Playing sounds like it would be easy, but it is more challenging than you think.
Somehow as we get older, the notion of playing becomes serious.
When I used to play tennis, it seemed the only way to get a regular game going was to join a league.
My favorite part was the practice. I enjoyed the drills with coaches and learning new strategies and not keeping track of the score!
I was more relaxed and having fun. I was able to let go of my mistakes more easily.
But when the league games began, there was a definite emphasis on the importance of winning.
Believe me, I always enjoy winning more than losing, but somehow when the objective changed from practicing to winning, it took the fun away.
I felt more nervous. I made more mistakes.
One of the biggest benefits of playing tennis was it gave me lots of opportunities to work on my mindset. On good days, I wouldn’t dwell on my mistakes and relax into getting another shot.
It’s the same with creating.
When you create with a sense of playfulness, your mistakes are simply an experiment and a learning experience.
You feel free to try things with curiosity, and a what if kind of attitude.
You are much more likely to have more fun, be more creative, and more relaxed.
Imagine if someone said the next piece of art you make or the next pie you bake has to be the best one you have ever made?
When you focus on what will people think, will they like it, is it your best work, are you as good as someone else, or you must win, the results are not as good as when you aren’t worried about the outcome.
It doesn’t mean you don’t look at the outcome or analyze something with a critical eye. There is a time and place for that.
Even then, constructive criticism is key, not just criticism, whether it is from your own brain or from someone else.
Being critical at the beginning stages of doing or creating anything stops the creative process like yanking up a rose by its roots before it had a chance to bloom.
Nurturing with gentle care will help you grow and gain more skills than a whip and a judgmental attitude.
So, my goal for this year and beyond (sounds a little like Buzz Lightyear from Toy story), is to play more, and to inspire others to play more.
How can you adopt a more playful attitude with the things you want to do?