Archive for the ‘PLAY Mindset’ Category

You can check out the Survival cycle and Fulfillment cycles here.

Now onward and upward!

The tool that turns a Survival cycle into a Fulfillment cycle is what I call the PLAY Mindset™. As stated in the last post on the Fulfillment cycle, the mindset isn’t about Leisure or recreation. It’s a set of skills that we are born with, and as children we used these tools to discover our world. Since a child’s work is called play,  at some point we started to believe that the mindset and skills of a child weren’t applicable for us as adults. I would like to argue that, if we refine them, they are applicable and they very much have the power to create a successful, fulfilling life.

So what are the tools and what do they look like?

Well, if you have seen a spark of yourself in either of the last two posts, you have taken the first step toward a PLAY Mindset™.

Awareness: Dr. Ellen Langer, a Play Mindsetsocial psychologist who studies mindlessness and mindfulness, states that all we need to do to become more mindful is to notice something new. Read more from Dr. Langer here
–>Auto-pilot to Present

Non-Judgment: The basic action of non-judgment is the act of removing “shoulds” from any awareness and then  move to critiquing the objective and not the personal.
–>Fear to Compassion

Accept: It is, what it is. As in, if you’re stuck in traffic, you’re stuck in traffic. If there are dirty dishes, there are dirty dishes. Wishing for something different doesn’t change the fact of what is. Can you take a deep breath and see it.
–>Blame to Balance

Personal Responsibility: This is my very favorite one! The only thing in this world you have control over is yourself. Start and finish here. What is your role in this play (the dirty dishes, the stuck in traffic) and how do you wish to change your part to change your world.
–>Victim to Power

Curiosity: the power of “what if”, and “what don’t I know here”, “what can I learn”, “how can I see this differently”
–>Closed-off to Possibility

Vision: “What do I want”, “What do I value”, “Who do I want to be”, “How do I want to grow”
–>Dwelling to Belief

Choice: This is all about taking action. “What steps WILL I take to get from this moment to where I want to be.”
–>Drifting to Decision/action

Unknown/Discomfort: How can this be a tool?  This is about the embrace or rejection of the unknown and discomfort. When you embrace these you build excitement. When you reject them you create anxiety. Why? Because, both discomfort and the unknown are universal in our lives, you can reject discomfort and the unknown but they are still there; much like gravity. How you use and embrace discomfort and the unknown determines your life as a whole.
–>Anxiety to Excitement

Want to learn more? Have any thoughts or questions so far?

Yesterday I wrote about the Survival Cycle, and if you’re human, you’ve been in this cycle. It’s a part of having a mind and living this life. Everyone steps into the Survival Cycle in some aspect of his or her life every now and again. The problems with the Survival Cycle happen when it’s the only cycle you know. If you stay in this cycle too long you can fall into hate and resentment or worse apathetic depression. If the past equals the future and you aren’t living in your life, what’s the point? This is a dangerous place to live and it’s important to recognize the cycle before apathy sets in.

So, what is on the other side of the Survival Cycle?

If the Survival cycle is habit driven and past focused then the counterpart, in my mind, is living each day while making your life and circumstances better and better. I call this the Fulfillment cycle.

So, what are the characteristics of the Fulfillment Cycle?fulfillment_Cycle

 Present -> This is the act of noticing what is happening in your life, right now. What do you feel, what are your senses telling you? Being present is the act of stepping out of the story in your head and seeing what is happening right this minute.

Compassion -> If you are fully engaged in your day, you are more capable of knowing what’s happening around you and being compassionate with yourself, your circumstances and others. You’re less likely to project a story and more likely to take in what is actually happening. “Oh, that kid is crying in the store and that mom is drawing a great boundary.”   “I didn’t get enough sleep last night and I’m being a bit forgetful and short tempered, I need to take care of myself.”

Balance -> By seeing the world around you more clearly and by breathing into compassion for yourself and others, there is a settling and relaxation that occurs. You see where you currently are in your day, your relationship, and your life. In this place you feel an openness and freedom.

Power -> When you are in the moment and feeling open, you feel the power to take control of your actions. “Yes, I’m tired AND I don’t have to react to other people negatively.” “I can create what I want for myself.” “I will tell people ‘no’ and be kind doing it.” “I can smile at that mother and child who are having a tough day.”

Possibility -> When you feel compassion and power, all of a sudden there are more possibilities you can grab a hold of, options you can take, and ways of being that can change your direction.

Belief -> All of these possibilities start to show you that you are not your past. You start to see your value, what you WANT to be, and where you can grow and build new things. Your beliefs become more forward thinking. You aren’t stuck; you are building your life.

Decision -> With possibility and the belief that new things are possible, you feel empowered to make new (sometimes bold, sometimes baby step) decisions. These decisions slowly build, and you start to notice how the world and others show up for you differently. You are creating new circumstances!

Excitement -> Decisions don’t always work out. However, with the knowledge of possibility and your expanding belief in your growth, your excitement builds. Decisions aren’t right or wrong; they turn into learning experiences and stepping-stones to what you want and who you are becoming.

From excitement the cycle continues on again.

So how do you get into the Fulfillment Cycle?

For me, the Fulfillment Cycle is created by what I call the PLAY Mindset™…

I know, “play” can be a word that gives a motivated or stressed out person pause. I mean, who has time to play when there is so much that needs to be done?

Stick with me here. When I say PLAY I’m not talking about recreation or leisure, and I’m not talking directly about playful action. I’m talking about a set of skills we’ve always had, that as adults we abandon for stress and worry. I’m talking about a purposeful mindset that supports a person in creating success AND fulfillment. It’s my way of getting out of the Survival Cycle and into a purposeful, meaningful Fulfillment Cycle.

Stay tuned for more on the PLAY Mindset™ and the tools that help create Fulfillment…


Do you ever feel like you are in this cycle?Survival_cycle

Auto-pilot -> having the same thoughts, feelings and actions that have really become habitual. Some patterns you chose others are unconscious.

Fear -> a feeling that something is off and it’s unknown so you can’t do anything about it and no one else seems to be doing anything about it either… Is my relationship ok? Will I be fired or laid off from work? Am I a good parent?

Blame -> since you don’t know, it’s easy to move to blame. Blaming others, blaming circumstances, blaming your self for not being better or smarter.

Victim -> When you feel fear and start to blame, where else can you go but to a place of the victim. Why won’t someone help me? I have to do everything alone. I am alone. The world is against me.

Closed-off -> So when there isn’t anyone on your team it’s time to protect yourself and build walls for protection.

Dwell -> in a closed-off position, without any real feedback, but your own auto-pilot story, you dwell on what’s NOT working and who’s to blame, creating even more worry and stress

Drift -> since the focus is on the past and you are running on auto pilot you tend to drift through your days. Flowing on the current of your current circumstances whether they are good or bad.

Anxiety -> since you are focused on the past and drifting through your present circumstances, the future very much looks like the past or even worse than where you are currently. What if you lose that job? And then the cycle continues.

Can you see the cycle in an aspect of your life (big or small, one area or many areas)?

This is why we like Vacations… Auto-pilot must go offline and something shifts even if only for a moment or during vacation.

What if there were a tool, that each individual possesses and can cultivate, to break the cycle?

If this is a Survival cycle, what does a Fulfillment cycle look like?

stay tuned…