“Life is the game that must be played.” – Edwin Arlington Robinson
“Look closely and find subtle ways to play in your work. Play breaks up the burden of labor and gives it ananda – deep meaningful joy.” – Thomas Moore
“A person might be able to play without being creative, but he sure can’t be creative without playing.” — Kurt Hanks and Jay Parry
“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” – Plato
“It is in playing, and perhaps only in playing, that the child is free to be creative.” – D W Winnicott
“We all operate in two contrasting modes, which might be called open and closed. The open mode is more relaxed, more receptive, more exploratory, more democratic, more playful and more humorous. The closed mode is the tighter, more rigid, more hierarchical, more tunnel-visioned. Most people, unfortunately spend most of their time in the closed mode. Not that the closed mode cannot be helpful. If you are leaping a ravine, the moment of takeoff is a bad time for considering alternative strategies. When you charge the enemy machine-gun post, don’t waste energy trying to see the funny side of it. Do it in the “closed” mode. But the moment the action is over, try to return to the “open” mode—to open your mind again to all the feedback from our action that enables us to tell whether the action has been successful, or whether further action is need to improve on what we have done. In other words, we must return to the open mode, because in that mode we are the most aware, most receptive, most creative, and therefore at our most intelligent.” — John Cleese
“Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent, and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play.” – Henri Matisse
“Necessity may be the mother of invention, but play is certainly the father.” – Roger von Oech
“Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn.” – O Fred Donaldson
“It is paradoxical that many educators and parents still differentiate between a time for learning and a time for play without seeing the vital connection between them.” – Leo F. Buscaglia
“The more I want to get something done, the less I call it work.” – Richard Bach
“Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.” – Kay Redfield Jamison
“Play is training for the unexpected.” – Marc Bekoff
“Whoever wants to understand much must play much.” – Gottfried Benn
“Deep meaning lies often in childish play.” – Johann Friedrich von Schiller
“A child who does not play is not a child, but the man who does not play has lost forever the child who lived in him.” – Pablo Neruda
“When we come together to play and be we are truly ourselves When we are truly ourselves it is wonderful and when we act collectively in that wonder we do transformative work for our community and our world.” – Brad Colby
“Too much of our work amounts to the drudgery of arranging means toward ends, mechanically placing the right foot in front of the left and the left in front of the right, moving down narrow corridors toward narrow goals. Play widens the halls. Work will always be with us, and many works are worthy. But the worthiest works of all often reflect an artful creativity that looks more like play than work.” — James Ogilvy
“Almost all creativity involves purposeful play.” – Abraham Maslow
“Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself.” – Miles Davis
“Don’t play the saxophone. Let it play you.” – Charlie Parker
“To the art of working well a civilized race would add the art of playing well.” – George Santayana
“If you must play, decide on three things at the start: the rules of the game, the stakes, and the quitting time” – Chinese Proverbs
“There is work that is work and there is play that is play; there is play that is work and work that is play. And in only one of these lies happiness.” – Gelett Burgess
“Work and play are words used to describe the same thing under differing conditions.” – Mark Twain
“A child loves his play, not because it’s easy, but because it’s hard.” – Benjamin Spock
“Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play.” – Heraclitus
“Life must be lived as play.” – Plato
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At the 2008 Serious Play conference, designer Tim Brown talks about the powerful relationship between creative thinking and play – with many examples you can try at home (and one that maybe you shouldn’t).
Tim Brown is the CEO of innovation and design firm IDEO, taking an approach to design that digs deeper than the surface. Having taken over from founder David E Kelley, Tim Brown carries forward the firm’s mission of fusing design, business and social studies to come up with deeply researched, deeply understood designs and ideas – they call it “design thinking.”
View more creativity videos here.
“What do science and play have in common? Neuroscientist Beau Lotto thinks all people (kids included) should participate in science and, through the process of discovery, change perceptions. He’s seconded by 12-year-old Amy O’Toole, who, along with 25 of her classmates, published the first peer-reviewed article by schoolchildren, about the Blackawton bees project. It starts: “Once upon a time … ”
While you’re watching the video you may have an uncanny feeling that science and art aren’t as different as you were once led to believe.
Watch more creativity videos here.
Every year I travel with my son and wife to visit her family in Italy. In between moments at the beach, visits to family members houses, and long meals I steal a moment here and there to make photographs, sometimes lagging behind, sometimes rushing ahead, other times ducking around a corner. The environment is very different from the ones I work in professionally. I use this as an opportunity to explore other interests. I find periodically getting out of my comfort zone and exploring other subjects in other environments helps me be a more versatile artistically. The things I learn along the way can later be transposed to my professional work.
How does play inform your image-making?
Here’s a selection of recent images of Italian walls, doors, and windows.
(All of these images were taken and processed with an iPhone.)
Learn more about iPhone photography in my column on the Huffington Post.
Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.
My TEDx Dirigo talk from 10/10/10 is live.
In You’re More Creative Than You Think You Are I show how you can create a synergy between skills you already have (writing, drawing, photography) to turbo charge your creativity.
Watch the other TEDx Dirigo speakers here.
Learn more about TEDx Dirigo here.
Find more of my favorite TED videos here.
The word amateur comes from the Latin word amator (lover). Amateurs simply do things for the love of doing them. Over time the word amateur has come to mean doing things with less education, discipline, and craft. Amateurs rarely create great works of art. Yet, we’d all be wise to reconsider the original meaning of the word amateur and do more things for the love of doing them – even if we have to learn or relearn to love the things we have to do. No great work of art was ever made without this kind of passion. Passion is a prerequisite for excellence.
One danger professionals face is losing the spark of passion and the thrill of discovery along the way to achieving proficiency. I often recommend that creative people who have developed a significant proficiency in one creative discipline become amateurs in another creative discipline. It can be extremely challenging to engage in a creative discipline you know well to be spontaneous and to give yourself license to experiment within it. But that’s exactly what you need to do to do your best work and to make break throughs.
When we experiment we tend to be less results oriented and more process oriented. When we experiment we don’t expect perfect results the first time we try something; instead we hope to find new insights that can later be perfected. When we experiment we don’t fear failure; in fact we consider it part of the process. When did we forget that learning from failures is how we make discoveries and improve? When does our fear of failure keep us from succeeding in new ways?
Working in a secondary creative discipline can give you a fresh perspective on your primary creative discipline and the creative process in general. How are the two similar? What creative strategies are most useful in both? How are the two different? Is there a way that practices in one could be applied to the other? You can find ways to hybridize the two and energize your primary creative outlet. You may even find that your enjoyment of the creative process is higher in your secondary discipline, even thought the results you achieve within it aren’t as polished. This may lead you to the most important question of all, “Why do you do what you do?”
So dare to be an amateur. Do things simply for the love of doing them. Enjoy yourself. Experiment. Become more aware of your process. Do some soul searching. Make these things you do regularly.
Learn more about the word amateur at Podictionary.
Find more inspiration in my Creativity Lessons.
Learn more in my Digital Photography Workshops.
Each summer my we go to Italy to visit my wife’s family. My son and I share point and shoot camera’s and make whimsical interpretations of our experiences there. I’ve learn a lot when I take time to play. I become more versatile and improvisational. I take interest in and see things I never would have seen otherwise. I see things in new ways. The reasons I make different kinds of images and the expectations I have for them become clearer. Play’s valuable. Really valuable. And fun! Take time to play.
Check out my Creativity workshops here.