Historically, work has been considered drudgery. It didn’t need to be fun. In fact, if it appeared as though you were
having fun, it was generally assumed that you weren’t being very productive! 

Many of us have found, and Dan Pink has validated, that the opposite is
true. People work harder and are more
creative when they’re having fun (some would argue they’re even healthier)!

In A
Whole New Mind
, Dan Pink discusses
three elements of play: Games, Humor, and Joyfulness. 

“For a generation of people, games have become a tool for solving
problems as well as a vehicle for self-expression and self-exploration”, Dan
Pink. Games are interactive stories –
and we’ve already discussed how
valuable stories can be
. Games allow
you to learn about an environment, strategize ways to be successful in that
environment, and then execute your plan. Often unexpected events occur along the way and you need to revise your
plan on the fly. Sound a little like

Another element of play is humor. What I find remarkable about humor is that it’s a form of intelligence
that greatly parallels innovation. Often
something is funny because it’s not what you expect.  Think
of every joke or pun where it’s the double meaning of a statement or an unexpected
outcome that causes it to be funny. Innovation
and humor both seem to rely on an ability to combine existing concepts in new
and different ways, a very important Concept

It’s also fun! I love what Dan
says about joyfulness – “Happiness is conditional – Joyfulness in

Aside from learning new skills, games and humor bring us joy! Add in relationships (as Dan notes, “we
rarely laugh alone”) and you’ve got a pretty healthy start at being
joyful. And joyful people tend be
creative, successful working in teams, and adept at diffusing unproductive conflict.  

Some of the exercises Dan recommends to enhance your play are: the
cartoon captions game (writing your own captions to cartoons), rating yourself
on a humor scale (Dr. James Thorson has an
online tool
for this), and, of course, playing some video games!

As is the case with all of the sense we’re covering, Dan writes a whole
chapter on play and covers many points that I can’t in 400 words or less! It’s worth reading.

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