Play! Play! and More Play!

Today was a red-letter day for me. Weighed in on the Wii Fit Plus at 233! This is the fittest I have been since I can’t remember when. My secret? Well of course it means eating less, but for me that has simply been smaller helpings, healthy snacks and avoiding sugared drinks. But the key is exercise, and the key to exercise, for me at least, is play! Tell me to jog in place for 10 minutes. After 3, I’m done. But put me on an imaginary bicycle and send me around an imaginary island looking for flags, and I’m in! Tell me to exercise my upper body for three minutes and I’m not going to do it, but put me on my Wii for Bird’s Eye Bull’s Eye, and I’ll do it over and over.

Now don’t get me wrong, this is not an advertisement for Wii. It just happens that Wii is my exercise of choice, given my situation. In the past, I have lost weight playing racquet ball and other games. The point is, play makes it easier to do what you need to do. Exercise as fun is much more productive than exercise as a chore. (I realize this is not true for everyone. I know several people who do exercise for the sake of exercise, and I think that is great. It’s just that for me play makes it easier.)

Not long ago, I discussed Matt Weinstein’s book, Work Like Your Dog. In the book, Matt makes the point that dogs don’t distinguish work from play and suggests ways to make your work fun.

Then sometimes, play is just play. Last Saturday my son and daughter-in-law hosted their annual “Sci-Fi-Fish-Fry,” where they invited their friends to come and celebrate science fiction. Many, including most of the children came in costume.

Of course at Laugh2Learn, we believe that play is an important component of learning. But whatever its purpose, everyone needs to play!

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Work Like A Dog!

At the recent Applied Improvisation Network conference in Baltimore, I had the privilege of meeting Matt Weinstein, and heard him elaborate a bit on his book, Work Like Your Dog. One of the things that impressed me most is that dogs don’t distinguish between work and play. It made me think about a recent visit to Alaska where we watched training Alaskan Huskies. I was amazed by the absolute joy they displayed at the sight of the harness.

Sled Dogs

They were literally leaping for joy! Can you imagine what it would feel like to approach work with that attitude? Can you imagine working with colleagues that had that attitude? If you take another look at Matt’s book, you may find some ways to at least come close.

My Dog, Rufus, Listening

Matt also noted that dogs have many other desirable characteristics. For example, they listen intently, even when they don’t understand a word you say.

At laugh2learn, I have developed a new improv based game to help people learn to listen like a dog. If you’d like more information, let me know.

Finally, I’d like to hear from you. What other canine traits should we humans try to emulate? Do you think we can, or are there some ways dogs will always be superior?