You can think of ‘playfulness’ as actual playing – having a laugh, getting stuck into your kids’ Lego, or playing around with your friends. Alternatively, you could think of it as applying a lightheartedness to everything you do.
Positive and negative
Now as with almost all of my ten definitions of creativity, this one can have positive and negative connotations. You can hear the positive and negative when I say that playfulness can be referred to as ‘child-like’ or as ‘childish’. Child-like means being curious like a child and playing for the sake of it, but (obviously) switching back to adult mode when the need arises. But ‘childish’ makes playfulness sound like something we should have left behind in childhood, as if adulthood requires us to be serious all the time – you’re only allowed to laugh at allotted times, say when you’re watching sit coms or comedy shows! But why should adults have to be serious all the time? We can be playful too!
Want to be more playful? Try this:
- Get curious again! Spend a day asking questions ‘like a child’. (If you’ve got a child who asks questions all the time like I have then you’ll know exactly what I mean.) Why is the sky blue? Why hasn’t that tree got its leaves back yet? Why do birds sing? Why is the sun round? Don’t exhaust yourself – maybe stop when you get to work?! – but later on try to find out the answers to your child-like questions.
- Playing. What games did you love to play as a child? I liked Connect 4 and Mastermind (now called Code Breaker). I also liked Lego. Anything you liked playing as an adult that you don’t anymore? Pictionary and Trivial Pursuit were two I used to play. If you can’t think of anything, make yourself a kit: bits of coloured paper, pipe-cleaners, scissors, coloured pens, disposable cups, egg boxes, that kind of thing. (Raid your kids’ craft box if you have kids with a craft box!) Now put aside half an hour a day to play.
Playfulness not your thing? Up next: Get Crafty!
Top Ten Tips for Increasing Your Productivity
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