The Power of Fun and Play

Photo by Ajith

Written by Raymond Salas

After a tough loss in my weekly softball game, my brother-in-law (who played on my team) went home where his daughter asked him “How was the game, Dad?”

“We lost. It was a tough one,” he replied.

She asked, “But, didn’t you have fun playing? The only reason to play softball is to have fun, right?”

Sage wisdom from the innocent mouths of babes…

It’s amazing how easy it is to forget this simple, yet powerful wisdom here. Sometimes, I have gotten so caught up in trying to win the “game” of life that I forgot that it is only game…and also forgot that the purpose of any game is to play and have fun. Nothing more.

“Everything exists for joy. There is not one other reason for life than joy. We’ve got nothing to prove to anyone, because nobody other than All-That-Is is watching. We’re not trying to get someplace else; we’re not trying to get it done, because there is no ending--we cannot get it done. Everything exists for the purpose of joy in the moment.” - Abraham-Hicks

Getting Serious About Fun and Play

Have you ever found yourself taking the actual goal of having more fun and play too seriously (just like your other goals)?

I know that I have. That’s right; I got too serious and focused about having fun. Nice! Kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?

This reminds me of a scene with Chevy Chase (as Clark W. Griswold) snapping at his family in the movie “National Lampoon’s Vacation”:

“Well, I'll tell you something, this is no longer a vacation . . . it's a quest! It's a quest for fun! I'm gonna have fun, and you're gonna have fun! We're all gonna have so much f***ing fun we'll need plastic surgery to remove our G**damn smiles! You'll be whistling Zip-a-dee-doo-da out of your a**holes!”

Yes, there are moments where I have lost my perspective and felt like Clark Griswold (“Let’s have some fun, dammit!”).

In this mindset, fun and play became just another goal or achievement to accomplish, another item on the “to-do” list or day planner.

After this happens, it has been helpful to remind myself that the primary purpose of playing anything, even the “game” of life, is to have fun.

"If it isn't any fun, why bother?" - Ben Howell Davis

Benefits of Fun and Play

Yes, fun and play have obvious benefits.

However, for me, the number one benefit for playing and having fun is that it feels sooooo good. As a result, we feel very happy. 

Other benefits of fun and play include:

  • Brings our focus into the present moment.
It is very difficult or nearly impossible to be truly having fun and playing and thinking about anything from the past or future.

  • Raises our conscious awareness and overall performance in any activity.
We can easily enter into the creative “flow” or “zone,” the one often experienced whenever playing sports or other highly focused activity.

  • We laugh easily and more often.

Laughter itself has many powerful benefits.

Benefits of Laughter

The benefits of laughter include:
  • Relieves or helps eliminate stress, tension, and inner resistance.
  • Relieves or helps eliminate anxiety.
  • Relieves or helps eliminate anger.
  • Relieves or helps eliminate depression.
  • Enhances the immune system.
  • Promotes healing.
  • Relieves or helps eliminate pain (including chronic pain).
  • Massages all of the internal organs in the body.
  • Enhances overall sense of well-being.

"Laughter is a holy thing. It is as sacred as music and silence and solemnity, maybe more sacred. Laughter is like a prayer, like a bridge over which creatures tiptoe to meet each other. Laughter is like mercy; it heals. When you can laugh at yourself, you are free." - Ted Loder

Key to the Power of Fun and Play

The key to receiving all of the benefits from the power of fun and play is to remember that it should all be natural, unforced, and inspired. Fun and play should never be one more obligatory task or activity to do, with a fake smile and an empty, hallow “I’m having fun now!” Rather, it should be genuine, just like when we were children. You remember, right?

Insights into the Power of Fun and Play

“Give yourself a break. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt. Lighten up. Be easier. Go slower. Take it easy. Have more fun. Love yourself more. Laugh more. Appreciate more. The more playful you are about it, then the easier it all is.” – Abraham-Hicks

Here are more insights into the power of fun and play (collected from

"Not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is serious." - Brendan Gill

"The word 'silly' derives from the Greek 'selig' meaning 'blessed.' There is something sacred in being able to be silly." - Paul Pearsall

“Play is the highest form of research.” - Albert Einstein

"In the true man there is a child concealed who wants to play". - Friedrich Nietzsche

"Each day, and the living of it, has to be a conscious creation in which discipline and order are relieved with some play and pure foolishness." - Mary Satton

"Life is nothing to be very serious about. Life is a ball in your hands to play with. Don't hold on to the ball." - Ravi Shankar

"He who does not get fun and enjoyment out of every day...needs to reorganize his life" -George Matthew Adams

"The true object of all human life is play. Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground." - G.K. Chesterton

"There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is in having lots to do and not doing it" - Mary W. Little

"It takes courage to play in a world that does not play." - Fred Donaldson

"We don't stop playing because we turn old, but turn old because we stop playing" - Satchel Paige

"The I'm-going-to-win-no-matter-how-I-have-to-do-it attitude just doesn't seem to fit. For me, a contest isn't a success unless it was fun, whether or not I win." - Margo Godfrey Oberg

"The Creator put fun on the earth to mark out correct solutions. He said that if what you're doing isn't fun, it needs re-evaluation. When you have fun in it, chances are you're on the right path.” - Manitonquat (a.k.a. “Medicine Story”)

"Children engage in such (free) play because they enjoy it--it's self-directed. They do not play for rewards; they enjoy the doing, not the end result. Once they get bored, they go on to do something else--and continue to learn and grow." - Sheila G. Flaxman

"PLAYING SHOULD BE FUN! In our great eagerness to teach our children we studiously look for 'educational' toys, games with built-in lessons, books with a 'message.' Often these 'tools' are less interesting and stimulating than the child's natural curiosity and playfulness. Play is by its very nature educational. And it should be pleasurable. When the fun goes out of play, most often so does the learning." - Joanne E. Oppenheim

"Unless each day can be looked back upon by an individual as one in which he has had some fun, some joy, some real satisfaction, that day is a loss." – Anon

"People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing." - Dale Carnegie

"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." – e. e. cummings

"Life must be lived as play." - Plato

"Time you enjoyed wasting is not wasted time." - T. S. Elliot

"You've achieved success in your field when you don't know whether what you're doing is work or play." - Warren Beatty

"Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play". – Heraclitus

"Necessity may be the mother of invention, but play is certainly the father". - Roger von Oech

"It is a happy talent to know how to play." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The dynamic principle of fantasy is play, which belongs also to the child, and as such it appears to be inconsistent with the principle of serious work. But without this playing with fantasy, no creative work has ever yet come to birth. The debt we owe to the play of imagination is incalculable." - C.G. Jung

"Play is a lost key. Play is crucial at every stage of life. In play, we discover pleasure, cultivate feelings of accomplishment, and acquire a sense of belonging. When we play, we learn and mature and — no small matter — find an outlet for stress. It unlocks the door to our selves." - Lenore Terr, MD