Play’s THE Thing!

To mangle Shakespeare, PLAY is THE thing!

Another famous mind, Albert Einstein, once famously declared, “Play is the highest form of research.”

What makes play,play and work,work? And what if work WERE play?

Most of us have been brainwashed into believing that we have to work to make a living. Worse, we’ve come to believe that time spent playing is frivolous and not worthy to be called “real work”.  But what is “work”?

To a physicist, work is what happens when a force is applied to an object. A force is applied and the object moves. Work happens. Hmmm. By strict physical definition a lot of what goes on during a typical day at the office really isn’t work at all. Other than punching computer keys or shuffling a few papers most office workers aren’t applying force.  Nothing moves. All that brain power isn’t work at all.  Lets’ take a closer look.

Imagine yourself and your fellow cubicle rats sitting around a table discussing the latest metrics.  Are you working?  Not a bit.  You aren’t applying any force and nothing is moving.

“AH-HA. That confirms it! Meetings are a waste,” you declare. Maybe, maybe not. They certainly aren’t work in the physical sense. But those same meetings could be play.

Play?  One of the simplest definitions of play is to engage in an activity.  Engage is the operative word. Most often we expand the definition of play to mean -“to engage in an activity for enjoyment or as a game.”

Unlike work, play does not require physical force or movement. It’s the attitude of engagement, the fuller the better, and the sense of treating an activity as a game that makes for play. What is stopping you from making play of that meeting?

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