Play is More Than “Play”

I stumbled across this interview yesterday. It’s evident that most people, including even the interviewer, are completely misinterpreting the meaning of Brandi Heather’s work around play because she’s using it within a much larger context and meaning beyond what people conventionally perceive it to be. She’s not talking about playfully tossing a football around at work but more about “playing” beyond the boundaries of the existing, outdated, rigid social structures within our society today that are effectively standing in the way of the potential creativity and innovation within us all. 

I talk in the book about our kids losing this ability to play when we standardize and structure everything but we’ve actually done it in our business and in our educational worlds as well.

Brandi Heather

And because of this dependency and addiction on having everything so “standardized and structured” with such certainty and control, thus leaving no room for people to play within their lives (in the sense of exploring and discovering who they fully are), she then goes on to indicate the adverse affect of this loss of play within our lives.

We’re seeing people unable to cope and navigate things that are new and different and unknown to us.

Brandi Heather

In reflecting upon this all, I think the only way you can make people truly aware of the power of play in their lives is by helping them to become aware of how so much of their existing reality, their world and even their sense of self-identity, are constructs of our collective playing and imaginations which become “reality” for others. But these collective playings and imaginations are not The Reality but rather just one possible reality. We can playfully imagine another, if we so choose to do so.

Steve Jobs has an eloquent quote about this below but most people misinterpret it and think it only applies to technology and physical things. It doesn’t. It applies to the social structures and cultures within our lives as well. For example, our institutions are a social construct that were playfully imagined at one time in the past and became a “reality” for us, a part of our daily lives. But we can just as easily play and imagine something new, if we so choose to do so (especially now that they are so inadequate for the times we are living within).

When you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life. Have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life.

Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact. And that is everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it. You can influence it. You can build your own things that other people can use.

Steve Jobs

By Nollind Whachell

Questing to translate Joseph Campbell's Hero’s Journey into The Player’s Handbook for The Adventure of Your Life, thus making vertical (leadership) development an accessible, epic framework for everyone.

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