The Energizer

Resilient Insights for Work & Life

The Opposite of Play is not work…

by Eileen McDargh, Chief Energy Officer - Monday, August 12, 2019
Featured Image

In fact, according to Stuart Brown, M.D., the opposite of play is depression!  As founder on the National Institute for Play, Brown has spent his career conducting thousands of “play histories” of humans from all walks of life: from Nobel prize winners and CEOs to serial murderers.  (In the latter case, what the murderers had in common: they never played as children!)

Humans are hard-wired to play with implications for social interactions, creativity, brain functioning, and the ever -important resiliency skill – adaptability.  When our attachment to work and its responsibilities create a vacuum for play, depression sets it.

According to Brown in his seminal book Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, “work and play are like the timbers that keep our house from collapsing down on top of us.” Without play, our souls become over-burdened, dull and frankly, potential burned out.

The reason: play is the catalyst for creativity.  Creativity allows us to escape the boring and tedious. Break apart the word “recreation”and you discover RE-create.Innovation and improvisation are cornerstones for adaptability- a critical resiliency skill.  When we step off the ordinary and rigidly programmed, a sense of delight, joy and shall we say even wonder arise. As Isaac Asimov said, “The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not “Eureka! But ‘That’s funny.”

But don’t think of play as a sandbox for children or the rough-and-tumble world of little boys and girls. By definition, play is purposeless, all-consuming, and fun. But as Dr. Stuart Brown illustrates, play is anything but trivial. It is a biological drive as integral to our health as sleep or nutrition. We are designed by nature to flourish through play. Play runs the gamut from physical play to mental play, from singing and dancing, to social “games” (not video games) and any other activity that is done for the sheer fun of it.

Herb Koehler, founder and CEO of Southwest Airlines, made play a cultural cornerstone of that organization.  From very funny safety announcements on planes to interviewing practices that asked a potential candidate to relay something that was playful or funny in his life, Koehler knew that PLAY was essential to keep employees AND customer.

In fact, to grow in resiliency and keep burnout at bay, play might be the most important work we do.

 

play


Share This Post

Like this post? Please share it!


< Back to All Posts

Comments



Eileen McDargh Keynote Speaker Blog Author

About Eileen!

Since beginning her consulting and training practice in 1980, Eileen has become noted for her ability to speak the truth with clarity, wisdom, humor and compassion. Long-standing clients and repeat engagements attest to her commitment to make a difference in minds, hearts and spirits of organizations and individuals. She draws upon practical business know-how, life's experiences and years of consulting to major national and international organizations that have ranged from global pharmaceuticals to the US Armed Forces, from health care associations to religious institutions. Executive Excellence magazine selected her as one of the top 100 thought leaders in leadership and among the top ten consultant providers of leadership development.

View all posts by Eileen


Subscribe to My Blog!


Like My Blog?

Please share it!

Recents Posts


Categories



Archive


Tags

resiliency Interview love Fun Work Environment Idea Strangers Technology Sleeping Vegan Persuasion St. Patrick's Day earthquakes Marriage Climate Change Memorial Day creativity resilience Boston Marathon employees Voting Faith Siblings Family Reshaping the Brain Postive Work Environment Exercise Building Resilience Seder Eve Empathy Ownership Humor work life balance Kindness customer service Travel Honoring Veterans Multi-tasking Hurricane Irma Disrupt Trust Labor Day Tornadoes in Texas Politics Play Listening Talk Ain't Cheap Book Optimism Employee Attitude U.S.A.A. ecology coaching Thanksgiving Guns Superbowl Your Resiliency GPS LGBTQ Career Advice Option B Speaking Sexual Harassment Back To School cancer Environtment Yoga Stress Spirit Henry VIII gratitude Survive Twas The Night Before Christmas WASP e-mail Soft Skills Radical Resiliency Hurricane Harvey New Year resolutions Content Generation waiting Christmas holidays Aging preresilience Disruption Loss Learned Optimism Leaders Open Doors Book Nursing Gifts From The Mountain Walk For Hunger employee retention Dogs Branding Engaged Workers Laughter Depression Adaptability Meetings John Blumberg Arlington Cemetary Napping women in leadership Bullying Communication Education Children Suddenly Single Sustainability Diversity Energizing Others USAA Happiness Energy Corporate Culture Adam Grant Relationships The Last Jedi Mark Scharenbroich Mother's Day Animals Girls Bill Treasurer servant leadership Charity civil discourse John Havlik Energizing Divorce Writing stuck Positive Brain Repatterning Ecotourism Sheryl Sandberg Art resilient organizations Burnout resilient leaders Humanity Social Media goals Jewish Deloitte Road Trip Women Networking More Fun at Work conscience Alzheimer's teams Intentions Book Reviews Married Breathe Breath Leadership Skills Vacation Sales Motivating Others Office Celebrations Spelling Bee Emotional Intelligence Feedback Adventure Patriots angels Change