Children are naturally disposed to play enthusiastically. There are some surprising benefits to recapturing that spontaneous and enthusiastic disposition.

We’re big fans of TED talks and every once in a while we stumble on one that speaks to our hearts. Such was the case with this one by André Stern from at the 2015 TEDx Dijon. Here’s what resonated for us.

  • Playing is Learning. Neurobiologists can show that we learn best when we play. So, kids (who don’t know the difference between playing and learning until we tell them there is a difference) continuously learn as they play. We can too if we value play, if we recognize that playing is important for us to learn and advance as individuals.
  • Enthusiasm is Brain Fuel. When we are enthusiastic about a subject, we learn faster then when we are not. Because we’ve been trained that ‘learning’ is not playing, it’s hard for us to get enthusiastic about it. That’s why kids (and adults) learn things they’re enthusiastic about (texting, video games, hockey) than the do things they are told are in the realm of learning (reading, math, science). When we can get enthusiastic about things, we learn faster – and frankly, we have more fun and are happier.
  • The World Can be Scary or Full of Opportunity. We have a tendency to fear the outside world and all the threats that lay there but when we don’t go out and interact with it, we lose the opportunity for spontaneity, play and enthusiasm. Without those, we miss out on the best opportunity to learn and grow.
  •  Spontaneous Play & Enthusiasm is Important. When we embrace these dispositions that children are born with – the capacity to play enthusiastically in the real world – we reconnect with ourselves and put ourselves in a position to be happier and more engaged in the world. We gain a new perspective.

There are a lot more juicy nuggets of insight in this video, so we encourage you to watch.

How will you recapture your childlike spontaneous disposition?  Here’s an exercise that might help.

ENTHUSIASM EXERCISE

1) Go out into the world. It doesn’t have to be far, it could be just around the corner.

2) Walk and count ten things you notice. Tree. Car. Neighbour Waving. etc. Of those then things, which one stirred a sense of curiosity? Which one could be be most excited to learn more about?

3) Go back to that ‘most interesting thing’ and get enthusiastic about it. Celebrate its intricacies, wonder over it’s origin, how it works, ask questions if you can but mostly observe and revel in what this thing means in the world. Get enthusiastic. Channel that inner child. Do this for at least 5 minutes. Repeat as needed.

Share how it made you feel on our any of our social media channels. We’re enthusiastically awaiting your story!

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