Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Act Your Shoe Size Not Your Age if You Want to be Successful

To be successful we may have to re-learn some of the skills we had as children. As children we were very good at 'make believe'. You probably spent hours pretending that you were a doctor, or perhaps an explorer, astronaut, cop, even a parent and numerous other roles. It was fun, absorbing and exciting.

However, as you grew older you stopped playing those games and you found yourself weighed down by life. You forgot to play. You forgot that life itself is a game.

"We're making all this up you know? All of it. Whatever life you're living is the product of your beliefs, conditioning and imagination. You're choosing it."
Pat O'Bryan, Author of "Your Portable Empire"

So what are the implications of this? Easy. You've got to get back in the game. You have to play out full. Let your imagination roam freely. Dare to dream.

Pretend you're living the life you want to live and doing the things you want to do. How would your life be different from the life you're living now? Be meticulous in noting the differences because these will indicate the areas that you need to work on to bring your fantasies in alignment with your goals. What have you got to lose?

"We're free to visualise our perfect life and then live it. I think we might as well make it fun."

When you were a child you didn't give any thought to what was possible. In many cases you didn't even know what was fully involved if you were actually the person you were pretending to be but you didn't let that stop you. What you didn't know you made up and you were skilful at improvisation. Your creativity soared because constructive play integrates the right, artistic hemisphere of your brain with and left, analytical hemisphere of your brain unleashing your creative potential.

There's another reason why the art of play is a skill that we need as adults as much as when we were children. Playing has the potential to heal and is a powerful vehicle whereby we can get in touch with our inner self. When we achieve communication between our internal and external being then we have a deeper understanding of self.

With a deeper understanding of self we have a better understanding of our values and we what we want in life and so we can formulate our goals. Successful goal achievement comes about through the alignment of our goals and values, without this goal achievement is elusive.

Play has a relaxing and calming effect on the body. When at play you tend to be fully engrossed in the activity. You generally breathe more deeply this helps your brain to function more efficiently and has a calming effect on the body. You tend to release muscular tension which has a beneficial effect on the whole body. As you release muscular tension you feel more energised and pain associated with muscular tension is reduced.

This general increase in well being has another positive effect. It can help to improve your self-esteem. This is more likely to be an outcome where the purest form of play is indulged in, i.e. play where there are no winners or losers, no right or wrong.

In the Western world play can be very competitive. However, this is not typical of all countries. In New Guinea, when children play the goal is equality. Now, there's a novel idea. Euro-American standards are more about winning. Ironically, this often takes the fun out of playing or doing recreational activities. Competitiveness certainly has its place but in today's society co-operation and creativity are often the hallmarks of successful businesses.

Leading companies across the world are discovering the power of play to nurture, reduce stress, help generate creative business solutions and also to encourage staff to be more open about their opinions. Smart employers incorporate fun breaks into their employees' calendars. These "fun breaks" also serve to help strengthen team performance.

Top executives and entrepreneurs all schedule time for play. Playtime is often when big business decisions are made. Some of the activities of mastermind groups are also structured around play and activities such as skiing, golf, kayaking, hiking and swimming.

Joseph Chilton Pearce said of play that it is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold. So as Eileen Caddy said:

"Live and work but do not forget to play, to have fun in life and really enjoy it."

Act your shoe size and not your age.

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