The Play Instinct | Part 2

“Play is what I do for a living; the work comes in evaluating the results of the play.” – Mac MacDougall

Some people think if you’re still playing at something, then you’re really not working on it. Their attitude is: “Stop playing around and get down to business.” They see work and play as two mutually exclusive ideals, and if you aren’t producing hard tangible results, then you aren’t working.

In reality, work and play are two sides of the same creative process. The play side enables us to try various approaches (perhaps some traditional ones, some fantastic ones and some zany ones) to learn what works and what doesn’t. We can then take this new found knowledge and germinate new ideas. The work side enables us to take our new ideas and evaluate them, corroborate them with existing information and put them into a form which will be useful.

One of play’s byproducts is fun — one of the most powerful motivators around. A fun working environment is much more productive than a routine environment. People who enjoy their work come up with more fresh ideas. There seems to be a direct relationship between the ha-ha experience of humor and the aha! experience of creative discovery.