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Working harder to get ahead isn't the answer, so what is?

Updated: Nov 4, 2022

Q: I run my own company and am trying to play a bigger game. There have been many challenges and it’s been a lot more work than I anticipated. Any suggestions on how I can make this easier?

A: I couldn’t help notice you used the word game in your question and I’d be curious to know if you are looking at growing your company as a game or as work? People often say “this isn’t a game we are playing, it’s real work”. I would challenge that statement and suggest that approaching work as if it was a game will get you better results with greater fulfillment.

A pioneer in research on play, Dr. Stuart Brown, founder of the US National Institute for Play, writes, “Play is anything but trivial. It is a biological drive as integral to our health as sleep. Play is essential to develop social skills, adult problem solving skills and intelligence. We are designed by nature to flourish through play. There is strong evidence to support when people approach work as a game or play, there are better outcomes in terms of productivity and motivation.”

It’s the difference between a “work” mentality and a “play” mentality. When you are “working” on something, the object is to get it done. When you play at something the object is to get a result, get better at doing it and enjoy it.

In terms of the challenges you mentioned – players embrace challenge, workers resist challenges because they delay completing the task. Players embrace challenges because they make the game interesting.

Start looking at your business as if you are playing a game you feel is worth winning. Like any game, the key is finding the balance between being challenging and winnable.

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