Have you ever been dissatisfied with something or other? Wished there was a better way, an alternative that produced better results? So do allot of other people. The speed at which things change these days; it’s a wonder that we can even keep up, let alone get ahead. That’s why creativity and innovation are so vital these days. When the way you approach things doesn’t yield the results you desire, it’s time to try something different. It’s time to get creative.
I just scared you, didn’t I. The thought of coming up with something new and innovative is daunting for most of us; to say the least. Fortunately there’s a way to increase your creativity that’s simple and fun: developing a more playful frame of mind. Does that sound a bit far fetched to you? I grant you that it’s unorthodox; however it is grounded in reality. Just look at children; they have creativity and problem solving skills a plenty. In fact according to Henry Cowles, the philosopher John Dewey derived what would become the scientific method by observing how children learn. Here’s another illustration: At one point a psychologist used a creativity test designed for NASA on people of various age groups. The pre-schoolers tested out at near genius levels. Unfortunately college age people tested to be solidly average. Children approach life with more a playful attitude than we do as adults. We give up playfulness because it’s not a part of being “grown up”; thinking that it’s in opposition to being responsible. It is not. In fact it’s a good tool for achieving success.
What is it about a playful attitude that improves a person’s creativity? I see three reasons. First playfulness is more process oriented than goal oriented. Secondly, a playful attitude is more right brained and intuitive. Third, operating with a playful frame of mind encourages a loosening of one’s grip on expectations and perspectives.
Let’s break those three down a bit. It’s not that playful people are completely disinterested in achieving goals. It’s that the path there is more interesting. A sense of adventure and curiosity pervades the process; a willingness and joy for exploring possibilities. They are comfortable when things take an unexpected turn. This lets them step out the box and come up with something new and innovative. To see the second point in operation you only need to watch children playing. They use their imagination all of the time. Not being terribly concerned with Standard Operating Procedures or The Laws of Physics. Decisions are made more by what feels right at that moment. A rational approach is of little use when playing; it’s just not as fun. 😁 This “sideways” thinking allows for completely novel approaches.
These two points lead to my third one: a certain looseness. When Life is an adventure, when you’re curious, when you venture a few steps from your everyday reality and things turn out just fine, your horizons expand; you feel like now you have a few more tools in your toolbox. You get more comfortable stepping out of your box. In turn, you have fewer expectations because you are more confident you can handle whatever life throws at you. Furthermore, you come to realize that a perspective is just that; one particular viewpoint. You better understand that your view of things, your model of reality is just that: a model and not the reality it’s representing. You start living more in the present moment and less in the past. This makes more space for new ways of doing things. This optimism and confidence allows for new possibilities.
I hope that you can see that a playful attitude isn’t frivolous, that it’s not all fun and silliness. I believe one can be a Responsible Adult AND be Playful. To me playfulness is a great tool for achieving success and expanding your possibilities.
Go out and play!!! 😃