We are coming up on the end of our series based on Gretchen Rubin's Nine Paradoxes to Contemplate as You Consider Your Happiness Project. Today we are going to look at number eight: Play can be work and work can be play.
The core of this paradox is really the idea of what energizes us. For me this most often comes from solving problems and finding inspiration. This can strike in both work and play.
For example I love to game, I enjoy putting the story together and telling it and seeing how my players react. I don't like all the little fiddly bits were I have to get stuff down on paper that lines up with the rules. This is boring and when it happens my play really does become work.
The same is true when we find inspiration in our jobs. When we can wake up energized and say I am going to do this at the office today or at school today it is no longer just a job, no longer just work.
The transformative element here as I said is inspiration. The defining element then is necessity. The things that are work are the things we are required to do to survive. Most often they are put upon us by other people, a boss, a teacher, a client.
The rewards that come from both play and work are worth the effort to get us through the times when it is not inspiring. We take this for granted when we consider work, for that matter we expect to be bored and disheartened going to work. But we often let the work of play stop us from enjoying our selves. Many times I have pushed through the barriers of adventure prep and found myself sitting at the table with friends laughing and joking and glade I did the work.
On the other hand do not be afraid to find the play in your work. Even on the boring days there are tasks and activities that we enjoy more than others. For our happiness we need to find ways to cultivate these aspects of our jobs.
This has been part seven of a series based In case you have missed the others here they are:
- Accept myself, but expect more of myself.
- Take myself less seriously—and take myself more seriously
- Push myself to use my time efficiently, yet also make time to play, to wander, to read at whim, to fail.
- Strive to be emotionally self-sufficient so I can connect better with other people.
- Keep an empty shelf, and keep a junk drawer.
- Think about myself so I can forget myself.
- Remember that control and mastery are key elements of happiness; and so are novelty and challenge.