#525 Work or Play?

Masters in the Art of Living Dissolve the (Apparent) Dichotomy

In our last +1, we talked about W.H. Auden’s (genius) quip that routine, in an intelligent person, is a sign of ambition. (I laugh with joy every time I type that.)

Then we did a quick check in on your ambition. And, hopefully, we dialed it up a notch and made sure that your routines were reflecting that strong desire to Optimize and actualize in service to your family, community and world.

Today I want to talk about work and play.

A lot of people think those two things are separate.

I think you’re doing it wrong if your work ISN’T play.

Abraham Maslow would agree. He once said that one of the hallmarks of self-actualizing people is that they get to a place where “apparent dichotomies” are dissolved. In Motivation and Personality, he has a chapter in which he describes the “19 Characteristics of the Self-Actualizer.”

Check out the Notes for a super-quick look at all 19 of those self-actualizer characteristics.

For now, know this: The 19th characteristic of self-actualizers is their “Resolution of Dichotomies.” For example, he tells us: “The dichotomy between selfishness and unselfishness disappears altogether in healthy people because in principle every act is both selfish and unselfish.”

Another dichotomy that dissolves for self-actualizers?

The dichotomy between work and play.

What happens when work IS play? And when play IS work?

Well, then you get a statement like this from author James Michener in his autobiography: “The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him, he’s always doing both.”

That’s the way to roll.

Here’s to mastering the art of living.

Let’s have fun writing the rules to the game that is our lives and then playing it with all the joy and intensity and excellence we can muster—letting others decide whether we’re working or playing.

For us, we’re always doing both.

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