued mental and physical well-being of adults.

Yes, you saw it here - play also promotes the continued mental and physical well-being of adults. What are you doing to make play part of your creative process? I'm not talking about hitting the sofa and watching TV. I'm talking serious play - just like a kid - running, jumping, laughing, just having fun without any time constraints on consequences attached to our playful moments.

The play can truly be an invigorating and creative process for all of us. In an article in Scientific American it states, "Free, imaginative play is crucial for normal social, emotional and cognitive development. It makes us better adjusted, smarter and less stressed." [link]

Folks, this should be a wake up call for all of us. This advice points us to a more creative and successful solution to keeping our businesses and our lives running more smoothly, and yes, even more efficiently. We don't have to be like Chicken Little and wondering about whether the sky is falling. Just get out there and play a little under that sky and fresh air. Play in itself is our insurance that the sky won't fall as we take time to de-stress our lives clearing out the brain muck that slows the creative processes we all need to be happy and successful.

Food for thought --

Hey gang, that's it for me today. Everybody have a great weekend - get out and play a little. I'll see you on the flip side on Monday. Adios, -David


  1. Food for thought David. We all need to take time to unwind. As I have a 1 and a half year old son running around my house, I am now learning to play all over again, and I must admit, it is much more fun and destressing than just vegging out in front of the tv after a long day.

  2. Great reminder David. We can't be serious all the time This reminded me of a podcast by Craig Tanner that talks about the power of play. A good listen if you have a few minutes.