As kids, we go out to “play”. Later in life, we “play” sports, or “play” music. But then, in sharp contrast, we leave our homes each day and go to “work”. The term implies doing uninspired, often boring and generally yucky things. Parallels of going to the dentist, waiting in line at the DMV, or filling out endless forms come to mind.
What if we flipped the terminology, and started calling “work” something else… “play”. Instead of a workforce, our companies could have a playforce. Think about it… “Bye honey, I’m running off to play.” “Oh great dear, have a nice day at the playground.” Have a conflict? Maybe you should “play” it out.
The research consistently shows that elements of play drive the most creativity, which has become the currency of success in the new generation of business. Play stimulates the mind and the soul, and allows us to break out of the drudgery. Work is about completing tasks, maximizing efficiency, and delivering outcomes. Play can do those things too, but we add fun, imagination, movement, and an energizing lightheartedness to the mix.
The average 1st grader laughs over 300 times a day while the average adult laughs only 17. No surprise that kids are more creative than adults.
Even if you can’t force a company-wide change in terminology, go ahead and make the swap in your mind. You’ll notice a new bounce in your step, and a renewed sense of energy and excitement about the day ahead. Forget about “working” through your next tough business challenge… try “playing” through it instead.