Power to the Playful!

Power to the Playful!

December 15, 2016

Power to the Playful
(Part 1)

I’d like to share a peak experience I just had with my good bro Casey.  Beautiful crisp fall day in Bend, Oregon.  The deep orange and reds of the changing leaves contrasting perfectly with the yellow -brown and red basalt of Smith Rock.  5 pitches up at the top of Wherever I May Roam.  Sunset was stellar and the supermoon rise was beautiful and necessary...especially since we were the last ones at the top and didn’t bring our headlamps...doh!  You may be wondering why two moderately intelligent (and handsome) doctors would be up hundreds of feet, in the dark, without one headlamp between them.  The answer is simple….weeks of hard work in our clinics, building and expanding our careers, raising our families...and we were damned if we weren’t going to squeeze out every little bit of stoke from Dr. Freakers birthday weekend!

This experience and hundreds like it (my poor mom!), got me asking a question.  How can I have more experiences like this in my day to day life without necessarily having to downclimb in the dark?  This is where I stumbled on the power of play.

Most adult humans spend a LOT of time at work.  Our work often forms our identities, supports our lifestyles and connects us to our friends and colleagues.  Our J-O-B becomes the pivot around which much of our lives rotate.  With such a pivot, such an influence, and such a time commitment, our livelihoods must be infused with playfulness, color and joy, otherwise we will become stiff, curmudgeonous, and our smile lines will begin moving in the wrong direction.

Seth Godin, author and entrepreneur, when asked about the difference between doing what you love and loving what you do has been quoted as saying “I think it’s way better to love what you do, particularly when you are trying to make a living.”  We are not always going to be able to make a career out of the things we love (without squashing it to bits), but we can choose a livelihood, a means of financial and material support that we can learn to love.  The question is, how do we do this?



Googling the term “power of play,” there is a mosaic of behavioral psychology research, how-to books, self help programs and dedicated curricula for children with learning disabilities.  Regardless of the source, the message is the same.  Our brain structure and neurochemistry are built for and optimized for being in a state of play.  This is the reason so many games exist, and why people are obsessed with watching others playing games whether professional sports or professional gambling.  The attention aspect of our working intellect, known as our functional intelligence is highly stimulated when we are playing.

You, our Essential Wipe Community, are definitely dedicated to play.  Chances are that if you have used Essential Wipes it has been in a playful setting.  We have stories emailed to us from the Himalayas to the middle of the Atlantic, from Burning Man, yoga studios and Tough Mudder events….possibly from outer space (wink...wink...more to come about that one!).  We are a very playful gang, and spend a lot of time, energy and money to do so.  

So my playful friend, let’s make a deal you and I... let’s play all the time.  Are you a lawyer, a janitor, a teacher, a stay at home dad?  Good, let’s play!  I have done extensive research (aka watching a few TED talks) into the power of play and have pulled out a few actionable points related to the power of play.

  1. Prioritize play   
  2. Find the hook
  3. Gametize it!
  4. Try something new (Play Fresh)
  5. Play with others

In the next blog segment we will dive into each of these points to help us architect a more playful life.  Feel free to share your comments, stories and ideas with us in the comments section below.

Thank you very much for supporting Essential Wipes.  Our heartfelt hope is to support you in playing fresh, feeling clean and sparkly even after downclimbing in the dark.