If you think you perform at your best without play, you are wrong. Play allows the mind to make connections that it doesn't have the opportunity to make during our day-to-day work. The mental activity of planning and strategies during a game of chess can inspire new ways to negotiate the business deal. The dynamic nature of staying on a surfboard while the ocean heaves energizes the entire body. The ability to laugh at yourself when you make a bad decision and lose the board game is a healthy reminder that winning isn't everything and you will not always be number one. The camaraderie of friends playing bridge and the smiles that are exchanged between team members when the opponents nervous tick is discovered, builds great memories.
To master, a new game can take you into a new world and introduce you to an entire sub-culture that you didn't know existed. I am looking forward to a bit of slack-lining over the next week and will confirm I have much to be humble about. At best, I can get a step or two on the one-inch wide ribbon before losing my balance and shot away from the line. The acrobats at Cirque Du Soleil should have no fear of losing a job to me.
Any season is a good time to play and the long days of summer provide plenty of time to play and summer vacations provide the opportunity. For years I have forfeit many vacation days as I sat behind the desk trying to climb the ladder. I failed to realize that play is a part of success and should be a part of the plan, for both me and the employees. I have not been as effective or creative because I thought the boss wanted my butt in the chair. What the boss needed was a creative problem solver that was not afraid to try and fail. Play helps build that framework.
What are some of your favorite ways to play? Where do you like to play? How do you encourage play at home and work for the family and co-workers? What lies have you believed about play? How can you introduce more play into your routine?