What’s your personality — for play?
As I’ve worked on my happiness project, the importance of play has becoming increasingly apparent to me. For a happy life, it’s not enough to have an absence of bad feelings — we also need sources of good feelings.
For many adults, however, it’s surprisingly hard to know how to have more fun. If you don’t know what to do for fun, a good question to consider is: What did you do for fun when you were ten years old? Because that’s probably something you’d enjoy now, whether walking in the woods, playing with your dog, making things with your hands, taking pictures, playing basketball, or dancing around the living room. When I was ten years old, I spent hours copying my favorite quotations into “blank books” and illustrating the passages with pictures I cut from magazines. Exactly what I do on my blog!
Because of my interest in play, I couldn’t resist picking up Stuart Brown’s Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul.
I was particularly struck by Brown’s analysis of the question, “What is your play personality?” He makes clear that these categories aren’t scientifically based, but a product of his years of observation.
Where do you fit in these eight personalities?
1. The Joker — makes people laugh, plays practical jokes.
2. The Kinesthete — loves to move, dance, swim, play sports.
3. The Explorer — goes to new places, meets new people, seeks out new experiences (physically or mentally).
4. The Competitor — loves all forms of competition, has fun keeping score.
5. The Director — enjoys planning and executing events and experiences, like throwing parties, organizing outings, and leading.
6. The Collector — loves the thrill of collecting, whether objects or experiences.
7. The Artist/Creator — finds joy in making things, fixing things, decorating, working with his or her hands.
8. The Storyteller — loves to use imagination to create and absorb stories, in novels, movies, plays, performances.
What do you think? Does this accurately capture the different worlds of play?
I found it extremely helpful to see these categories, because it made clear some questions that have long mystified me. How is it possible that some people seem positively to enjoy planning big events? Why don’t I enjoy having a collection the way so many people do? Why don’t I much like playing cards or board games?
I am #8 through and through, with only a bit of #7. How about you? I wonder if some people have strong appreciation for more than a few categories, or if I’m typical, with a strong inclination for a single category.
From 2006 through 2014, as she wrote The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, Gretchen chronicled her thoughts, observations, and discoveries on The Happiness Project Blog.