So all of these musings boil down to a very few guidelines for learning…
1. Pay attention to what you are doing.
2. Go slowly. Give yourself time to pause and assess between repetitions.
3. Do LESS than you know you can do.
4. Challenge yourself just a little bit at a time. Set obtainable goals.
5. Focus on EASE. Remember – struggle is optional.
6. Do many repetitions. Each time do things just a little bit differently.
7. Let go of striving. Let pleasure and joy be your guides to learning.
8. Play. Explore. Try things many ways.
What is play but a series of experiments done for no other reason than the pleasure of it all. To the mature, dare I say cynical, mind all that mucking about may seem pointless. Yet play is critical to the development of skill.
Play means giving up the notion that there is one “right” way of doing something. Instead, it means experimenting with many many possibilities, trying each one on for size then casting off each in favor of another or another until voila, a success of some sort is achieved.
Trying is always accompanied by tension and strain. You feel the pressure in your temples, the tightness in your neck. Aches and pains and worries add up. All are signs of trying too hard. Play, on the other hand, is an inherent lightness and ease that brings harmony to your every action. The solution to stress – PLAY!
Let your actions be small, easy, joyful. Toss out the notion of perfection. Mistakes are detours to discovery. The more you make, the more you learn. Taking little risks increases the likelihood that you will discover a way of doing and being that is even better than you imagined. Put into perspective – some of the greatest inventions in the world were discovered by accident. Imagine!
Young brains learn through play. So do older ones.
What’s stopping you from doing the same?
Can you give yourself permission to try something in a way that is slightly different from what you have always done? Can you find a way to make what you are doing light and “playful”?
Hint: Instead of following the “rules”, see what happens if you make a slight change in action. Risk just a little. Assume an attitude of “look and see.” Banish competition in favor of noticing what happens when you allow.
Pleasure and joy are byproducts of play. They are not for children only.
Let your heart sing. Let your spirit burst with joy. PLAY!
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?
Here’s a gentleman who takes his second childhood very seriously. You might argue he never actually left the first. The results are astounding! Think of what you could do if you just added a little playfulness into your daily routine.
“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct.” – Carl Jung
What does play look like to you? Interesting question isn’t it?
Most of the people I ask separate play from work with play being reserved for times outside of work and duties. Sad, really, when you think how much of our lives we give over to drudgery and how precious little is devoted to play. Yet, play is how we learn. Play is the, well, playground, of creativity of the new. And of joy. Want more happiness in your life? Play more!
Ha, I hear you saying. You don’t have my boss or my deadlines or… Ah, but I do. I also know that play is more an attitude, a way of engaging with life than a set time or task or “fun” activity. Think of the Wright brothers, Thomas Edison, Stephen Hawking. Each and every one allowed his mind to wander, to look at things differently, to wonder and to focus. In other words – each of these men set about their play and called it their life’s work. Play is authentic work. It is the stuff of personal curiosity and inspiration. What would happen if you allowed yourself to play instead of work?
It may seem like a lot of rolling around on the floor but there was definitely a real life inspiration for Moshe Feldenkrais’s lesson compositions. Think about how a baby learns and Feldenkrais’s lessons and philosophy become apparent. Part of the “Next 25 Years” project, this lesson with Baby Liv presents the perfect role model for anyone wondering how to turn their explorations into functional action.
Notice how fully engaged Baby Liv is in her discovery. That is learning in motion. What would you like to learn to do better?