One of the things I’ve struggled with for many years (all the years maybe?) is play. To allow myself to let go, get silly, not worry about the optics or the outcome or the why of what I’m doing, and just tap in to the playfulness of the moment.
Ben and I recorded a month-long experiment back in 2016 where we tried to play every day, and it was both wonderful and difficult. I’m not sure if it’s the perfectionistic tendencies I’ve had since I was a kid, or if it’s fear of looking silly or making a mistake, or even simply a lack of practice, but I found it really challenging.
This months’s daily creativity experiment is proving much the same as over the past four weeks I’ve had to learn to let go of the end product and learn to enjoy playing around in the process. Unlike the play experiment, however, this time I feel like I’ve finally figured out why it’s important to simply play around. It’s not so that I can ‘achieve’ playfulness or get that giddy high I sometimes get when playing hide and seek or sketching something random that caught my eye, but so that my brain can revel in the unstructured. So that I can roll around in ideas and playfulness and be free to connect dots in more creative ways…or not.
Letting go of outcome is undoubtedly a challenge for many of us in a world that is transfixed by product and end result (and the quicker the better thankyouverymuch) but what I’ve realised this month is that forgetting about output and audience, and doing something just for the joy of it is a challenge worth exploring.
In today’s poggie Ben and I talk about our creative practice over the past week, and I share specifically how I’ve been practicing playfulness and perfectionism. And here’s a hot tip for you: off-the-cuff story-telling is a great way to let go of being good.
We talk about the notion of self-worth and why it’s been important for me to acknowledge and shift my view of my own worth in order to let go of some of the perfectionism I’ve carried around, which brings us to the idea of courage and creativity and why I think the two are closely intertwined. It turns out that letting go of output, turning inwards and simply revelling in the process of creating brings us closer to our own struggles, fears, beliefs and judgements, and by choosing to obsess over the end result, we can keep those things at a distance. When we let go of those fears and judgements, even for a few moments a day, we are being courageous. We are learning to be honest with ourselves. We are fully embracing what it is to be whole and flawed and human, and while it’s challenging, I truly believe it’s so worthwhile.
I know many of you also struggle with playfulness and letting go of the end result (the emails and messages we received after the play experiment back in 2016 are a testament to that) so this week we’d love to offer up a little challenge – if you struggle with playfulness, try setting an alarm and spending 10 minutes doing something fun and playful. Simply let go of judgment and try to find the joy in the challenge. It might take some practice, but as someone who struggles with play I’ve never once regretted making the time for it.
We round out today’s episode with a quick book tour update too. It’s getting closer now, and I think we should be able to share the majority of our itinerary with you next week!
In the meantime, enjoy your week and here’s to more play!
Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!
Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:
- On Writing by Stephen King
- Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
- Big Magic by Liz Gilbert
- Big Magic by Liz Gilbert – AUDIOBOOK
- Jacki Carr – Goals Coach Extraordinaire
- US and Canadian friends, you can pre-order SLOW here
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- Download this month’s PDF, full of ideas to keep you creating and keep you accountable
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