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.
- 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
“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.
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.
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!
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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!