Many people are so driven to succeed that they neglect to play. I am, or rather, was one of those people.
You see, I’ve always been driven to succeed. But, I was so driven to succeed that my life had slipped out of balance and I found myself failing to really enjoy life.
I kept thinking that once I achieve “this” I can relax and play more. Once I achieve “that” I can take a few hours off to go hiking, or take a vacation.
But then the next big project came along and… well…you probably know the rest of the story.
Mark Twain said, “Work and play are words used to describe the same thing under differing conditions.” Work can be play. And play can be work.
Mark Twain also said, “Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do. Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.”
My problem was that throughout my life I had a pattern of turning the things I loved to do for fun into obligations – thereby turning it into work. My love of ballet turned into teaching ballet. The art and crafts I loved to create turned into a design and craft business with deadline upon deadline.
I could only justify doing those activities if it was bringing me closer to my goals. And having more fun, I didn’t think, could simply be a goal.
But, don’t get me wrong…
There is nothing wrong with created a career out of what you love to do! In fact, I encourage it. Work should be something you enjoy doing!
The problem arises when you fail to give yourself permission to do those things just for the fun of it.
After all, according to Dictionary.com play is an exercise or activity for amusement or recreation. Not an activity you have to do.
In November 2007, my husband and I were attending a business training where we had the opportunity to learn from many great speakers. The presentation on play by Kevin Carroll really struck a cord with me and made a significant impact on my life. I became more dedicated to consciously playing, just for the sake of playing. Kevin says he is a “Katalyst For Change.” And that’ s exactly what he was for me that day.
His presentation ignited in me the knowledge that I can’t really experience true success without including play in my life. Perhaps Heraclitus describes my new found knowledge best when he said, “Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play.” And fully being myself is the truest form of success.
So what do you think?
- Do you give yourself permission to play?
- Can you experience true success without play?
- How does play complete you?
Additional food for thought:
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
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