Kids love to play.
They play often.
In fact, everything they do in one way or another is a form of playing.
But as they get older, they start to play less.
First, they are sent to school and taught discipline.
Each and every grade is just another push down the assembly line, an assembly line designed to manufacture square minds dependant on an outdated system.
The mass production has now started.
And as they are taught more about the things that don’t matter and probably never will, the real fabric of their identities start to tear and fall apart…
Their sense of compassion…
The willingness to be kind and respectful towards others…
Understanding the importance of joy over money…
Finding abundance in love…
The courage to do good daily and give back often…
All of these aspects of our identities that are oh so important to the quality of our lives are often thrown out the window and lost in a desperate attempt to educate our kids into working more and playing less.
What’s more, the maths, the sciences, geography and history - these are all fascinating subjects that elicit an immense amount of creativity.
But our systems have standardised them, demonized them, and drained every last ounce of fun and thoughtfulness out of the equation.
That’s just how things have become…
But don’t get me wrong – it’s not all play and no work.
A strong work ethic in all aspects of our lives is highly commendable and definitely necessary for financial, spiritual and physical success.
Nothing comes easy…
But as with everything in life – balance is key.
Learning is more fun when you can play with it, but unfortunately – there’s no more play in education. In fact, it is seen as flat out wrong. And work has become all about crunching numbers and yielding the highest returns.
It’s a sad world we live in.
It’s no wonder why we spend most of our lives stressed out of our minds and seldom take the time to get in touch with our inner child and just…
I saw a post on Facebook about a tribe in Africa that would single out individuals who did anything that might be deemed as wrong or out of place & instead of punishing them – they would gather around that person and tell them about all of the good things that they have ever done within the community.
They would do this for days.
Clearly, these guys have been taught how to play.
It’s not about the numbers or how much money they can make.
It’s not even about improving the system.
It’s about finding it in their hearts to choose love over everything else.
And an honest sense of love is rooted from a deep sense of playfulness…
I love to read stories like this one, but there’s one in particular stuck with me.
The Alchemists Paulo Coelho had spent the majority of his life in limbo.
He had always wanted to be a writer, this was the only thing that he really ever wanted to do, but was instead forced into conforming to a life of corporate office work. This is probably not very different to what you might be experiencing. In any case, he had to silence his inner child and learn how to adapt to a new world that was a contradiction to everything that he believed in.
The few things that would ignite his passion and nourish his soul had to be neglected. And this just wasn’t natural to him. So one day, late into his forties – he decided to make a drastic change in his life. He decided to play.
To burn all of the bridges and just play.
He decided to play because he was always way too stressed out…
He decided to play because he became afraid of relentlessly chasing his dreams… he decided to play because he was finding it hard to love his wife, he decided to play because he believed that everyone deserves a second chance…
And play he did.
Here’s a man with no credentials, no reputation, and no money (his wife had agreed to support him) – and by deciding to play… to seek his initial ambitions, he was able to write a book that went on to touch the lives of millions of people around the world.
It wasn’t easy.
And it didn’t happen overnight.
But it was well worth the wait.
If you want the entire universe to conspire in your favor, then you need to prove to the universe that you deserve its trust. That’s what Paulo did.
Here’s the thing.
Children love to play.
It makes them feel like they could be and do anything in the world.
When you forget how to play, you forget how to dream.
And that’s what scares me to death.
If you ignore your dreams for a while, they will eventually fade altogether.
Life get’s in the way and the excuses come rolling in.
An avalanche of excuses snowball their way into everything you do.
The more you wait, the bigger it gets, the harder to avoid.
But there’s always a silver lining.
There always is.
Life is generous.
It will always give you a second chance.
Even if you’ve never given it a try.
And play often.
Listen to your inner child.
Sound out the worlds evil judgments.
Take a deep breathe.
And let the playing begin…