The Power of Play

"Creativity is intelligence having fun."
Albert Einstein

When people ask what I do for a living, the conversation usually goes something like this:

They say:  “So, what exactly is it that you do?"

I say:  “I’m a creative director. Every day is different, but I am usually writing campaigns, putting together execution teams, designing, producing, managing brands…”

This is almost always followed up with a wistful statement from the inquiring party:

“I’m just not a creative person.”

“I wish I could be creative.”

“You’re so lucky — I don’t have a creative bone in my body.”

And all the variations in between.

I’m always happy to be the one to enlighten them on just how wrong they are. Every human on earth is creative — or at least has the capacity to be creative. For some of us, our inner child bubbles just a little closer to the surface, which makes it much easier to tap into this part of our brain. But what can we do to help open up the mind to its creative capacity?

We can play. 

My desk. Yes. Those are Billy Bob teeth.

My desk. Yes. Those are Billy Bob teeth.

Play helps unwind our tightly wound selves so we can open up to possibilities that we have trouble believing can exist in the ‘real world.’ And, we don’t have to play with purpose. When we switch gears and completely let go of the problem, the solution can come to us in some pretty unexpected places. In fact, for me, the smartest solutions usually find me — when I let go and quit looking for them.

I was very lucky to be raised by parents who valued silliness and playing and having fun (they still do!) just as much as they valued hard work, and I know this is what helps me look at things differently. 

So, today, a simple exercise — take time out for a little bit of fun. Let your hair down. Be silly. Sing in the car. Throw a tennis ball against the wall. Run like Phoebe from that episode of Friends. (You know which one I’m talking about).
Let your inner kiddo stretch his legs — and watch your mind stretch, too.