Playfulness - Deepstash

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7 Psychological Benefits of Playfulness for Adults

Playfulness

Playfulness is the lesser-known and under-appreciated antidote to unhappiness, boredom, and stuckness of life.

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Becoming Young
Becoming Young

Being young is being curious. And most people become cynical and overly critical towards life as they grow older, and only a select few retain the wonder, innocence and joy of a child.

An adult's life consists of optimizing life using knowledge, mental models and practical shortcuts, a race towards better efficiency in everything. We stop asking the right questions, like the most common question a child asks: Why?

Our Inner Critic

Our inner critic is usually formed in a system based on right and wrong answers and outperforming others on structured tasks. Listening to our inner critic will rarely improve our creative work - it may actually result in conformative work.

We need to turn this inner-critic into an inner-coach and drive our personal growth.

Re-educating Our Inner Critic

We do not need to suppress or kill our inner critic, but only need to re-educate it, but only need to deploy three simple ways to make space for the inner child:

  1. Get more playful in our creative endeavours.
  2. Skip doing something adults do in favour of doing something that kids love to do, like drawing, writing poems and playing in the pool.
  3. Practice constructive questioning by asking why to the things we (and others) take for granted.
Albert Einstein

"It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education. "

Albert Einstein
Curiosity declines with age

Children are extremely curious. They keep asking, "why?" and explore new things just because they want to know.

But research shows that during the schooling years, curiosity steadily declines, and as adults, we fall into fixed and convenient thought patterns.

The mechanics of curiosity

Research around curiosity found that children at age 5 scored 98% on a creativity test. When the same children took the test at age 10, only 30% scored well on the test. By age 15, only 12% of the same children did well. Less than 2% of adults are defined as creative based on their answer to this standardised test.

Science suggests this decrease in curiosity could be caused when we feel there's no gap between what we know and what we want to know, so we just stop being curious.