Part 2 of 2
Children have and do something that makes life easier to live. As we adults observe children, it is obvious that we will come to think now and then, “How easy it is to be a child!” But we should ask ourselves occasionally: “What actually makes it so difficult to be an adult?”
If we want to become experts in the art of happiness, then we need to observe the true experts of genuine happiness: children. Children express feelings, opinions and experiences much more freely than we adults do. All acts of expression release something within you. The more you have released, the more you are your self. The more you are able to be your true self, the more often you will celebrate life and yourself through laughter. When you have let go of tension and internal blockages through expressing your emotions and thoughts, you become free to actually feel yourself. When you can really feel your body, then the energy and joy of life is there inside you like a feather, constantly tickling your insides. Bubbles of happiness lie just under the surface of you skin, you are released, you are free, you don’t ask questions about your laughter – you just laugh.
Play with life
Children just play. Who told children that they have to play? Nobody! Play is the natural way to explore one’s creativity, and children also find out as they play that life itself is very creative. Anything is possible in the world of play, and isn’t that just a liberating thought in itself? If you entertain the thought that anything is possible, then you open up for creative manifestation on all levels. Therefore, it is also important that you, as an adult, stimulate your brain through playful activity. When we adults deal with our daily tasks and working life, we usually operate within the framework of what is possible. But remember, it is only the sum of your previous experiences that provides the framework of what is possible for you. When we bring play to our daily tasks and objectives, we will suddenly notice things we didn’t think were possible. There is a coupling between play and seriousness that leads to the development of new skills and ideas. When we have developed a new skill or idea, it gives us greater self-confidence. When we become more self-confident, we grow as people. When we grow, we experience new sides of life that bring us happiness and enjoyment.
Play with the problem
Bring more play into your life – both privately and in the workplace. When you sit with a problem, then try and play with the thought that it is actually easy to solve and you have a wide range of possibilities for dealing with it. When we hear the word problem, many of us have a tendency to lose impetus, or even become so overwhelmed that we cannot act. If you are just a little bit shy of conflicts, then problems are really tough to handle. Erase the word and replace it with challenge. The word challenge is challenging in itself and it opens up for creativity. When you are presented with challenges at work or in your private life, playfully open up for a creative flow of ideas and thoughts. Play that anything is possible. Play that there are no limitations. Play that your ideas will change the course of history itself. Who knows, maybe they will!
It is also healthy to play when you need a break from yourself or your work. If your brain has been working under great pressure for a long time, then it needs a break to play. Many companies have found out how important this need is. In my work as a laughter instructor, I have visited hundreds of businesses over the past few years, and have noticed that those workplaces characterised by a particular enthusiasm and energy amongst employees, were those where management had an explicit policy recognizing the importance of play at work. Table tennis, go-carts, table football and all kinds of other toys were made freely accessible to the employees. Fantastic! But also pretty much common sense. A fun, happy and playful worker must be preferable to the opposite. In reality, it is not really children who need more toys, but us adults. When will Toys ‘R’ Us actually open a department for 18-90 year olds? I’m serious—if you work for Toys ‘R’ Us, please take this challenge up immediately.
The light psychology of play
Play’s light psychology is maybe the easiest and most fun way to open up for your potential. If you really want to excel at something, play that you already excel. When your brain knows that it is just a game, then you have nothing to lose.
When I became self-employed in 2003, I had to make a concerted effort to enter the market of lectures and courses. I had opened my own little one-man enterprise, which offered courses for Danish companies in improving their working environment. I didn’t find it fun calling different companies to sell myself. So I tried a completely different tactic: I played that I was calling people. I imagined that the people who answered the telephone were not really serious business folk, but just ‘playmates’ I could practice on. I quickly became skilled in formulating myself in a playful way. After just a few days on the phone, I managed to sell a course of ten lectures to one of Denmark’s biggest trade unions. I was also featured in their magazine with a series of articles. That was the start of my career.
Bring more fun into your life!
Introduce play-days at your workplace. For example, write in your planner: “On Wednesday I will play that I go to work. At work I will play that I am dealing with different tasks. On Wednesday going to work will be a game. All the challenges that arise that day, I will playfully solve. Who knows, before the month is out, I might be promoted on the basis of the huge profits that I have been responsible for creating!”
Introduce private play-days. Your next day-off should be reserved for fun and games. It’s most effective if you actually do write this in your planner so that you keep your date. Play that you get up in the morning. Play that you make yourself and your partner a delicious breakfast. Play that you clean the house. Play that you do the washing. Play that you are the most amusing mother or father in the world. Play that you are the best friend in the world. Play that you are everything you want to be. Play – dance – be happy and free.
by Thomas Flindt, The Laughter Guru
Available in print and digital.
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