by Kevin Carroll, Kevin Carroll Katalyst LLC
Think back to your childhood and to the years dominated by playtime, when there were endless hours to fill and the only agenda was to be captivated in the moment, to have fun. But playtime was also productive time, even if as kids we did not realize it. What we thought was entertaining was also instructive. Activities we called tea party, show-and-tell, kick-ball, finger-painting, hide-and-seek, daydreaming, and tag were also exercises in planning, strategy, design, decision-making, creativity, risk-taking, conflict resolution and teamwork.
In play we did not avoid obstacles, we looked for them by voluntarily challenging ourselves. We eagerly tackled insurmountable odds—height, speed, lack of money—to make our desires reality. Using imagination, we climbed Mt. Everest, competed in the Super Bowl, conquered the world or made a house out of a cardboard box. We voluntarily tested ourselves and accepted failure as part of the play. We ran, stumbled, and got up to run again. When we lost a game we simply started a new one. When something did not pan out as intended, we tapped into our seemingly endless supply of cleverness, resourcefulness and/or our creative agility to prototype or experiment with new solutions until we were satisfied. When faced with an enemy or new challenge—be it a competing team, a broken toy, or our friend playing a cop to our robber, an ogre to our princess—we figured out how to win, remedy the malfunction, or flee the imagined danger.
Far from frivolous time, our childhood play was constructive because it strengthened our resolve as well as our skills. Play gave us courage and instilled confidence. No doubt about it, the many forms of play—board games, sports, pretending, arts-and-crafts, writing, exploring, building—required us to invent, analyze, innovate, socialize, plan, communicate and problem solve. Play was serious business in our youth and play should continue to be serious business in our adult life.
Lifelong Play + Creative Confidence = Future Ready!
Kevin Carroll is the founder of Kevin Carroll Katalyst/LLC and the author of three highly successful books: Rules of the Red Rubber Ball, What’s Your Red Rubber Ball?! and The Red Rubber Ball at Work. As an author, speaker and agent for social change (a.k.a. the Katalyst), it is Kevin’s “job” to inspire businesses, organizations and individuals – from CEOs and employees of Fortune 500 companies to schoolchildren – to embrace their spirit of play and creativity to maximize their human potential and sustain more meaningful business and personal growth.