Play is underrated and misunderstood. I love the word, yet I find that it’s assumed to be frivolous and without a point, clearly as adults we don’t need any of that. But we do! We need play. Play is one of the best ways to learn and playing can be more then something superfluous and silly…and even if it isn’t, so what? But it’s often hard to give ourselves permission to play.
A trick I use to get over the resistance to playing is framing play as outcome independent experimentation. I’m playing the inquisitive scientist with a love for the process, not madly seeking progress or breakthrough—enjoying the failures as much as the successes. A question will arise or I’ll have an idea wander in and instead of judging its merits I’ll try it, driven by curiosity to see what happens. Sometimes this experimentation process looks quite serious: trying to solve some movement puzzle, failing over and over, and making focused adjustments to my approach until I solve it. During those times I might have that intense focused face, but I’m still deeply engaged and loving the process. At other times these experiments are ridiculous looking and its hard not to laugh after each attempt. Either way I’ve snuck myself into a playful mindset by donning this scientist persona.