There are a lot of us – a lot more than you’d guess – who are devoting our lives to helping to make the world a little more fun. Some of us are loud mouth performers – actors, clowns, speakers, writers, teachers, innovators, motivators – who spend enormous amounts of energy to lead people into play. Then there are artists and designers, scholars and philosophers, therapists, social workers, youth leaders, occupational and recreational therapists, playground leaders and designers, playworkers, nurses, clowns – all of whom, in their separate, self-invented ways, deeply devoted to the one, improbable purpose of making the world just a little more fun. Some are content to make just one person’s world more fun (and they are often the most effective). They joke with the cashier, smile at babies, or just walk around singing or humming – casting an aura of happiness that they may or may not be actually experiencing – just to make things fun. Others are not happy until they’ve made their entire neighborhood, their community, their companies, their culture more fun. Even if it’s only a little more fun. Many of them remain not so happy, not having made enough change, not having brought fun to enough people. And there are those of us who don’t even dare to think of what we do as professional. We play. We are playful. We like to make people smile. We like to help people have fun.
Thing is, we are, most of us, ignorant of each other’s efforts. Because of the way fun is, and the way our societies typically think fun is, and the way our professions or non-professions are so defined, so distinct. So we all think of ourselves as the only people who are fighting the good fight, so we all find ourselves confined to some obscure profession (hospital clowns, fun therapists, laughter leaders) or even more obscure corner of more recognized professions (caregiver, landscape architect, administrative assistant). So we don’t even recognize each other, don’t even realize that we are each totally devoted to bringing more fun to the world, to making some little part of world a little more fun. So we don’t learn from each other, we don’t share visions, tricks of the trade, hard-gained experiences, wisdom.
But what if we did? What if we really looked outside of chosen professions, of whatever path we have beaten or been beaten into taking? What if we recognized each other’s gifts, each other’s commitment, each other’s accomplishments? Might it just be possible that we could really succeed? Really make the world more fun? A lot?
A playful path is the shortest road to happiness.
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