On Monday we discussed playfulness and how being around young people can help bring out your playful side. I argued that simply getting more playful can and does release creativity that would otherwise be locked away, unused; even unsuspected.
If you're following the Hard Not Complicated method then you'll already have at least the start of your Playbook (if you're not then pop me an email and I'll help you get started on it with a free 30 minute consultation). Your Playbook might be a real book or something virtual, it could be in a file full of clippings and a task list or managed in a high tech productivity management app, what matters is that it contains everything you need to start bringing about change through simple games, drills, meditations, simulations and any other habit shifting actions you can imagine.
I call it a Playbook, in part, because I want to remind people that your persona transformation should be fun. But you could just as well infer that fun should be something you should seek to have more of. Here are some quick tips for how to add a bit more play to your Playbook.
- Do Things Wrong
Play, in the purest form, let's go of the idea of correctness and enjoys exploring without judgement. But life has, in most cases, squished the joy of this sort of thing out of us by the time we're in our adult years.
Consider adding something to your Playbook that pushes you out of your comfort zone in a completely safe way – like playing a game you've never played before, trying to cook a meal you don't know the first thing about, or taking up a new hobby – and then just relax and do it wrong! See what happens when you throw away the recipe and the instructions and just play.
- Join an Improv troupe
Improv is playfulness incarnate and a great way to bring out some serious silliness in yourself. Contrary to what many believe, improv isn't random. It has rules. But when you follow rules in a group, responding with openness and an attitude of support to those around you, what emerges is play.
If you don't fancy joining an improv group, why not just add some improv games to your Playbook? For these you'll need partners to play with but it's well worth it and you can certainly liven up a family dinner or night in with friends with a few rounds of Backwards Interview or Letter Number Name.
- Just play more games
It's entirely acceptable for your Playbook to include simply playing games. Board games, computer games, sports – anything that makes you feel more alive, connected in the moment and brings out elements of your personality and thinking style that are otherwise untapped by your daily life can be a way to get more playfulness into you and more creativity out.
I'm particularly fond of games like Charades, Pictionary and Linkee as they each require thinking around obstacles and creative leaps – how to turn words into actions or images and how to find non-obvious connections between answers.
We don't stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing
- George Bernard Shaw
When you watch a toddler playing with her food or child doodling images on a piece of paper, focused in a way that almost no adult can seem to achieve, you're seeing learning and growth at a fundamental level. And the joy of it is that we enjoy this stuff. Play is how we most naturally learn and playfulness is how we most naturally solve problems.
So play. It's what you were born to do and it's how you discover what you live for.