I’ve been afraid of people playing their life away with too many toys

“I’ve been afraid of people playing their life away with too many toys.”

—Ray Bradbury, late American author and screenwriter

Image of two toddlers playing with a computer

Image from Unsplash by Jelleke Vanooteghem

Take a trip down Memory Lane and look at the toys you played with as a child. For me, the top three were a used sled for winter, a banana-seat bike for the rest of the year, and of course, a pimple ball for all sorts of games we would invent.

I vividly recall that before the age when I could venture out with friends, my mom would give me a bucket of water and an old paint brush. I would express my artistic talents on the sidewalk before the summer sun erased all traces of my work. It was like an Etch-a-Sketch without the cost!

Fast forward to today and look at the toys you and your children or grandchildren play with. How many are digital? How many can be and are often used alone, instead of with friends or family?

EXERCISE:

Where would taking more of a “The Best Things in Life are not Things” approach help you lead a simpler and more satisfying life?

Tweak the balance between your dance and your march

“Tweak the balance between your dance and your march.”

—Michael Bungay Stainer, Founder of BoxofCrayons

Image from Unspash by Sarah X Sharp

What comes to mind when you consider the word dance? For me, it’s playful, fun-loving, and self-expressed.

Now what about the word march? Perhaps thoughts of the military, or simply disciplined work not necessarily of your choice come to mind.

As a young boy in grade school, the though that I could or should not play until all the work was done was prominent.

EXERCISE:

Given that for most of us the work never seems to be done, where would tweaking your own dance/march ratios make the biggest difference?

How might you bring more play to your work, or dance into a more enjoyable and productive life?

Play the Tiles You Get

“Play the tiles you get.”

—Grandma Nelly

Image of a Scrabble tile holder

Image from Flickr by Joe King

In her book, 365 Days of Wonder, R.J. Palacio shares a charming story of her grandparents. Both avid Scrabble players, they played every day for more than 50 years.

Her grandfather, known as being the “intellectual,” almost always lost to his wife, who was primarily a homemaker, not the lawyer who graduated from Columbia.

Grandma Nelly was quite smart in her own right. She loved crossword puzzles. She had a miraculous ability to make the most of the tiles she was given rather than waiting to use the highest value tiles on double or triple word spaces. That was grandpa’s strategy.

EXERCISE:

In what areas of life are you waiting to get better tiles? What would be the value and benefit of learning to play the ones you currently have, and those you receive each day?

#63: “Life is playfulness…”

“…We need to play so that we can rediscover the magic all around us.”

– Flora Colao

As a child, I remember being told “you cannot go out and play until the work is done.” It turned out that there was always work to do – in the form of chores and schoolwork.

Years ago, I took a one-year course called The Wisdom Course that was all about bringing greater playfulness into my life. It was around this time that I left my 12-year corporate job to begin my coaching career.

As the saying goes, when you love what you do, you’ll never work another day in your life. Most days, my work feels like play.

Exercise:

How can you bring greater magic into your life by bringing more playfulness into your work and your personal life?

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#56: “To succeed in life, you need three things…”

“… a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.”

– Reba McEntire, musician and actress

Many of the quotes I’ve included in The Quotable Coach series discuss the benefit of vision and hard work to help you along your life journey. I like the added element here of having a funny bone, or a sense of humor, as we navigate this journey.

I personally need to take life a bit less seriously – to be more playful and light-hearted and to have a whole lot more belly laughs along the way. How about you?

Exercise:

What can you do to lighten your life journey, experience more humor and laughter and find a youthful, playful spirit that will bring more joy into your world?

Quotes are posted on The Quotable Coach a week after being sent out by email. To get the latest quotes straight to your inbox, pop your details in the sidebar to the right.