This morning, I woke up to the sounds of chirping sparrows and city traffic in the heart of downtown Portland at the historic Crystal Hotel. After a month of hard-core business building, I needed a change of scenery to clear my head and reboot my creativity. As I walked around the quiet sidewalks of the Pearl District at 7:30am, I saw the city I now call home wake up in a new way…and I got excited! It wasn’t all about rushing to work, but more of an ease and flow of play that called to me.
How often do we choose to start our Monday with PLAY?
In our society, play is often reserved for our leisure time, sequestered off to come alive again on the weekends or the annual family vacation. It is a rare person that actively and intentionally cultivates a sense of play each day.
We often believe and live the lie each day that we have to somehow earn the right to play by first striving and slaving away at work.
When did efficiency and productivity become our new form of capital over health, wellbeing, and fulfillment? Instead of embracing play, rest, and renewal, we’ve created a culture of exhaustion as a status symbol for success.
Play pioneer, Dr. Stuart Brown, claims that “The opposite of play is not work – the opposite of play is depression.” As a premier researcher and Founder of the National Institute for Play, Brown discovered that play shapes how we think and make sense of the world – actually impacting our neurological functioning! Play helps us build social bonds, develop empathy, and is at the heart of creativity and innovation.
The bottom line is that play helps enhance and strengthen our work…not the other way around!
What if we designed our lives with a sense of play at the center?
Imagine what would be possible then…
More productivity even…
This is the focus that I’m carrying into my week and invite you to do the same. Sometimes we need to get away and shake up our everyday routine in order to activate new insights, explore uncharted territory, and get inspired. Other times, we have to appreciate what’s already right in front of us.
A sunny day
An invitation to create
A change to travel somewhere new
An opportunity to look at life from a different perspective
My gift and challenge to you is to embrace a spirit of play as you dive into your work.
Work hard, but play harder!
Listen & Learn
Read & Discover
Here are some of my favorite books on play and creativity…enjoy and be inspired!
- Dr. Stuart Brown, Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul
- Daniel Pink, A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future
- Mary Beth Maziarz, Kick-Ass Creativity: An Energy Makeover for Artists, Explorers, and Creative Professionals