The Power of Play

Let the fun begin!

Games make learning fun instead of only growing pain. As children, we learn through play. And because play is so much fun, we play some more until a virtuous circle is formed where we play and learn to play to learn. In my experience, adults learn most effectively in the same way.

By¬†learning through play, we pack in the practice at doing the things we enjoy and so we begin to achieve, getting a little (or, in some cases, a lot) better at what we do every day. Think ‘baby steps’. Little and often.

And when practice brings results, it gives us a sense of achievement and so we practice some more until doing what we do becomes a habit, becomes part of who we are.

By making practice a habit, we’re able to discover what we’re really good at and eventually, all those hours add up to make us proficient at doing the thing we enjoy doing most.

Add in the necessary ingredients of support, guidance and courage, and the moment you attain proficiency should collide just-in-time with opportunity. That’s when you suddenly realise you’re doing what you love or at least loving what you do. And getting paid for it. There’s your TADA! moment. And it feels like magic.

And because your Fun Flywheel is already spinning, that breakthrough will fuel your courage and desire to achieve even more, so you’ll continue to practice and, because you know the secret to practice is through play, you’ll never tire of training to become better every day.

The Enduring Memory of Play

Why turn work into play?

  • Breaks down organisational boundaries – Such as when senior managers haggle with developers, as a team, over whether building a Mars station will bring in more business value than a Castle
  • Connects people – Creates a shared experience that lasts way beyond a 90-minute gaming session into daily work
  • Creates a sense of common purpose – Unites people from different teams and departments, sometimes for the first time, towards a common, tangible goal
  • Increases understanding between colleagues – Clearly demonstrates how everyone has strengths and can use the strengths of others to overcome their own weaknesses by working as a team
  • We can’t resist having fun¬†– Opens our minds long enough to challenge what we think so we can grow

It is these kinds of mementoes that help form a team, so that when the going gets tough, we can help one another through the storms to become a high performance and happy team.

2 Responses to “The Power of Play”

  1. The Marshmallow Challenge | Selfish Programming writes:

    […] you evolve a structure is why kindergarten children do better than business school graduates. That fun is fundamental to the forming and continuous development of a healthy, well-functioning team. Put all these […]

  2. Transformative Play | Selfish Programming writes:

    […] Ever since then, that’s been one of my guiding principles on how I choose to do my work. It was difficult at first but I found that with practice I could create opportunities for myself and others to do more meaningful work that I’ve come to describe as “Transformative Play“. […]

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