“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” ~ Albert Einstein
It has never been more important to play. In fact, play is the new work. To boost our mental and emotional health, many of us have an opportunity to embrace a new spaciousness of life at home, by creating new ways to enjoy our lives and each other. Engaging creatively in play lifts us up to transcend anxiety, worry and even grief in the midst of this uncertain time. Creatively managing our time brings the freedom to pace ourselves, finding a new balance of work and leisure.
In your heart of hearts, are you a painter, a writer, a dancer, a videographer, an app developer? People are making videos for social media and having zoom gathering parties. They’re learning how to dance, sew and cook. Some are making podcasts, teaching and taking online courses, and reading books they have wanted to read and books to enlighten them on current issues such as racial justice and politics.
Creativity Helps You to Enjoy Your Children
If you have children at home, as challenging as it is to be together 24/7, this is also a chance to focus your attention on them as never before, to follow their lead, gaze at clouds and stars, explore the outdoors. It would be a shame to succumb to the paralyzing isolation of individual screens, when playing together can open up new delights. Build a fort inside and then when it’s time, have them race to put everything back as fast as possible. Even chores can be fun with a playful attitude.
Creating a routine with boundaries around time for learning, working, cleaning, alone time, quiet time and playtime, gives a happy and more peaceful shape to the day. This also allows you to carve out a time to be creative.
Creativity Inspires Joy
Play is essential to our mental health as we are marooned at home. But even play is undergoing dramatic change. We can no longer gather for live theater, concert performances, or baseball games, or even go to the movies. Nor can we get live instruction classes. Clubs, sports, hobbies all require a new way of thinking with social distance in mind. Families are posting countless videos on social media of backyard zip lines and mini-olympic courses, dances and other forms of play, and lots of laughing babies. They are getting outside to enjoy the beauties of nature, finding new ways to enjoy leisure time. Play helps us to be whole, happy, and connected.
“Change is the constant, the signal for rebirth, the egg of the phoenix.” - Christina Baldwin, author, Calling the Circle: the First and Future Culture
Creativity Is Redefining Success
At a virtual graduation ceremony Steven Spielberg was asked to respond to a young man asking how to move forward with his dreams when the world doesn’t support them. Spielberg said: “One of the things this moment is teaching us is that truly anything is possible. It will be imagination and innovation that gets us all to the other side.”
This is a time for re-imagining solutions, as we realize we may never return to business as usual and that, in fact, we are required to create a whole new world. We have the chance, indeed the necessity, to rethink everything -- not only play, but our work habits, and a reset of how society functions: the entrenched inequities of our economy, the greed-induced destruction of our fragile planet, and how we communicate with each other.
Creativity plays a critical role in the workplace. A survey by IBM of more than 1,500 chief executive officers resulted in consensus: Creativity was ranked as the number one factor for future business success — above management discipline, integrity, and even vision.
How we lead will require more compassion, vulnerability and empathy. Examples of success redefined in new, more holistic business models are Patagonia and Chobani Yogurt. The clothing industry generates 92 million tons of waste per year. Patagonia, seeking to sustain the planet, buys back their clothes to resell or redesign, or will repair them for free. Hamdi Ulukayam, CEO of Chobani Yogurt, has developed a “new playbook for CEOs” where people matter more than profits. He speaks of nobility, happiness, dignity, gratitude, and community, honors employees with profit-sharing, and built a Little League baseball field for a town where one of his factories is located. Chobani is #1 in yogurt sales.
The spirit of entrepreneurship is thriving! New initiatives reflect purpose guided by compassion and social conscience. Virtually every business sector is reimagining how to provide goods and services. Here are some innovations taking place:
Creativity as a Calling
As you play with possibilities, you may well discover a new way to earn a living. Many who have had to work from home are realizing that they may never return to the office, the plant, or the road, and some realize they don’t even want to. This may well be a time to dream up new and possibly more engaging ways to work. When we bring joy to work, there’s no distinction between our work and our play.
We may also feel the need to ask, what am I called to create at this defining moment? What matters in life? What part of positive change do I want to be? What are my passions? And what action can I take to make a difference with my life? While we navigate this crisis, let us not give in to hopeless lethargy, but use our lives to change the world.
“If you want to view paradise
Simply look around and view it
Anything you want to, do it
Want to change the world?
There's nothing to it”
Lyrics to Pure Imagination, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
Authors: Linda Kavelin-Popov and David Feldman
Linda Kavelin-Popov is a psychotherapist and hospice spiritual care doula. She is co-founder of The Virtues Project, endorsed by The Dalai Lama and the United Nations. She has authored seven books, translated into several languages. She was named a “Cultural Creative” by Time Magazine.
Dave Feldman is an entrepreneur, community builder, thought leader and international speaker. He co-founded several social entrepreneurial ventures including: Virtues Matter, developer of the Virtues Cards app; Livability Project, a sustainability consultancy; and Media4Green, an environmental content producer.