Can you imagine what it felt like to think as innocently and openly as a child?
If not, stop what you're doing right now, and find your red rubber ball.
Kevin Carroll, opening speaker at the American Gem Society Conclave 2012 in Miami, talked about the importance of play on Wednesday in his seminar titled “Rediscovering Play: Bringing Fun and Passion to Your Work…And Life.”
Abandoned by his addict dad and raised first by a nomadic, homeless mom and, after age 6, by his grandparents in Philadelphia, Kevin found joy and acceptance as a kid when he connected on the playground with a game he invented around a simple red rubber ball.
He’s written three books, “Rules of the Red Rubber Ball,” “What’s Your Red Rubber Ball?” and “The Red Rubber Ball at Work.” And as founder of Kevin Carroll Katalyst he has studied the importance of play and dedicated his life to advancing sports and play as a vehicle for social change.
“Play is as important as eating, drinking and sleeping,” he says, and the absence of play has deleterious effects.” Adults marginalize play, confining it to the weekend, but Carroll believes anyone can be more effective at work by incorporating play into work and daily life.
Through play comes creativity and ingenuity.
“We’ve allowed our creative muscles to atrophy,” he says.
Ready to play?
Here’s how to begin:
· Keep your eyes open. At least once a week schedule a “look-up day” during which you spend more time looking up than looking down at a screen. “One look up day per week could shift your perspective.
· Consider what activities can energize you. It’s not enough to say, OK, it’s time to brainstorm. You need to replenish your reserves of energy daily by engaging in activities that excite you. In Carroll’s case, those activities include working out, playing the cello and eating good chocolate.
· Good is not good enough. Go after the exceptional; aspire to something that makes you stretch.
· Believe that hard work never goes unrewarded.
· Maximize every day. Watch how children wring out every moment of a day and live actively in the present.
· Make human contact. Reach out to people. Do one act of random kindness per day.
· Work on your attitude.
· Stay motivated. The day you are most frustrated is probably the day before everything is going to tip in your favor.
· Blur the line between work and play and find joy every day.