Patrick Ward words, code, and music

The More I Play, The More Creative I Get

I’ve noticed something recently. The more I play, the more creative I get. I don’t mean lazy, mind-numbing, passive kinds of play. I’m talking about a more active kind of entertainment. The kind of recreation that gets you actively involved in whatever it is you’re doing. Sometimes it’s just being silly. Other times, it’s about being mischievous, and maybe a little devious; like playing a harmless trick on someone or teasing them just a tad too far. Sometimes it’s about thinking up a riddle, wondering what would happen if a dog could talk, or pondering how bad a morning could get before it rattles an optimist. I’m particularly fond of dancing and singing ridiculous songs for my dogs. The looks on their faces are priceless; if I’m lucky, sometimes they’ll sing and dance with me — it’s a grand, silly time.

These wholesome amusements seem to get my mind working overtime; I feel a sense of wit and curiosity; and they brighten my mood, and subsequently those around me as well. In a way, by playing I’m telling the universe I’m ready to spread good cheer, that I’m open to be a conduit for imagination.

When I do the opposite — when I’m overly pensive, caught up in my own self worth, or dwelling on a sense of failure — I find my creativity dips to new lows. I find it harder to write, my imagination turns to mush, and my problems just seem to grow.

It’s hard to remember to play when you’re feeling empty, but it’s precisely that moment when I most need to entertain myself. Those are the times when getting silly may just be the most important thing I do all day!

So, take it from me, kick off those shoes, let down your hair, and get downright jester like. Be the fool! Embarrass the hell out of yourself! Step outside that hard candy exterior you’ve been building up all day and just let loose!

You’ll be amazed at how good you feel. I promise it won’t harm you. In fact, I would bet it’s one of the healthiest activities you can do for yourself. Just make yourself laugh for a good 20-30 minutes and I guarantee whatever problem you’re facing will seem less daunting afterwards.

Laughter seems to open up the mind and make it more susceptible to new ideas. It’s that creative whack on the side of the head that we’re so often looking for. Without it, we take ourselves too serious, dwell on trivial matters, and find ourselves slipping further into states of blue that rival the deepest oceans.

Yet, even more useful than a good laugh, is a mirthful sense of good cheer and an honest appreciation for the good things all around you. When you take the time to admire the beauty in people and places, you’ll find a deep sense of gratitude welling up inside of you. You’ll find you’re loosening the shackles that bind you to those dimly lit centers within, and freely experiencing the wondrous gifts that have always been right there in front of you. There’s so much to explore in your daily life, so many sources of inspiration, that you can’t but feel grateful to be alive and lucky enough to be witness to it all.

Then, take it one step further, and start to play. Amuse yourself with simple riddles, imagine your life in a different part of the world, tickle your creativity by taking a few minutes to draw a cartoon, go take a ride in your car and sing as loud as you can, tell someone the funniest joke you can remember, or just go dance with your dogs.

When you start to feel that awareness of genuine joy, you’ll begin to see the creativity seeping back into your life. Your mind will come up with the most amusing anecdotes, and you’ll find that your imagination begins to accelerate in ways you couldn’t have realized before.

By letting play enter in your life, you’re giving your mind a chance to rest; you’re letting all those troublesome issues run in the background for awhile while you’re conscious mind gets a much needed break in the action. When you get back, you may just find the solution to that problem you were agonizing over.

So, do yourself a favor, be silly and play, especially when you don’t feel like it. You’ll thank yourself for it later.