I used to play all the time.
In fact, I was addicted to playing. All I thought and talked about was about playing.
Before video games entered my life, I was only drawn to outdoor and indoor games.
When I started playing video games, nothing was better than the feeling of make-believe and adventure.
I was hooked.
So much so that I could not study during my school time. At school, I would talk about video games with my friends. At home, I would play video games most of the time and when I tried to study, I could not focus because all I could think about was video games.
I did not realize how much addicted I was. It was not only destroying my academic life; it was also influencing my social life.
A few years later, when it was time for college, I enrolled in a game design course because games had become my passion.
As college started, I found the study of games fascinating. I could finally take an interest in the studies.
But as the study of games became my work, I stopped playing.
Then, I was hooked on learning.
Even when I played games, I played them to study them. I rarely played games for leisure.
All my focus was gaining as much knowledge as possible.
Later, I realized that learning and working are two different things. To convert knowledge into wisdom, learning has to be balanced with implementation.
Being a content consumer helped my life so much until I needed to take responsibility for my life. I had to practice skills instead of endlessly learning about them.
Then, there was a time in my life when I stopped playing and learning because I had too many items on my to-do list. I thought I was not ‘productive’ enough.
I’ve experienced extreme play, extreme learning, and extreme work. Like my past self, most people spend their lives in either of the three states.
Kids are given full freedom to play. Young people are told to study until they find a job and adults are supposed to work until retirement.
This system may have worked in the past but it’s not sustainable anymore.
Today, an average person is deprived of play, curiosity, and creativity.
Lack of play leads to stress and depression. Lack of curiosity leads to plateau and mediocrity. Lack of creativity leads to addictions and dissatisfaction.
If you’re reading this, chances are that you want more from life. You want to live a good life filled with growth and peace.
“The opposite of play isn’t work. It’s depression.” — Jane McGonigal
Kids play with zero worries in mind.
As we become adults, play is replaced by work. You learn that you need to make money. You need to become successful. You need to take responsibilities.
All that is true. But, it does not mean the end of play.
Play is essential. Play brings fun to life. It eliminates negative thoughts, stress, and anxiety. It improves relationships. It keeps you young and creative.
So many adults these days are play deprived. They burn out because of workaholism. They don’t take time to rest their mind and recharge their soul.
We are only humans and we need spaces of unproductive times in our life. Staying ‘on’ all the time is a recipe for disaster. It leads to low willpower and motivation when we need it the most.
However, if you schedule spaces of unproductive or play time, you will come back disciplined and focused when you need it during the time of work.
Life is not all about accomplishing big goals. Learn from children. They show us how being happy looks like.
So, take some time out and play for a while.
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi
The old times are gone.
Before, you could stick to one job without the fear of losing it if you kept doing average work.
Today, the world is changing at the fastest rate than ever before. The theory of evolution says that we need to adapt to the changes in order to survive.
So, you must stay up to date with the new tools and become a student over and over again.
Become a beginner and follow the pursuit of lifelong learning to excel at work and life.
Lifelong learning keeps your brain active and curious. It helps you to learn new skills or improve your current skillsets. It can take your personal and professional life to the next level.
Learning once, twice or thrice is not enough.
I don’t know about you but I don’t remember 95% of what was taught to me in school.
Learning happens when repetition happens. We can’t expect to see results if we keep consuming content without repeated practice or learning.
Our subconscious takes time before it can digest information.
Create short summaries or notes when you learn something and use them to revisit the main concepts. Also, you can consume the work of other people on the same topic to get new and fresh perspective.
“Your work is to discover your work, and then with all your heart, to give yourself to it.” — Buddha
If you want to make a living by doing something you love, you must become a creator. And if you love your work, it can be the source of fulfilment in life.
But if we don’t let creative habits be the source of dopamine production in our brains, we can become addicted to unhealthy habits.
It has become so easy to consume drugs, smoke, alcohol, junk food, porn, etc. It leads people to use addictions to produce dopamine in their brain whenever they want. And then, they need more of the same behavior to produce the same level of dopamine.
To escape the addiction cycle, learn to express and become a creator.
Creating and expressing are the best things you can do to serve your audience and your soul.
When you do creative work, you don’t need external motivation, apps or tactics to stay on track. You do the work because that’s your home.
Creating crappy content is easy. But masterpieces are the result of play, learning, and devoted work.
My best work comes out when there’s a balance between play, learning, and work in my life.
If I skip one of the three, my life falls out of balance. At the same time, I make sure I don’t overindulge in any of the three.
What’s one thing that is lagging in your life? Or are you overindulging?
I’m lacking some play in my life and I’m probably consuming more content than I need to create balance in my life.
What about you?
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Originally published at medium.com