Do what you like and like what you do!

There are quite a few Schools of thought when it comes to the perfect work-life/home-life/play-life combo. Some people believe that there’s a real balancing act between them, and others may care less whether they’re served shaken OR stirred, but are 100% POSITIVE that they DO go together. I believe that the stance of this particular group, as a whole, sees blurring the lines, as the goal.

This subject is something that I’m sure crosses the hearts and minds of most Gen X, Y, and Z’ers in their career pursuits. Way back in the day, it was very common for a trade to be handed down to the next generation without question. A baker might teach their offspring to bake, carpenters may introduce woodworking to their young, and so on and so on. Of course it was not a hard and fast rule, it was just a very common practice. Was everyone “Stoked” to be carrying the baton that they were handed? I wouldn’t think so.

As far as the possibility of enjoying every area of our lives, let’s do a little unboxing of the idea ourselves. And please keep an open mind, because we’re going to go on a little ride through a handful of interesting comparisons. 

As some of you know, I’m a HUGE believer in the concept of use it or lose it, cuz oddly or not so oddly enough, the damn phrase seems to have found its way into my life as of late. Is that odd? Nah, I don’t think so. I’m just old, and it’s something that the venerable are made VERY aware as we.. mature. I think Stephen King said it best in his Novella “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption”: “I guess it comes down to a simple choice really…Get busy livin’ or Get busy dyin.”

(Most of us probably remember that line as being the turning point for Andy Dufresne, played by Tim Robbins, in the film “Shawshank Redemption”.)

Sure, I might be off just a bit by comparing doing life in the “Joint” to living a play-free existence, or am I? When we stop playing, a key component of our growth is diminished, and our decline begins. That sounds kind of awful, right? Thank God I’m not alone in this awareness. Yeah, it’s a thing.

I challenge you to be mindful of the Joy that you’re bringing to the table each and every day…

I challenge you to be mindful of the Joy that you’re bringing to the table each and every day, and rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 on how much you physically played in the previous 24 hour period. I double dog dare you. Increase it each day, and then start commenting on this entry. Even before fulfilling your self-appointed dream gig of “Grammar Cop”. What exactly are you infusing your day and your relationships with.           

More Play Better Stay

Studies have shown that even the lives of animals in the wild, showed improvement when their activities included more play. The actively playful animals created more neurons, lived longer, and showed significant signs of superior mental and physical vitality as they aged. It makes sense to me! I want to have a better stay here on the Big Blue Marble, so I think “Ima” keep it playful.  

When my son and I first started to train in Gracie Jiu Jitsu we had the opportunity to work with Rener and Ryron Gracie. These guys are both incredible BJJ practitioners, and genuinely some of the best human beings that we have ever met. They left a lasting impression on our lives for sure. We learned many things while “Rolling” (Sparring) with them, many of which extended beyond the mat. One of the fun and silly things that Ryron used to say all the time, was: “Keep it Playful dot com.” He just wanted to CONSTANTLY remind us not to lose our cool, because EVERY time we did, we would get depleted, and inevitably defeated.

And if you have ever been in a real fight, you already know this. (Yes, even If you are in great shape it’s still extremely taxing.) There are many chemicals flowing and colliding within us in these type of high stress situations. One minute things could be looking really good, and then in a matter of seconds you could end on the losing side of a “Rear Naked Choke” and the next thing you remember is waking up from a nap that you don’t even remember laying down for. 

Jiu Jitsu is not about being stronger or applying more torque. It’s about being smarter and staying close to your adversary. You roll with your fearful energy depleting cyclone of an opponent, until the opportunity presents itself to use their own strength against them, or take advantage of what they leave unguarded. When you watch a challenge between a Gladiator Style Streetfighter and an experienced Gracie JJ Practitioner, you’ll be able to see very quickly who is working and who is playing.

In Tai Chi, there is a wonderful reminder within the practice. The idea is that every morning when we awaken, we are afforded another opportunity to take a hold of the day, before it takes a hold of us. I’m working towards using a playful spirit in that interaction.

As far as Rener and Ryron, I could watch them spar for hours. It was like a symphony of dance, until a “Checkmate” submission was administered, and then it was a quick tap out-game over, and start again from that same position. Being Bros and training with their father (Rorion Gracie, a noted master of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) their grandfather (Grandmaster Helio Gracie) along with an even more extensive family line of BJJ fighters, it’s part of who they are. They have trained together for so many years that they are constantly trying to read each other, while seamlessly shifting from offense to defense and back again.

In this type of uncertainty, circumstances could change in an instant, (LIFE) but if you are aware enough, your preparation will leave you expecting nothing and ready for anything.

If you’re not too into blinking, a “set-up” may be observed while it’s happening, but for the most part, the untrained eye would never catch it. For teaching moments, they would stop, and literally do a live slow-motion instant replay. This would take us move by move, back through the twists and turns, until we spotted the mistake.  Albeit very infrequent, there were times when they attempted to implement a strategy, keeping them just a few steps ahead of the other, but in most cases they did not. In this type of uncertainty, circumstances could change in an instant, (LIFE) but if you are aware enough, your preparation will leave you expecting nothing and ready for anything. Remember, stalemates are possible, but regardless, the journey can be FUN, as well as enlightening. 

Gifts are Good

We all have things to contribute to the greater good, and using our individual skills to find our purpose is a common approach amongst many people. Some individuals may go to school to learn a new skill, with the hopes of becoming a leader in their field, while others consciously (and happily, I might add) choose to fly below the radar, while earning a humble living.

A different mob, may put in any work necessary to find and monetize, the sometimes illusive, “Sweet Spot” between their talent/s and what brings them joy. Aiming for a place in the world, that you alone are uniquely qualified for, can take some time to discover. That is of course, unless you decide to create it yourself. I’m positive that The “Entrepreneurially Gangster Minded” know exactly what I’m talkin’ about, as RISKS will definitely be required in such an endeavor.

I’ve watched kids’ hobbies turn into lucrative careers, and bizarre knacks, become the viral paths that lead to the million dollar sales of random product “X”. Let’s take a look at some of our Social Media Wiz-Kids for a sec. They seem to be able to navigate fifty separate platforms, while texting their friends, eating Hot Cheetos, and getting caught up on the hottest Netflix binge. It’s straight FIRE to watch, actually. And, as a dude that IS a Social Media Manager, it still kind of baffles me a little how awesome they can be. Some of them have a better flow than many Social Media Management Systems. With very little additional training, this talent pool can earn a great living helping businesses reach their target markets. That is, IF they can make peace with the fact that their once “fun and for free” amusement, could possibly become a little “Workee” at times.

The Natural Creatives 

Then, of course, there are our extremely gifted artist friends. You know the ones. The individuals that seem to possess an Artistic Midas Touch, of sorts. The kind that allows them to produce impressive art with pretty much any medium that they seem to lay their hands on. There are a multitude of words used to describe the innate qualities with which we are each individually endowed. These traits are unique to each one of our characters as well as our personal stories. They are the very attributes that have the ability to serve us, only by how we appropriately and generously use them to serve others. Abundance through enJOYable means can translate in many ways. There are Happy, Joyous, and Free Accountants and Pro Surfers, Lawyers and Private Island Caretakers. 

Any way you slice it, PLAY IS HELPFUL! It has the ability to shift us from an otherwise “Runaway Left Brain Train” that’s bound to dump us off in some kind of Stress Town, to a more creative, energetic, and open right brain perspective that’ll bring us playful compassion, and peace. It will very often be just the endorphin boost we need to suit up and show up for our everyday challenges. Most of us struggle with the emotions brought on by our boring routines as well as our self imposed limitations. “Play” MIXES things up. It takes us beyond what we think we are capable and is indispensable in our creative endeavors.

By design, my wife and I have a playful Work/Home/Family/Community/Date-life that we never need a vacation from (but we take em anyway). To make things even easier, we have chosen to dwell in places that tend to confuse most people as to exactly which we ARE doing, Playing or Working. Not tryna make anyone “Jelly” but, follow us on Social Media you’ll get the jist. 

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