Welcome All!

If you do not adapt, if you do not learn, you will wither, you will die.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Let’s Play

Play is often thought of as the domain of children and animals. Playing is good when you’re young, but in our fast-paced, rapidly developing, over-competitive world play is often considered a waste of time. In addition, many think it’s foolish to play and fool around. You just don’t do that.

Well, that’s a real waste of precious activity. Because play is crucial to our lives, our health, our liveliness, our resilience and innovation and so much more. And play is so much. It’s joking, rough-housing, playing sports, playing with the dog, board games, music, theater… You get the picture.

Inspired by Monday’s lecture on play at the University of Minnesota by Stuart Brown I am  happy to list some characteristics and benefits of play. For more reading I refer you to Brown’s book “Play – How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul”.  


Play
Ingredient for creativity and innovation, tool to rejuvenate, and a way to let go and have fun.

Play
Is a state of mind, rather than an activity. Sometimes running is play, sometimes it’s not, like when you’re afraid and running to escape, or when you’re running away angrily.

Play
A great way to stumble upon new behaviors, thoughts, strategies, movements, or ways of being.

Play
Frees you from established patterns.

Play
Teaches you to make sound judgments.

Play
Lets you learn about the environment and the rules of engagement with friend and foe.

Play
Lets you imagine and experience situations you have never encountered before and learn from them.

Play
Lets you create possibilities that have never existed but may in the future. You make new cognitive connections that find their way into your everyday life.

Play
Creates an arena for social interaction and learning. It allows you to learn lessons and skills without being directly at risk.

Play
Has you create imaginative new cognitive combinations and in creating those novel combinations you find what works.

Play
Creates new neural connections and tests them.


As Stuart Brown states so clearly: “If we stop playing, we share the fate of all animals that grow out of play. Our behavior becomes fixed. We are not interested in new and different things. We find fewer opportunities to take pleasure in the world around us.

My family and I love to play, in many different ways. I hope you do too, and otherwise: you’re never too old to start something new.

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