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The Power of Play

15 Jun

“The most successful people in here have rich hobbies out in the world.” – P&G CEO Bob McDonald

Some of the most successful and creative people I know are also the most playful.

An old friend from our days in the military is now an extremely successful professional. Years ago, Chris was ever the prankster, mixing fun and laughter in to the stresses of day-to-day Navy life.  Eventually his entrepreneurial success afforded him the opportunity to travel the world and develop his photography practice. It began as a simple hobby, but is now his professional work.  The secret to his success is his sense of wonder in the world.  Chris still maintains that playful spirit.

Another successful professional who knows the value of play time is designer Stefan Sagmeister.  He has an unusual approach to productivity. He takes an entire year off every seven years.  He explains that it’s as if he takes five years of his retirement and intersperses them into his working adulthood.  This period off is a lot of fun, tremendously re-invigorating and affords him the opportunity to pursue the ideas he didn’t have time for. Most of the projects he does in the next seven years come from that single year ‘away.’

Like most people, my family and I don’t yet have the freedom to just take a year off to nurture new ideas or to do as much traveling as these adventurers do.  That said, we do play – a lot!  We have music and our love of the outdoors, especially kayaking.  We travel as often as we can on simple road trips or further afield when we can find the time and funds.  We make play time a priority.

In these unsure economic times, it is not only vital to work as hard as we can but also to play hard.  Fostering a sense of play feeds you as a person which makes you better at your job, whether you are a business person or an artist.  What do you do for play?

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