Re-Energize With Childlike Play

Allen Klein (author of The Awe Factor) says that being playful can lead you to more creativity and connection with others.

When was the last time you planned to fly a kite?
When was the last time you planned to fly a kite?

My life purpose is to die without regrets and to support others to do the same. One of the most common human regrets is “I wish I’d been more playful and had more fun.”

Often we label any activity which does not generate income or produce a tangible result as “silly,” “mindless,” “ frivolous” or “child-like,”  Yet creating the space for play in your life is an investment in your wellbeing that will re-energize you, refocus your attention, and set you on a pathway to more creativity and connection. 

 According to the South African philosopher, Mokokoma Mokhonoana, “A lot is said about the serious by the fact that the most intelligent person around is almost always the most playful.” 

Do you welcome childlike play into your work life?

It’s so easy to take ourselves and what we do too seriously to be playful. You’d have thought it might be different for people working in the creative sector, yet in my experience, even artists, musicians, and writers often seek to avoid the silliness and spontaneity of childlike play. It’s too scary.

When you abandon yourself to childlike play you, are surrendering authorship and control. The results are unpredictable and often messy. And that, of course, is the reason why playful abandon needs to be welcomed into your work life.  When we give up ‘looking good’ or ‘being right’ or ‘acting professional’, and allow ourselves to fail and look foolish, we open ourselves up to the possibility of crazy, never dreamed of invention and creativity.

According to John Cleese, “The very essence of playfulness is an openness to anything that may happen, the feeling that whatever happens, it’s okay… you’re either free to play, or you’re not.”

How much time do you spend on your private passions?

Our most common dying regret is “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected.”

Perhaps you’re an accountant who once wanted to be a painter or a teacher who always dreamed of being a chef.  Assigning time each week to paint or cook (or whatever it is you love to do) will leave you feeling more fulfilled and excited by life.

What activities renew and revitalize you? Do you participate in these activities regularly?

“I wish I hadn’t worked so hard” is people’s second most common regret.  Most of us prioritize work, and then family, over the activities which rejuvenate us.  You may feel fulfilled in the work you do or your role within your family, yet any activity which leaves you feeling lighter or more joyous is important to your levels of energy, your wellbeing, and your sense of self. 

Do you make space and time to relax and enjoy yourself and others?

A couple of weeks ago one of my best friends came to stay. We cooked together and we went swimming, but what we will both remember forever is the evening we spent laughing uncontrollably about some of the most offensive things we’d ever said to each other over the past 20 years. And it would never have happened if we’d been on a busy schedule.  Play is not only frivolous and childlike, it is a path to connection. We need to make space and time to relax and enjoy ourselves and others.

Do you consciously create fun for yourself and others?

Yes, it’s important to leave space in your life for spontaneous fun, but it’s often very useful to plan for play.

We plan events around work and family, but when was the last time you planned to swim in the ocean, sing karaoke, play dress-up, go for a hike, make ice cream, fly a kite or sleep under the stars?

Other people may judge how successful you are based on your wealth and status, your possessions and accomplishments, but you’re only here on earth for approximately 1000 months (83.5 years) and if you haven’t had much play or adventure and you haven’t pursued your private passions, how successful will you feel? 

Check in with where you’re at and find out how much play you have in your life right now with my quick quiz that will generate your own personal wheel of life.

The Awe Factor

How a Little Bit of Wonder Can Make a Big Difference in Your Life

Exploring the human ability to be in awe. What does it mean to be awestruck? Or more simply, what is awe? Backed by the latest scientific research, Klein sets out to define awe and its effects on health and happiness. For example, over the past dozen years, or so, scientists have found, among other things, that awe:

  • Connects us to others
  • Lowers our stress levels
  • Enhances positive emotions
  • Increases our compassion
  • Increases our creativity

Plenty of reasons to be in awe. With a sprinkling of the spiritual and scientific, The Awe Factor takes readers on an exploration of a human phenomenon. From research to first-hand awe-inspiring stories, Klein reflects on feelings of awe, meaning and purpose. And with bonus awe-awakening tools, tips, and techniques, he helps readers become more aware of, and increase, the awe and wonder in their life.

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