Have a Sense of Freedom — Find Personal Value



Play is first and foremost an expression of freedom. When you Play, you have a choice: you can decide at any given moment whether you take part in it or quit. Play cannot be coerced.

The greater your sense of freedom is, the more Playful you are regardless of the nature of the activity you are engaged with. Even in the context of the most serious tasks and critical projects — when you feel you are acting freely out of your own choice, you naturally adopt a more Playful mindset, and with it, you become more creative.

Freedom and choice are not objective concepts. They are tightly-coupled with how you perceive what you are doing. When you see the value in what we do — especially if you acknowledge a personal value — it becomes your choice. Any activity can become more Playful, and therefore more creative if you identify its value.

When you manage to connect what you do (even the things objectively forced upon you) to your inner goals, aspirations, and values, you gain a sense of freedom. You really do have freedom. No matter what is the nature of the task, you know you have a choice.

actionable steps

If you are deeply connected with the predefined goals from which your activities are derived, focus on them. If you are not…

Decouple the objective, external goals from the actions you have to perform to achieve them. Find either short-term or long-term personal value in every task and activity.

Aim for a really personal and intrinsic value (as opposed to extrinsic value like receiving a bonus or a good evaluation).

Deconstruct activities to make it easier to find the value they might have for you. Tweak them where possible to increase their value.


Example 1

A couple of years ago, I started to use Grammarly. What started as a tool for identifying grammar mistakes soon turned every email I wrote into a mini English lesson. The task of writing emails suddenly had a value beyond just communicating with whoever I was writing to. Every minute I spent writing emails became an investment in myself — in developing my skills — on top of the objective goal of that activity.

related practices

Attribution and Inspiration

  • Inspired by the definition of Play by Peter Gray

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