Stop Eating Your Brain!

“Play creates new neural connections and tests them. It creates a low-risk format for finding and developing innate skills and talents … When we stop playing, we start dying.” ~ Stuart Brown, MD, “Play.” (pages 49 & 73)

by Pete Ferguson

The Sea Squirt is the coach potato of the sea, sitting in a stream of nutrients with no activity until it literally devours its own primitive cerebral ganglia “brain.”

As a “tadpole,” however, the Sea Squirt’s tiny brain is active as it seeks out nutrients, moving about, exploring and growing.

As the Sea Squirt develops into an adult, it attaches permanently to a rock or a boat’s hull or pilings where the passing current will provide enough nutrients to survive.

Don’t Be a Sea Squirt

I’ve had those times in life when I found a job that supplied just enough to get by. The goal was to exist, get paid, eat, sleep, wake up and exist another day. The weekend was a quick reprieve, and then back to the grindstone.

Hopefully this does not describe your current position, if it does, it is time to detach from the hull of someone else’s boat and get moving!

Follow Your Passion in Life

Author and mentor Dan Miller will never retire in the traditional sense, because there is nothing to retire from. He has found the intersection of play and work and his life’s ambition is to help others do the same.

Dan lives on a 10 acre “Gentleman’s Farm” in Franklin, Tennessee. He writes and career coaches out of a converted barn which has been christened “The Sanctuary.”

Throughout the week, Dan will have many hours devoted to reading, writing, consulting and podcasting. But he will also have many hours of “play” hanging out with his granddaughters, exploring his property, moving wood chips about with his tractor and going to lunch regularly with people who just need to talk about their frustrations in feeling “stuck” in their current career.

Many of Dan’s activities would be considered wasting time in a corporate setting. But Dan has described how some of his best ideas have developed while on the tractor or watching the animals walk through his property. And the measuring stick for his ideas is a large one – in his podcasts he often references a product needing to generate a million dollars or more.

Forget the “c-suite” corner office, Dan’s Sanctuary is the ultimate office and has allowed him to changes the lives of countless others.

Play More – Live Longer

Play is the key to longevity and enjoyment in life. On pages 72 & 73 of Stuart Brown’s book “Play:”

A study done in Okinawa, Japan, by the National Geographic Society revealed that engaging in activities like playing with young children was as important as diet and exercise in fostering the Okinawans’ legendary longevity … When we stop playing, we stop developing, and when that happens, the laws of entropy take over – things fall apart … When we stop playing, we start dying.”

Tomorrow I’ll breakdown the various states of play, and hopefully – like me – you will be surprised at what is considered play and give yourself permission to engage in a lot more play!

Learn: Are you currently spending the majority of your time enjoying what you do? If not, what would you describe as your perfect day (after the sleeping all day, reading and doing “nothing” gets boring on a vacation, what do you like to “do?”)

Act: Get out and play today, even if that means 10 minutes on a break walking outside and watching birds fly, pigeons peck at the park, or just taking a brisk walk.

Share: If you are not living your ultimate desires – most of us are not yet – who is? Talk to that person, read about them, find out how they made the transition.

Commit: Commit now that you are not going to just sit in a nursing home and veg the remainder of your days when you “retire” (i.e. Give Up) at the end of your corporate existence!

Photo Credits:

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