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The Power of Play

This week my wife, kids, and I were on TV, featured on a program called Atlanta & Company. 

We helped promote an event for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, displayed some our family talents, and made some wonderful memories. During the segment, I made a statement you’ve likely heard before:

“A family that plays together stays together.”

That simple statement is profoundly true, and yet oversimplifies the importance of play. Not only does “play” serve as the bonding element for a family, but also is essential to marriages and workplace teams. Effective play enables us to connect quickly with strangers and diffuse conflict. But even more important, perhaps, than what play does for relationships is the way it helps transform our personal experience and even our brains! And the great news is that we were all born as experts in the art of play.

Why Play is Important

Researcher, Dr. Stuart Brown related in his TED talk, many powerful benefits and “modes” of play.

If you haven’t yet seen this, it’s well worth watching. But you don’t have to be a scientist to experiment and discover these benefits in your own life. Simply start putting play into practice, and you will experience:

  • Improved mood and attitude.
  • A boost of energy.
  • Sharper thinking and enhanced creativity.
  • Strengthening of relationships.
  • Joy, happiness, and renewal.

Dr. Brown states that play enables us to “explore the possible” and that it is “as essential biologically as sleeping and dreaming.” So consider that if you are struggling in life or business, it might be “play time.” This is not merely a method of escape, but a vital strategy to achieve better results.

Into Action

Here are five ideas to help you reclaim your power of play:

  • Schedule play dates into your life for yourself,  your relationships, and for important teams and projects.
  • Infuse play into your current and ongoing activities. In other words, incorporate “fun” into everyday experiences.
  • Find your game. Experiment to find the mode and method of “play” that works best for you, your loved ones, or your team.
  • Practice spontaneity. Opportunities to “play” often present themselves at very short notice. Learn to accept the invitation and seize the joy! Play is not a future aspiration; it is an experience in the present moment. That means now!
  • Play your “Get out of Guilt Free” card. Stop thinking of play as a guilty diversion. If you are in “play mode” while burdened with guilt or thinking, “I really should be doing something important,” you will miss the point, and the benefits, completely.

I truly desire for you to be happy, productive, and successful in your work, relationships and life. To accomplish this takes an artful combination of serious work and joyful play.
Game on!

  • Bob Tamburro says:

    Refreshing focus and a great way to revive a workshop.

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