What is your Play Personality?

Stacey at play, jumping inside the world's largest pie pan

Adventure is an Attitude, and Play is a state of mind.  It’s how you look at life rather than an activity.  Adventure Wednesdays started because I wanted to discover, for myself, what I found fun. While researching activities that I enjoyed, I discovered a whole new way of seeing life.  My attitude changed. While listening to the podcast Playgrounding, Kara interviewed a play therapist and I learned my “Play Personality” is Explorer!!

One step for developing your adventure attitude is to understand your current outlook on how to have fun. Why not start with exploring your play personality.  (Psss’t, check out the link at the end of the post – I found a fun quiz!)

Play is important


“The definition of play: an absorbing, apparently purposeless activity that provides enjoyment and a suspension of self-consciousness and a sense of time.  It is also self-motivating and makes you want to do it again.  We have to put ourselves in the proper emotional state in order to play (although an activity can also induce the emotional state of play).”

– Stuart Brown, “Play, How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul” (note: this is an affiliate link for the book. If you purchase, I may receive compensation)

Do you feel guilty for playing? Have you been taught that it’s unproductive, a waste of time, even sinful?  Maybe you feel the only type of play you’re “allowed” are the kind (like league games) that are very organized, rigid and competitive. There are oodles of research studies that show how play is important beyond childhood.  As an adult, we need to reconnect with that inner child.  To help convince you, I’ve compiled a list of why you should incorporate play into your day.

Play Benefits:

  • Childlike wonder
  • Tension and fatigue fall away
  • Lightness and ease
  • Improves our cognitive abilities/creative thinking
  • Improves our health
  • Intensely pleasurable
  • Energizes & enlivens us
  • Eases our burdens
  • Keeps us youthful
  • Renews our sense of optimism
  • Opens us up to new possibilities
  • Lies at the core of creativity and innovation
  • Flow (out-of-time, in-the-zone)
  • Stress and anxiety relief
  • Helps develop resilience (or the ability to rapidly recover from challenging and stressful situations and get back to your inner balance
  • Expression of our humanity and our authentic selves
  • We take pleasure in the world around us
Time to play and have fun with hula hoops waiting for you on a stand

 “The opposite of play is not work, but depression”

– Stuart Brown, TedTalk 3/09 “Play is more than just fun”

What is your Play Personality?

When I first heard the different archetypes, I knew that “Explorer” fit me so well!  And as I listened and learned more, I kept assigning people I knew to the other types.  As you read the different archetypes, which one seems to fit you best?  Note – there is wiggle room galore in this.  You may display one more dominantly now than you did when you were little.  Your mode of play may show up differently in different situations.  You may see someone you know as one personality, but that doesn’t mean that’s how they recognize themselves.

THE JOKER

Ha, ha! You’re funny! This player is probably the most instantly recognizable, throughout history.  Nonsense, foolishness, plays pranks, tells jokes and loves to make others laugh.  Often the “class clown” this type frequently connects with others through their jokes.

THE KINESTHETE

Kinesthetes form of play - jumping off ledges into the creek below
Liam Weldon goes inverted over Scorton Creek. Staff photo by David Colantuono

Let’s go! Kinesthetes (a word I think combines kinetics and athlete) love to engage in physical movement, often claiming they think better on the go.  They want to push their bodies and feel the result.  Sports are great, but competition is not the main goal.  Happiness in movement is!

THE EXPLORER

Is one of your favorite phrases “I wonder”? For these archetypes, learning and finding new things is their form of play.  It can be literally traveling to new places, turning inward to journey the depths of their feelings and awareness, researching topics from their comfy couch.  Exploring is their way of being creative and provoking imagination.

THE COMPETITOR

This is not your play persona if you play a round of golf and are still grumpy afterwards.  This person finds the euphoria and creativity of play by participating in a competitive game with specific rules.  The games can be solitary (video games) or social (playing on a team, or being a fan).  Their joy comes from being top in whatever group, by whatever measurements (money, perks or winning that round of Scrabble).

THE DIRECTOR

The Director at play - arranging a group of 30 year olds in Onsies for a bar crawl
Who’s ‘The Director’ for this Onsie bar crawl?

Who are the ones throwing great parties, organizing cool trips to the beach, or instigating fun bar hops?  You are this archetype if you feel you’re a born organizer.  You wrangle volunteers for whatever the occasion calls for them (and you kind of like the power that goes with all this coordinating).  Charismatic, The Director is often the social epicenter of most gatherings.

THE COLLECTOR

You are not a hoarder! This personality loves to have the best, or the most, or the most interesting collection of objects or experiences.  You may collect antique cars in your garage, or you may go to antique car shows with similarly obsessed friends and collect paraphernalia to prove your experience.  Don’t confuse the experience collector with the Explorer – the difference is The Collector will methodically catalogue the mementos gathered from each trip.

THE ARTIST/CREATOR

Artist at play, creating a 3 headed monster in ceramic displayed on a window sill
Ann Lahr was inspired by her children years ago, incorporating their drawings into her ceramic art.

Is Leonardo de Vinci your idol?  Artist/Creators find joy in making things – not for recognition, because the point for you is to make something beautiful, functional or even goofy!  You are in flow with a set of paints, a craft room, a maker studio or even a tool shop where you can take things apart and put them back together again.

THE STORYTELLER

Are you often told you have a ‘wild imagination’ for the stories you tell?  Maybe you are a writer of some sort – poetry or non-fiction, perhaps?  This archetype also likes to read others stories, or watch them.  This persona engages in the character’s emotions, experiences and thoughts and comes out the other side with a new perspective.  Your vivid imagination makes even boring chores fun by adding “color” to the situation.  Have you ever made dinner, creating a running commentary as if you were on a national TV show?  Your unique quality is being able to bring this type of play to any situation.

https://amzn.to/3dDbjbFInspired by PLAY: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination and Invigorates the Soul, by Stuart Brown, MD with Christopher Vaughn, (c) 2009

Take the Quiz

By learning about play archetypes, you can become more self-aware.  If you’re not currently so playful, you can learn to become more playful.  Sort of like how an introvert can learn to be a better speaker by observing others.  Identifying play personalities can also help you interact more effectively with others – playing well in the sandbox (even if that sandbox is your office) is always to your benefit.

Here’s a fun thing to try.  Take the quiz I found (don’t worry, they don’t make you sign up for anything) with a friend.  See if the results are what you would have picked.  Then share with your friend, and discuss if it matches your perceptions of each other!  Enjoy!

I’m so curious… what’s your play personality? Did this guide you to becoming more aware about what you find fun? Share in the comments!

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Curiosity sparked is key for your adventure mindset.  Learn all sorts of new things in these posts – and use them to inspire your own adventures!

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Self Care is not selfish! When it comes to learning to play and have fun, taking care of you in different ways makes you, and life, more joyful

Be inspired by these guest bloggers who have created their adventure attitudes and transformations in their unique ways.

Sometimes to shift your outlook on life, you need to shift your perspective by traveling somewhere unfamiliar, or seeing familiar places in new ways.  It was while I was in another country that I realized – everywhere is someone’s backyard!  I’ve also become a big fan of traveling to one place that is wildly different each year – an event in the Nevada desert called “Burning Man”

Are you dreaming of tiny house adventures?  Start here.  I’ve worked at a tiny house builder, and am renovating a 1975 Airstream to be my home for my digital nomad life.

Your Adventure Mindset Mentor

Stacey Newman Weldon You need more fun & spontaneity in your life, and aren’t sure of next steps or the path to follow.  Let’s connect! You could choose a free 15 minute chat, various courses, or even select one-to-one coaching.

Learn more here:

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2 Comments

  1. Lisa

    Surprisingly, I’m a Joker…perhaps I need to explore that more! Thanks for the quiz, the connect to Stuart Browns info, and the ideas!

    Reply
    • Stacey Newman Weldon

      how cool that you took the quiz and learned something new to learn about yourself – and adventure on with!!

      Reply

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