To celebrate my 43rd trip around the sun, I would like to share with you a bunch of things I have been thinking about lately. If you haven’t been subscribing to Playful Humans, here is what you have been missing, in no particular order…

This post is brought to you by the 1980s. When I think of the 80s I always think of a boombox, but that is just a stereo type.

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  1. Never take good advice from others, including me. You are unique and not in the same situation. Most people want to help you and keep you safe, especially people who love you. Unfortunately, that stunts your growth. Instead, play with ideas and do things… Accept support and opportunities, not advice!
  2. Create more than you consume. If you bring value to yourself, others, the planet, and the universe, good things will happen.
  3. Everyone is invited to play. People who play together, stay together. Bring fun, not stress to the people around you.
  4. The movement between chaos and order is what makes life interesting. Don’t worry about trying to control everything. We need a little chaos and a little order, just don’t get stuck in either.
  5. Play is the fun uncle of work. Most people think play is the opposite of work. It is not, that is laziness and sloth. Play can be more productive than work. Play is positive action.
  6. Creativity comes from combinations and connections. It is not spontaneous creation. Creativity usually comes from getting more inputs, not from waiting around for inspiration.
  7. Confidence is gained through temporary failure. Most people think confidence is gained from success, but instead, it comes from overcoming setbacks and obstacles.
  8. Record and publish are the two toughest buttons to push as a creator. Start and finish as much as you can. You can figure out the middle as you go.
  9. We all speak ball. Every mammal on the planet loves to play. When in doubt, add a ball to the situation. It brings a little bit of chaos to shake up your life.
  10. Happiness leads to success, not the other way around.
  11. Your mind and body get sharper with use. Tools and other physical objects get dull and worn out with use. You are alive! You get stronger with each task, and dull without them.
  12. Experiences and people are eternal. Things are temporary and fade.
  13. Social media is not social. Reality TV is not real. Don’t buy the hype. Real connection comes in the real world.
  14. If you watch football, you like TV. If you play football you like sports. Don’t get seduced into being a spectator in your own life.
  15. Focus on energy management, not time management. You can’t manage time, but you can control your energy and how you leverage and replenish it.
  16. Play, pause, ponder, practice, and perform every day.
  17. Are you spending more time as Clark Kent or Superman? Be awesome.
  18. You must create a playful environment for play to emerge. Fun, creativity, and human connection require an openness to allow it to happen. Put yourself in situations and surround yourself with playful people.
  19. Always bring a +1. Invite someone to join you, and say yes to join others. Life is more fulfilling when it is shared.
  20. Giving to charity makes you more happy, confident, healthier, attractive, and builds a better culture and relationships. Share with someone else.
  21. People are not built to serve the data, math, systems, and machines. Our tools are built to serve us. Don’t get sucked into counting your steps and ignore the person walking next to you.
  22. Creativity, confidence, conditioning, connections, and culture are strengthened by play. What do you think weakens them?
  23. Choice and control are what make tasks interesting. Work is forced on you. Play is chosen. The fastest way to demotivate someone is to pay them for doing something they already love to do. It turns play into work.
  24. The illusion of control, measurement, and understanding is what causes all stress. When you think you can control the uncontrollable, you have a fundamental disconnect that causes worry, pain, and stress.
  25. Postive stress, called Eustress, is when you are challenging yourself to control what you can, when you have agency and power in your own life.
  26. Flow, meaning, and pleasure are the basis of positive psychology and the foundations of playfulness.
  27. Money solves problems. It doesn’t create happiness. Once you have solved your basic problems of survival, you must stop chasing money and start chasing fulfillment.
  28. Use your money and effort to buy time, experiences, and invest in others and your relationships. Money can’t buy happiness, but it can be used to create opportunities to connect with other humans.
  29. However, it is better to just dream about buying things… You must be grateful for what you have and savor the pleasures of the things around you. Dreaming about the anticipation of a cool gift brings more pleasure than actually buying it.
  30. Self-efficacy, and confidence, is the single biggest factor in people doing more and making more money.
  31. Once you start measuring and tracking things, you have to measure and track all the things… You can always do more research, chop things into smaller pieces, and waste time thinking, but how much further would you have gotten if you stopped all of that and just took action in a playful way? When you complicate things, life is complicated. You know exactly what you should do, so focus your attention on the things that matter and forget the rest. Oftentimes, these are the scariest things that you are avoiding.
  32. When you solve problems, you get bigger and tougher problems. When you let them go, you get fewer problems. If you have no worries, you have no more problems than are necessary.
  33. Bad choices start easy and get hard. Good choices start hard and get easy. Often, it feels psychologically safer to burn out than to have the courage to risk being full self. It is easy to start using drugs, sit on the couch, and tune out of your life, but ultimately, each day becomes tougher. It is emotionally hard to start moving, start connecting, and live and love wholeheartedly, but it makes life so much more fulfilling as you grow.
  34. Feelings are contagious. Make sure you are spreading love, happiness, and playfulness.
  35. Kids don’t care how much money you make. They care if your eyes light up when you see them. Adults are kids in big bodies.
  36. Would you trade your happiness to be special or more successful? Happiness comes from love and giving, not from working and getting. Success is about external motivators. Happiness comes from internal motivation. Do you want money, power, pleasure, and fame? Or do you want connections, confidence, physical and mental conditions to be healthy and to give to others?
  37. Happiness = satisfaction. Satisfaction is what you have divided by what you want.
  38. Enjoyment and fulfillment are different than a lack of problems or pain. Don’t confuse avoiding pain with a happy life.
  39. Focus on the fun! A bucket list is a ticket to obsessing over what you don’t have. A f*ck-it list is a reverse bucket list of things you let go of and give away or do for others.
  40. Time flies when you are having fun, but builds lasting memories that make for a longer life. Boring days go slow. Boring lives go fast. You will want to look back on a full life, not your Netflix watch history.
  41. Playfulness is inherently optimistic. You can’t be pessimistic and have a playful attitude.
  42. Play should be ageless. Play drops by 75% between the ages of 9 and 15, when play turns to competitive sport, and work begins to try to keep up expectations of adulthood. There is no logical, physical, or wholistic reason for this.
  43. Find your natural child’s joy and you will find your purpose. Your purpose is not a what, but a how… What you do can change. How do you choose to live your life?

Take the Playful Humans quiz to find out your playful personality style.

If you made it this far, you might want to join the Playful Humans community to rediscover the power of play in your life or help encourage others to treasure their playfulness.