Today we’re starting with a mini quiz. Answer honestly.
If I were to prioritize play, it would be because:
A. Play increases productivity.
B. Play reduces stress.
C. Play is a great way to get more exercise.
D. Play increases brain elasticity.
E. Play is fun.
My own answer: A.
How sad is that?
I suspect I’m not alone in this either – we have a cultural obsession with improving productivity and health, neither of which seems to be actively improving our quality of life.
Personally, I’ve been wrestling with my relationship to productivity and getting things done. I feel almost like I’m trying to pull up a very well-rooted psychic weed – the belief that being productive is both a very serious priority and possible moral imperative.
I’m sick to death of this belief and its annoying effects on my life.
You might have some play-limiting beliefs of your own. Let’s see if we can find them – try filling in these statements in blurt style with the very first thing that comes to mind:
- If I were to play more, I would…
- If I let myself work a little less…
- If I took play breaks at my job, people would…
- If I focused on increasing play in my life, I would…
- People who spend a lot of time playing are…
Take a look at your answers and see if there is a pattern beneath them, an underlying belief that is shaping your view of play.
You can see this pretty clearly in my answers:
- If I were to play more, I would never get anything done.
- If I let myself work a little less I would fail.
- If I took play breaks at my job, people would think I was crazy.
- If I focused on increasing play in my life, I would never have time for anything important.
- People who spend a lot of time playing are irresponsible.
Just from looking at my answers, you might be able to guess that I have a belief that sounds something like:
Responsible, successful people spend all their time getting important things done.
You can usually tell that you’ve found a solid underlying belief when the sentence provokes an internal “duh! Of course!”
This week I’m inviting you to take a few very small playful steps closer to prioritizing play in your life.
- Find some way to alter the expression of the underlying belief to a slightly softer idea. It’s easiest to see this in examples:
- Most responsible, successful people spend all their time getting important things done.
- Responsible, successful people spend almost all their time getting important things done.
- Use Bryon Katie’s first step in her method, The Work, and gently ask yourself if the modified statement is true. (For me, modifying the statement makes it easier to see ways in which it might not be true. Responsible, successful people probably spend a lot more time visioning and planning and then hiring other people to get things done, for example!)
- Commit to prioritizing play 1 to 5% (pick what feels comfortable for you) more this week.
What was your belief and how did you modify it? Leave a comment and let us know.