Updated: Mar 19
Discovering or rediscovering playfulness means becoming more inventive and also enjoying yourself more. Did you know that the average child under the age of eight laughs four hundred times a day? And that the average adult laughs less than twelve times a day?
So what do we mean by playfulness? Playfulness is spontaneous activity or speech which you engage in without being constrained by self-consciousness or rigid adherence to rules. It is done for its own sake rather than to achieve a particular end. For example, to be genuinely creative, I don't think: 'Right, now I'm going to be creative to impress so and so with my spontaneity!' So playfulness happens for its own sake – but that doesn't mean it doesn't have positive ripple effects. Being playful means thinking differently outside of that box we keep hearing about. It means opening your mind to new possibilities, exploring the boundaries and pushing them, wondering what you will discover.
Discovering or rediscovering playfulness means becoming more inventive and also enjoying yourself more. Did you know that the average child under the age of eight laughs four hundred times a day? And that the average adult laughs less than twelve times a day? If we don't keep some playfulness in adult life, we become bored and boring to ourselves and other people. Naturally playful people are more charismatic, more exciting and more interested in the world. You have more fun when you are playful, and you have more ideas, as playfulness and creativity go hand in hand.
All humour is creative and playful, as are amusing people. It's sad that, in some ways, we have built up taboos against playfulness. We kid ourselves that something can't be important if it's not serious or ponderous. We tell ourselves that playfulness is just for kids. We exhort ourselves to 'put away childish things. And so on. Yet some ninety-year-olds can have a wonderful sense of the playful – which means still enjoying life and being open to learning from it. To be playful is to be open-minded.
Some of the most important discoveries in science, medicine, technology and economics had occurred when people were relaxed and let their creative, playful minds come to the fore.
We can be very quick to deem an idea 'wrong' or 'inappropriate', yet how often does a seemingly silly or jokey suggestion turn out to contain the germ of a wonderful solution, a way forward?
Your mind is already incredibly playful for at least two hours out of every twenty four. Every time you dream, your creative mind effortlessly produces stories and multi-dimensional scenes that you believe alternate realities. Playfulness is within you and part of you. Friedrich Kekulé, the discoverer of benzene's molecular structure, struggled for years to see precisely how benzene molecules fit together. One afternoon, as he dozed in front of the fire, he saw in a semi-dream a snake biting its own tail. He realized in an instant, thanks to the playful free rein part of his mind, that the chemical structure of benzene is, in fact, a ring.
Being more playful won't mean playing more games or skipping down the street – at least, not necessarily! You can be playful with language, with ideas, in business and in pleasure. Playfulness is a relaxed, abandoned feeling, the kind of feeling we all once had. Think about the most significant innovators, artists, comedians, thinkers, people of action. All these people have the capacity not just to be severe and linear but also to be playful, creative and spontaneous – and it's that which sets them apart. So, in the words of the Bob Dylan song: 'May you always be courageous, stand upright and be strong, and may you stay forever young.'
“Music for Body and Spirit” https://www.youtube.com/c/Musicforbodyandspirit This script was created by Laura McGregor, some content was licensed from Hypnotic World and Uncommon Knowledge.