May 5, 2022

This is Why Play Shouldn’t be Reserved for Children Only.


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Imagine how it would feel to let go of control, comparison, and worry, and replace them with childlike wonder, exploration, and play.

I say it would feel damn good!

Adult life can sometimes get so serious. We have all these goals, responsibilities, and an appearance to take care of. We worry about what we might have done wrong the day before and stress what might hit the fan tomorrow.

Failure is one of the things that scares us the most, whether we admit it or not. Nobody wants to fail; even thinking about it makes our stomachs twist. And even if we are not thinking about it, sometimes we wake up in the wee hours just to find out that we’ve outsourced our worry to our tense jaws. Yes, I have personal experience.

Letting go of the attachment to outcomes

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have some sort of pressure to succeed in their life. People want to be good mothers, good friends, or good experts. Maybe someone wants to be good at tasting wine. Whatever it is, we often want to be, in some ways, successful in what we pursue in life.

The problem is that wanting to be successful can become a competition very easily. We measure our success by comparing ourselves to our friends, colleagues, or even worse, to celebrities. Soon, the pursuit of wanting to be successful becomes the only goal, and we forget to enjoy the process. Instead of having fun, we end up racing, forcing, and as a result, feeling like crap.

Bringing play back to fashion

I wonder if we can solve this problem by bringing play back to fashion. Could we see our pursuits as play instead of competing or beating ourselves up for not being as good as Karen in motherhood or wine tasting?

Play is about doing something purely for enjoyment. It involves exploration, wonder, and creation. When we play, I like to think that we show up as our genuine selves and leave behind the need to boost our egos. We embrace curiosity instead of competition.

There is nothing wrong with being goal-oriented, but maybe we can bring some playful softness into the process? When we get attached to outcomes and start comparing with others, our action becomes a performance.

Play eats failure for breakfast.

If we see life more from the perspective of play, the fear of failure also loosens its grip. What does it even mean to fail when we are simply exploring, creating, and learning?

I’m currently trying to apply the play mindset to many things in my life: writing, surfing, business, work, and lifestyle. Playing around with all of them makes me feel lighter. At the end of the day, we define our own success.

Why not play around with the definition too?!


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