Your Resilience: Let’s Play…Really?

By Steve Beseke, beseke1@earthlink.net, steve.beseke@resiliencyfirst.com

As I launched my first resiliency e-book, “A Healthy Blend Of Managing Your Life/Career Despite 66 Things That Get In The Way,” last week on this web site (), I reflected on how we apply our life and career resilience. We, of course, use it to overcome obstacles, stay confident and deal with other life challenges that inevitably come up.

Additionally, a great friend reminded me that resiliency is just as much about successfully and humbly handling our good times, including finding time to play. Play, you say? We, as adults, are far too busy to act like a 7-year-old. Right? Well…

Please read my psychologist friend Carolien Moors’ terrific article about “play” below. Her site is http://www.caromoors.blogspot.com/. (This is the first in a series of periodic articles where I partner with colleagues and friends worldwide to highlight unique perspectives on our resilience…)

Carolien writes: Play is often thought of as the domain of children and animals. Playing is good when you’re young, but in our fast-paced, rapidly developing, over-competitive world play is often considered a waste of time. In addition, many think it’s foolish to play and fool around. You just don’t do that.

Well, that’s a real waste of precious activity. Because play is crucial to our lives, our health, our liveliness, our resilience and innovation and so much more. And play is so much. It’s joking, rough-housing, playing sports, playing with the dog, board games, music, theater… You get the picture.

Inspired by a recent lecture on play at the University of Minnesota by Stuart Brown, here are a few characteristics and benefits of play. For more reading I refer you to Brown’s book “Play – How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul.”

Play

Ingredient for creativity and innovation, tool to rejuvenate, and a way to let go and have fun.

Play

Is a state of mind, rather than an activity? Sometimes running is play, sometimes it’s not, like when you’re afraid and running to escape, or when you’re running away angrily.

Play

A great way to stumble upon new behaviors, thoughts, strategies, movements, or ways of being.

Play

Frees you from established patterns.

Play

Teaches you to make sound judgments.

Play

Lets you learn about the environment and the rules of engagement with friend and foe.

Play

Lets you imagine and experience situations you have never encountered before and learn from them.

Play

Lets you create possibilities that have never existed but may in the future. You make new cognitive connections that find their way into your everyday life.

Play

Creates an arena for social interaction and learning. It allows you to learn lessons and skills without being directly at risk.

Play

Has you create imaginative new cognitive combinations and in creating those novel combinations you find what works.

Play

Creates new neural connections and tests them.

As Stuart Brown stated so clearly: “If we stop playing, we share the fate of all animals that grow out of play. Our behavior becomes fixed. We are not interested in new and different things. We find fewer opportunities to take pleasure in the world around us.

Wow, Carolien! Resilience is more than just dealing with the grind that sometimes bogs many of us down. Play, in fact, is something special, something good and, most of all, something healthy for all of us in this increasingly complex world.

I need to pet my dogs more, watch some waves lapping against a lakeshore, take a drive in my Mustang GT, dream of Hawaiian retirement, set my iPhone down, or just simply meditating for a few minutes more each day. How about you?

Thanks again for reading my resiliency articles, and please download my newest resiliency book on the front page of my site – .