Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sophy's UNDO List

When I woke up this morning, I took one look at my TO-DO LIST and gasped

Christmas shopping, wrap presents, send out Christmas Cards, teach, email colleagues, research, take the pets to the vet, file a report, do laundry, pick-up last minute gifts, go to post office, drop by the grocery store, deliver toys to children's hospital... the list goes on.

There must be a way to reduce 
all the stuff on our TO-DO lists into 
a much smaller 

Here's how...

We're all naturally born to play! Playing is instinctive and fundamental to our sense of well-being. It helps us thrive, not just survive. When we're thriving, we naturally want to connect to others, to sources of endless delight (energie), and to the excitement within ourselves. 

Playing is a source of simultaneous calmness (sheer laziness) and relaxation (smart laziness). Playing stimulates the brain and the body. Playfulness helps us be more inventive, flexible, and resilient. Playing is a fun way to expand your imagination, creativity, and natural problem solving-abilities. 

Playing improves our mental health, which in turn, positively affects our relationships with our romantic partners, coworkers, children, grandchildren, and friends. 

Most people describe play as a time when they feel most alive, yet we often take it for granted or de-prioritize it. Playing isn't a luxury, it's a necessity. It's just as important as getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising. 

Playing teaches us how to manage and transform "negative" emotions into positive experiences. If you don't believe me, try having a bad day while simultaneously jumping on a trampoline. 

Playing supercharges our learning, it relieves stress, and connects us to others and the world around us. Playing is exploring. 

Even at the office, playing makes work more productive and pleasurable. People get more things done. 

Despite the many benefits of playing, somewhere between childhood and adulthood, many of us quit playing. We exchange playing for playing "grown-up".  When we do have leisure time, we pull out our TO-DO lists and frantically rush around running errands, paying bills, or organizing our houses. Like the saying goes, "No one dies and says that they wish they had cleaned their house more." 

Giving yourself permission to play allows you to zone out of the blah, blah, blah, to the land of fa, la, la, la, la, and ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, and ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, and he, he, he, he, he, and weeeeeeeeeee! 

We primarily learn through sensory (seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, smelling) and motor exploration as well as through social interaction. In the interest of survival, exploration is presumably an evolved behavior that enables us to gain an understanding about an object or our environment.

Intrinsic exploration is exploring for the sake of exploring. Activities such as playing and imaginative behavior are intrinsic because they're not about survival, there's no clear external reward offered.

Extrinsic exploration is when you think there's a reward awaiting you. It's like employing creativity to answer a question in an employment interview with the only aim being getting the job.

Inspective exploration, which is aimed at reducing uncertainty. An animal placed in a novel environment is likely to display this behavior in order to analyze the new situation, and to gain comfort by assessing escape routes, danger levels, etc.

Diversive exploration is stimulus/sensation seeking. This is usually something we do to raise arousal or alleviate boredom. (Wohlwill, 1981). 

Affective exploration is hedonic in nature, it has to do with exploring sensations that are naturally pleasant. For kids, this is playing just for the joy of it. For adults, it might be mental explorations, such as filling out a crossword puzzle or playing a game of Sudoku. 

The reticular arousal system (RAS) is associated with alertness or intensity of attention (curiosity). When the RAS is injured, lethargy generally follows. Its activation, on the other hand, gives rise to arousal patterns - alpha waves are replaced with faster, more irregular EEG activity. During exploration, heavy RAS activity is present. RAS activation has also been associated with heightened sensitivity of the eyes, and our ability to distinguish between objects more quickly and accurately (Fuster, 1957). 

Kids are bundles of curiosity. They instinctively want to understand the world around them. Being aware of our own needs for exploration can positively enhance our lives resulting in increased productivity levels. Intellectual curiosity is the highest rated motivating factor for most people today.


Discovery is defined as finding, locating, uncovering, unearthing, realizing, recognizing, disclosing, inventing, originating, devising, and pioneering. 

A discovery is an invention, a breakthrough, or an innovation. 

Throughout history, small groups of people have striven for greatness in their fields of exploration. In the sciences, philosophy, art and music, business, social interactions, and spirituality. These are the people who are the main driving force in the evolution of humanity. 

How do they do it? 

Hideo Nakamura said that:
Industrious people create industry. 
Lazy people create civilization. 

Discovery increases our sense of fulfillment. It allows us to actualize our potential. Playing and exploring lead to relaxed, self-actualized people who are happier, more fulfilled, and more ambitious. These individuals tend to have better relationships, and live life with more peak experiences, such as: love, joy, bliss, spiritual connection and creativity. 

The human potential movement is not confined to archaic ties (being born into a wealthy or powerful family, having strong genetic influences, etc.). Today, more and more people from all walks of life are learning how to empower themselves to become more self-directed. They're the ones who are actively playing, exploring, and discovering more about themselves and the world. 

Taking time to play, explore, and discover can help you eliminate the superfluous tasks from your standard To-Do list, in order to take the time to discover your own unique potential and purpose in life. 

Everyone wants to make a difference...
Give yourself the opportunity to do so.


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