Do you remember that feeling as a child when you knew how to have fun?
As an adult, you want to feel it again, but you can’t seem to have that “fun” feeling anymore.
You even do the things that are supposed to be fun, but you can’t seem to enjoy life like a child anymore.
So you daydream about those good old days and return to the reality.
I know you may think having fun in life is a thing of the past, but I assure you, it’s possible to have fun, even when you have so many responsibilities and things to worry about.
While learning to relax is an art in itself, having fun in life is another. One of the biggest reasons we can’t seem to have fun in life is that we don’t even know what brings true joy to us.
So we keep drifting between activities other people enjoy, and then we wonder why we can’t enjoy those activities as much as they do.
But after today, you won’t have to do the guesswork. You’ll know exactly what to do to have fun — whenever you want.
The Importance Of Play
“The most successful adults maintain the ability to play.” — Dr. Jack Shonkoff
Before I lay out how you can have fun for your individual personality, let’s establish why you should care about playing.
You may think playing is for kids. You may believe playing is optional as an adult. But the reality is — you need play. It’s like food for your soul.
Today, more people are play deprived than ever before. The consequences of chronic play deprivation include:
- Lack of brain growth
- Increased risk of depression
- Increased risk of addictive behavior
- Malfunctioning of vital brain areas
- Poor impulse control
- Poor anger management
- Poor self-regulation
- Fragile and shallow relationships
On the flip side, Greg McKeown, the author of the book Essentialism, says play increases our brain activity, reduces stress and opens our minds to see alternative options.
How do you bring play back into your life?
I’m glad you asked.
Discover Your Play Personality
Dr. Stuart Brown, the author of the book Play, identified 8 “play personalities” based on animal and human natural behaviors.
While we all are a mix of these play personalities, we usually have one or more dominant ones. Also, your play personality may shift as you age, so always be open to experimenting when you can’t seem to have fun in life.
Knowing your current or dominant play personality can help you identify the activities that will bring true joy into your life and make you feel fully alive.
The 8 play personalities are:
1. The Joker
They love making other people laugh, playing practical jokes, and doing funny impressions. They are the “class clown” or “the funny one” in a group.
Ideas for play for a joker:
- Make people laugh with your jokes
- Laugh at your jokes and puns
- Watch comedy
2. The Kinesthete
They love to play by moving their body. It could be in the form of dancing, running, yoga, sports, swimming, walking or hiking.
Ideas for play for a kinesthete:
- Play sports or go on walks outdoors
- Join a group of people doing the activities you enjoy
- Watch and learn the activities you like
3. The Explorer
They love to expand their horizons to discover new things. The exploration could be physical (visiting new places), mental (expanding one’s knowledge in an area of interest) or emotional (digging emotions through music, art or movement).
Ideas for play for an explorer:
- Go on adventures (do new things)
- Learn something that fascinates you
- Research things you’re curious about
4. The Competitor
They love to play to win or beat records — whether it’s a solo or a social game. They may also enjoy watching competitive sports.
Ideas for play for a competitor:
- Play games
- Set goals (make life a game)
- Watch sports
5. The Director
They love to plan, organize and execute events. They take the lead in the social world to host events and provide an experience to the group.
Ideas for play for a director:
- Organize a party or an event
- Organize or plan your stuff
- Play the role of a leader in your group
6. The Collector
They love to collect and have the most interesting collection of things or experiences that fascinates them. They enjoy finding new pieces to add to their collection. They may also enjoy organizing and showing off their collections.
Ideas for play for a collector:
- Collect items, resources or experiences you cherish
- Find new pieces to add to your collection
- Make your collection public (or show it to your friends)
7. The Artist/Creator
They love activities that involve creativity or art. It could be painting, building, knitting, gardening, singing or even fixing and cleaning items.
Ideas for play for an artist/creator:
- Make the art or do the activity you enjoy
- Use or give your creations to others to enjoy
- Observe the art you appreciate
8. The Storyteller
They love going on adventures through imagination. They may enjoy performing, writing and telling stories. Or they may love experiencing those creations by reading novels or watching movies and theater.
Ideas for play for a storyteller:
- Tell or write stories
- Read, listen or watch stories
- Be part of a story by performing
The Power Of Deep Play
You may have heard about deep work. But “deep play” is also necessary to experience an amazing life.
The more clear you are about what fun means to you, the more you will spend time in deep play and avoid the things you don’t enjoy.
The easiest way to identify your deep play activities is to notice what makes you forget the notion of time. Remembering the activities you loved as a child may also help you identify them.
So to use the full power of deep work and deep play, you may juggle between the two to maintain a balance. Or you can choose a field of work that allows you to do both simultaneously.
When you have to juggle between deep work and deep play, and you don’t have time for a deep play session, you can call in “micro play” sessions.
- The Joker may crack a joke or watch funny content
- The Kinesthete may take a short walk
- The Explorer may “Google” something to satisfy their curiosity
- The Competitor may play a short session of a game
- The Director may organize files or tasks
- The Collector may keep a list of relevant links or resources
- The Artist/Creator may doodle on a paper, hum a song, and so on (depends on the art).
- The Storyteller may daydream a story
The other option is to perform deep work and deep play simultaneously when your work fits your play personality style.
As James Michener said…
“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him, he’s always doing both.”
Life is short. And play is an essential part of a complete life.
Most people don’t know how to play because they don’t know what they truly enjoy.
But you don’t have to guess anymore. Like most people, you’re likely to be a mix of different play personalities. You can find your unique set of dominant play personalities among — The Joker, The Kinesthete, The Explorer, The Competitor, The Director, The Collector, The Artist/Creator, and The Storyteller.
Now you know your unique combination and the exact activities that can make you feel most alive. So don’t wait for the life to get perfect — start playing.
Perfect time to play will never come unless you make time for it. So hit the start button and immerse yourself into deep play — every day.