The Opposite of Work Is Not Play, It Is Dysfunction

The opposite of work is not play, it is dysfunction. Strangely enough, so is the opposite of play.

Play is a biological necessity. We need it as much as we need food, water, sleep, shelter and sex. All animals play. Man is the only animal that sees it as either a luxury or frivolity.  

If we don’t play, we can’t work to our capacity or potential. People who do what they love do not consider it “work”  but rather “paid play”, which is why companies with great cultures have such high engagement levels and such healthy bottom lines. 

How do you solve a tricky puzzle or do something new in a hobby you are familiar with? You play around with it until you find a way in or figure out how it works. In fact, nearly all of my training and strategy sessions are based on play. I consistently find it the fastest, most fluid way to get groups of people to a useful outcome. In a Wicked situation, you play with everything.

To work well in a wicked space, we must play.

Play with the problem, play with possibilities, play with ideas. 

Play with the people you are collaborating with to chart a path through the ambiguity.

Play with absurdities and ideals and unlikely connections.

Play with your assumptions.

Turn things inside out and upside down and back to front and back again. Be prepared to be silly and to fall over and to jump back on your feet with an understanding of what works and what doesn’t.

Loosen your mind, let go of your assumptions, connect with your inner six year old and get playful. 

You’ll probably enjoy it.

If you’ve enjoyed this article you’ll probably love the rest of my first book Wicked Wisdom: Creative approaches to impossible problems — and it’s been completely redesigned to look gorgeous on tablets so you can take it wherever you go.

Download three FREE sample chapters from Wicked Wisdom and I’ll take you on creative romp through insights that work. Wickedly. Get the download here or purchase the ePub version now.

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