The Secret Ingredient to Building a Thriving Community: Play
Join me on the latest episode of Elements of Community as I sit down with Steve Rix, a human development expert with 30 years of experience in both public and private entities. Steve's playful nature has led him on a rollercoaster of entrepreneurship, culminating in the founding of PlayLab. He's passionate about building a
Join me on this episode of the Elements of Community as I chat with Steve Rix, founder of PlayLab, about the secret ingredient to building a thriving community: play! If you want to learn how to infuse more play into your community, join us for this fun and insightful conversation. See you there!
Steve’s 10-year journey experimenting with Play has led him to realize that it’s more than just a childish pastime or weekend activity for adults. Play is a state of being that is present, authentic, connected, imaginative, and purposeless. It’s a vital component of a community that can resolve conflicts within it.
Steve shares an example of how young boys in some African tribes use competitive sword fencing as a rite of passage to become men and deepen connections with each other. Play can be a glue that binds a community together and becomes the heartbeat of that community.
Moreover, Play can be a language that creates connections and propagates peace, even in situations of military conflict. It can also be a totem or physical message that reminds people of something and helps them access creativity and new ways of thinking.
In our conversation, we discuss the importance of finding stimuli that resonate with us and avoiding dissonant or negative stimuli that hinder connection and community. We explore the potential of play as a language for experimentation and growth. Steve’s belief that play is restorative, connective, and inspiring has led him to design his business around it. He shares his vision to build a legacy where companies create playful happy people everywhere and invites everyone to experiment with play and pay attention to their emotions when in a playful state.
Other subjects we covered on the show:
- We explored different forms of stimuli that can affect the mind and facilitate learning or focus, such as auditory, visual, and tactile stimuli.
- We also discussed music as a form of stimuli that can serve different purposes depending on the individual, such as being a stressor that helps shut out background noise or a resonant tone that triggers a particular response in the brain.
- Lastly, Steve invites everyone to pay attention to their emotions when in a playful state and to experiment with play, as it can lead to positive outcomes.
AND MORE TOPICS COVERED IN THE FULL INTERVIEW!!! You can check that out and subscribe at https://pbp.li/eoc44.
If you want to know more about Steve Rix, you may reach out to him at:
[00:00:00] I realized that for our audience, this is their first time meeting you, but I just want them all to know that this is actually our second time through with this conversation, cause we had a glorious tech glitch that invites us, you and I, Steve, to have this conversation again, which is very cool. I’m personally really excited to see what things happen.
Yeah. I’m not gonna lie. When we were attempting to retrieve the data, every step we took, I was like, oh, it might work. I might get a second chance. So here we are, take two.
Take two. So since unlike you and I, we’ve been through this one since the audience has not been through this once with us, would you like to tell them why? I enjoyed our conversation so much the last time around and why they will enjoy you this time.
Sure. I’d be happy to give that a shot. I think in general for those getting to know me for the first time, I’ve spent probably the last 10 years of my life literally [00:01:00] experimenting with Play. And when I say experimenting with Play, I mean with the idea that play is something other than what we use as training wheels for children to move through adolescences more than what you or I do as adults on the weekend.
Or perhaps what the ultra wealthy are perceived as doing all the time, right? Like I see it differently and I began postulating in my own mind. What if there ways were where I could use Play to be more authentic, to be more creative, to be more pliable, to have a greater level of energy and productivity towards something for which I’m giving focused.
And perhaps in the most relevant to this wonderful podcast you’ve created, how could I use Play to feel more emotionally safe, to feel more connected with other human beings? Because I really feel like when we turn our [00:02:00] lives into metaphoric playgrounds, it gives space for everyone who feels the same way to step into that community and to experience all the byproducts that are what Play produces.
So for me, I think just a quick recap is that Play is an essential component to real deep, meaningful community. We touched on that. I’m sure we’ll revisit those things again, based on the five tenets that you’ve laid out for your listeners in the past. But I think I have to be selfish and also say there’s a secondary reason why I think you’re going to enjoy today because, you know, in our lives we’re blessed to every now and then meet people who you feel like, wow, I’ve known that person before.
And I’m not getting into your ideas about past lives or future lives, but you just have that sense of knowing, right? And you and I have that. And it creates a lot of joy for me to listen to what you say, to be present with you and really to have no agenda for today.
Like, [00:03:00] We didn’t go back and attempt to listen to what we created last time. I just knew that was for us, and whatever’s gonna come today is gonna be meaningful and beautiful for anyone who picks us up along their journey of their life. And so glad to be with you.
Ah, what an awesome way to look at it. That was for us. Yeah. That’s amazing. Thank you, Steve.
Yeah. For you. You’re welcome.
I personally take technology fails personally, and I know that it has nothing to do with me, but, you know, you’re in the moment. You’re producing something and the tools that you use to produce that thing are your choice.
And so when they don’t work, you feel like you made the wrong choice, maybe. But your reframe right here, that was for us like that allows me to look back at that experience and say, wow, that conversation and the others that we’ve had, but that conversation in particular was only meant to be for us to enjoy.
Yeah, that’s true. And how do we know? Because it’s what happened.
Because it’s what happened. The [00:04:00] technology failed.
Sometimes it’s very easy for us to. This is not a word, but to complexify things, right? It’s like we make it harder than it needs to be. And I very much appreciate.
But, that should be a word.
That should be a word, right? Complexify.
It should be.
Yeah. But yeah, when we get right down to it, it’s simple. Everything’s in exchange. And I believe the more playfully we can come to exchanges, the more meaningfully we can connect within them. And that’s perhaps one of the top two or three things on my mind every morning when I wake up. I think about how can I playfully approach my day?
How can I serve my wellbeing in the day and how can I authentically connect with others? And so yeah, here we are connecting and I hope as people hear this, they’ll feel a connection to us and wanna reach out and listen to your podcast more cause it’s amazing.
Yeah, that. More of that, when people engage with Play, my guess is that they have this picture of you in the [00:05:00] courtyard, you know, recruiting two or three people from the condo building you live in to go play ultimate Frisbee the entire day, all day long. And you and I both know that your definition of Play actually includes much more complexity and even in fact, much more let’s call it quote unquote adulty ways of approaching life.
What do you mean when you talk about Play?
I think that’s a great question and I promise you I’d have some, like some visual aids like right here in this book. There are five meaningful points that I say are present every time we play. The first one is I’m fully present. It’s really hard to play if my mind is in the future or in the past in any way, because I’m not in full participation and play by its nature is a very free moment like nothing else is in my consciousness and my subconscious becomes subservient to the [00:06:00] joy of the playful moment. So I’m fully present.
The second thing is I’m wildly authentic. I have perfect self-expression. I could be on a dance floor and being a goofball. I could be playing you know, some game. The one that comes to mind for adults all the time is oh gosh. Now why am I forgetting it? When we’re trying to get people to say different things from using our hands, what’s that called?
Oh, like charades.
It’s great game.
When we’re doing something like, yeah, right, because it allows us to just say, okay, everybody’s all gonna be a goofball, trying to get everybody else to just figure out what they’re saying. But it’s a beautiful idea of Play because I have perfect self-expression and in just a moment I’ll illustrate what you just said, which is how Play doesn’t always look like charades are ultimate Frisbee, but it’s definitely present.
It’s definitely great self-expression, authentic. It’s connection with other people, which we alluded to in the opening. Like when I’m [00:07:00] playing, I’m getting along. But I remember I once, I played on a softball team years ago, it was a really great lesson for me and this guy at work, he just didn’t like me.
But when we played softball afterwards, he was right next to me. We’re having beers together, chatting it up, and what I realized is that Play became the neutralizer to whatever preconceived notions we have about each other. And when we play, we get to connect because we see a different side of ourselves.
So we’re present. Perfect self-expression. We’re very much connected with others. We have immediate access to imagination and innovation. Like when we’re playing, we don’t want that play to end. It’s fun. So we’ll find different ways to extend it, to keep it going, to take the feeling that the physiological byproducts of play, which are heavily laced in dopamine, which is a fantastic thing.
And we’ll really enjoy it. And the last thing that Play is it’s nothing of [00:08:00] intention or purpose. It’s just for the sake of the moment. It doesn’t have to have an outcome, which is why Play is different than competition, right? And both can be useful in society.
But if you take those five things, I double dog dare ya, a little playful expression to find any other state of being that gives me access to all of that instantaneously. That’s what I say Play is. And for some that could be cooking for others, it could be opening the hood of a car, ultimate Frisbee, standing up in front of a mic and doing improv.
Gosh, that would scare me. Just boo. Like I’m funny, but I’m only funny when I’m become the joke, not because I can tell good jokes. Right? But we’re all different. And so that’s kind of my short, but very measured definition of Play, and if we were to begin to experiment with what that looked like, I think we see that we’re far more playful than we adults think we are.
I love it.[00:09:00] So, I sort of allow that to settle in a little bit. And coming into this conversation, even before I met you, I had a definition of Play that looked different than just ultimate Frisbee. Of course that’s included, but it different than just that. And when I let that settle in, you know, I see sometimes the strategy work that I do as Play, I’m playing with the pieces.
It’s kind of like doing puzzle work, which is Play. I love the idea that doing the dishes or cooking could be Play, you know, I am very much an inflow chef when I’m cooking and I’ve never thought of it as Play, but you’re a hundred percent right. That’s exactly what’s happening.
I’ve got pieces that I’m putting together in a very special way to build a picture.
It’s so interesting that you allude to dishwashing just this week. I’m sure probably some of your listeners have heard of “The Great Sage” and philosopher Alan Watts. He’s all over YouTube. And Alan Watts talks about how we think about work as [00:10:00] played. And he literally illustrates on his YouTube channel, like if you’re a dishwasher, he said, make love to each dish.
Just wash it and love on it, and rinse it and look at it and cheer and say, I created this clean work of art and put it down and do a dance with a new one. And I thought to myself, much like you, I enjoy cooking. But I’m not gonna lie, I hate the cleanup.
And so it’s funny. The other morning I looked at my dishes and I said, baby, we’re gonna have a dance. And that got through those dishes with such joy. It was crazy. So a lot of it’s how we frame it, right?
Wow. That’s so cool.
Yeah, it’s opportunity to bring joy to things like that.
Yeah. Amazing. I love it. Now you’ve said, and I completely agree, you’ve said that Play is an essential Element of Community. Can you talk about that?[00:11:00]
Yeah. You know, if a community lacks Play, then, in my world, one asks how do they create their authentic communication? How do they create their perfect self-expression? How do they access innovation? And there may be other ways. The fact is, let me rephrase that. I’m certain there are other ways.
However, what I’ve come to observe is, and I guess there’s no pure science on this, I know of no studies about this, but when a child is born, he or she is born with the autonomic ability to breathe with the autonomic desire for connection and the outlandish, insatiable appetite to curiously play or amuse themselves with [00:12:00] anything and everything.
And the first seven years of our life you know, brain experts talk about the theta wave state, right? Like we’re just gathering. And all these experiences of Play are not designed simply to grow up. They’re designed because the human experience is really designed to be a pleasure filled joy, filled journey.
And Play brings joy to the community. Play can resolve the conflicts within the community. I remember recently I watched a documentary where young men learn how to become, or young boys learn how to become men with this very competitive, almost painful style of sword fencing in tribes in Africa, like hit leaves some bloody marks on them when they’re done.
But it also brings about, for them a right of passage and a connection because these [00:13:00] men understand that it’s not about toppling one another. It’s about stepping into an art form and learning how to stand up and show up. And when the game is over, the connection is deepened.
And so Play can be a real glue for a community. It can become the heartbeat of community all. And while I don’t think Play is simply a reward, it certainly can be something that draws community together. If we have any historical evidence of that, all you gotta do is look at family reunions, three leg races, you know, jumping tug of wars, you know, that kind of softball dodge ball at least in our modern culture, right?
But Play by its nature binds us. And in a way, in a day where so many things split us apart or work to cause competition, it’s a beautiful thing to feel bound and like [00:14:00] in my personal community, I’ve always said if I can lose someone, like if there’s someone who can walk away from me, I’d be sad.
But the sooner they walk away, like the better because I want to be with people who are all in on their lives because I know as I create that around me, that becomes the highest and most formative, like magnetic form of community there is, you know, community shows up in gangs, right? Where a whole bunch of weak people try to present is strong.
But what happens when a whole bunch of strong people who are givers present stronger and in doing that, provide an enormous outlet to expand and grow the overall community.
Yeah, yeah. Wow.
I think it’s almost like a pandemic, pun intended. Right? Like [00:15:00] we couldn’t stop covid-19 for quite a while. Well, if we really let play on the loose, we’ll never be able to stop it, which is kind of the mad scientists mission I’m on. Spread the virus to play.
You have to be a mad scientist, it might as well be like that.
Absolutely. Yeah, for sure.
Wow. So I obviously, I talk about the, the six Elements of Community and I like to have these conversations and this is an amazing one and I like to tie them back into the elements so that I myself can see how they fit into this framework and or how they break the framework, which is equally good.
And I see a couple of things I see Play as language. So how we play, what we choose to play, it’s actually part of the language we’re building into the community, how we talk to each other, how we receive messages and share them, how we interact with the way that we build out the story of the community.
So language is one [00:16:00] of them. Projects, projects are, it’s an obvious fit, but but you know, how many times have you sat down in a boardroom and somebody’s brought an idea out and you’ve said, let’s play with that. And it’s not just a figure of speech like that is a very literal invitation into actually playing with an idea, actual play.
A boardroom, a project. So I see language, I see projects. Do you see other ways that it fits into the Elements of Community and or do you want to talk about those two?
Well we can definitely come back to both of those, but I think and I don’t wanna forget them, the language for sure. And the projects. However, one of the six elements was also a heartbeat, right? Something to that effect.
The heart. Yeah.
Yeah, so we dabbled with this path last time and when we finished I thought afterwards, ah, I wish I had remembered and now I know why.
There’s this an amazing study and a subsequent book called “The Blue [00:17:00] Zones”. Have you heard about “The Blue Zones”?
I have spent an enormous amount of time reading about “The Blue Zones”.
Awesome. So this is gonna just like, because I’m 56 and I mentally don’t feel older, right? When I was a kid, my grandfather died at 65. So in my head back then, I only have eight more years, right? Like, but I, when I tell you, I think in my terms of my life with 80 more years, part of what affected that was “The Blue Zones”.
And one of the things that was really fascinating to me about “The Blue Zones”, because you know, this you read it was they didn’t all have the same diets. They didn’t all live in the same climates. Right? Some would have as the English would would say, a fag every day, right? In the morning of the evening, you’d see was a smoker, right?
Like so sometimes smokers were living well past a hundred. Right? And sometimes they had fatty diets. [00:18:00] In a Sardinia down off of Italy, they have tons of pasta, right? But they also climb up and down hills every day to deal with the sheep. And like you look at all these pieces, the number one thing that every community had was a coming together to play. It was dancing, it was out on the fields, it was down by the ocean.
And not once a year either.
No, it was a weekly, regular thing. So like, that’s why I really think the heart of community can be centered around the joy of almost like, and we could talk more about this later. I think work in many respects is not the opposite of Play, but it’s the manifestation of clarity of how you play productively, but not withstanding in community, people come together, the work is done we play.
Here in Hawaii, the expression, Aloha Friday goes along with the expression Pau Hana, which means the work is [00:19:00] finished and the colloquialism, or the connotative meaning of that is its happy hour and 52 weeks of the year on Friday night fireworks go off in Hawaii to celebrate that this is your time for community and to play. Like the work is finished.
That was amazing.
So yeah, I think there’s a lot to be said about how it’s the heartbeat of community. Does that make sense?
I love it.
Yeah, me too. It gets me excited.
That’s amazing. So, to dig into heart a little bit more. This is interesting. It maybe even adds a new dimension and I’ll talk about that. So heart was heart and here’s the new dimension as well. In Common Heart, it is the sharing and receiving of care. It is showing up and doing the work that you do with honor and pride for the community and through the community.
And what that means is when you wash the dishes, you wash the dishes with love because you know that you or your [00:20:00] mother might be the recipient of that washed dish, and if you do a crappy job, your mother might actually be the one that’s eating off your leftover dirty dish.
And so you do the work that you do for the community with the love and honor and pride that you and or your mother is the recipient of that work. And here’s how Play might be, Play as the heart of the community might be adding a new dimension to that.
One of the things that I talk about, it’s not community if when you don’t show up, people don’t notice you. So you have to be missed in order for it to be community. And Joe on your right and Jane on your left have to be missed in order for it to be community. If Play is part of the heart, then when Play is absent, Play is itself missed.
When Play is absent, I miss you more, Steve, because we didn’t have play, not just because we didn’t get together and drink coffee. We might have done that anyway, [00:21:00] but I miss you more because we didn’t play.
Yeah, you know, if we wow. That’s a great, great focal point because when you think about your memories, With the people who you’re near and dear to, like even us, everything we’ve done together in my construct has all been Play. And the reason I say that is because I look at new relationships like an exploration.
In the book I give credit to Dr. Stuart Brown, who wrote a book called “Play”. And he talks about eight play personalities. Well, one of those is storyteller. And both of us very much enjoy painting pictures for people to understand that’s storytelling. It’s form of Play, but everything we’ve done, I have such fond memories of it, not because we were working, because in my book, we were exploring like, what’s the cool stuff that’s gonna make us have [00:22:00] joy?
But if you want take it to practical examples, my son and I, I have a lot of memories with my son already, and he’s 29. But my greatest memories, every one of them is from something playful. When he wanted to play street hockey and we played one-on-one, he always got a kick out of tripping my roller blade as I’m heading to the goal and making me bite the and laugh, right?
You know, we’d go dirt biking and he’d always say, we have to play hide and seek on dirt bikes. You know, today, we play golf and we have a few beers and then we pass out on the beach, right? Like my best memories of anyone and everyone are somehow embedded with something playful. Never thought of it that way, but true story.
That’s amazing. That’s a really cool new dimension to common heart.
Yeah, for sure.[00:23:00] Do you wanna go to language next?
Yeah, let’s do it.
So I believe that if you took the most six or seven, I don’t know, even maybe as many as 10 countries in the world whose human governance is in total opposition to one another. The classics are China and the US or Russia and Ukraine, but there are many others, right? But if you took a child from each of these places and put them in a room together before they could speak a word, there would not be an ounce of animosity.
There would not be an active aggression. We would see peace seeking connection. Because Play by its nature is not looking to go like this. And for those who are just listening, my fist are pounding. It’s looking to do [00:24:00] this. Imagine the image of my hands connecting, right? Like Play is the pathway to the empathetic nature we all have.
If I have a piece of grass in my hand and I can’t speak, I’m gonna get another piece of grass and hand it to you, right? Like everything about Play invites connection as a form of language, even in the unfortunate situations of military when the world of insurgent guerrilla warfare showed up in the 60’s through Vietnam.
From that point forward, all soldiers are taught to have candy bars and some form of ball when they’re going into a unfamiliar place so that they can offer candy and play a game to disarm. It’s an amazing universal language that propagates peace and relaxes intensity. That’s what Play does.
Wow. That’s very cool. I [00:25:00] didn’t know that. I’m reminded of the story of the French and German soldiers in World War II on Christmas who they played a game of soccer like the war stopped so that a game of soccer could be played.
Yeah, it’s true, right? It’s true. And, you know, I had told you I had some little, do you offer the Video podcast or are people just gonna hear us? I don’t remember. Can they see us too?
Some people watch.
Some of you get to see us, you’ll enjoy this. Yep. For those of you who hear, imagine a slinky, and for those of you who don’t know what a slinky is, go look it up. You’ll enjoy it.
I think almost everybody knows it. Yeah, that is what a slinky is, but go look it up. So I have a slinky in my hand. When I was growing up, they were made out of metal, which would rust or aluminum, which had sharp edges. This is plastic and it’s multicolored. This in of itself is a form of language.
Now what it speaks to me may not [00:26:00] speak to someone else, but what I call this is a totem. Or a physical message to remind me of something. So later today I’ve got some time slotted to work on my company’s project, The PlayLab project. And I gotta do a lot of detail related stuff.
And I don’t like details naturally this will be right by my side because if I have creative block, the colors activate me to think differently. And simply manipulating the toy and making it pliable reminds me that my brain is pliable, and if I’ll just relax a minute, I’ll access things that I currently don’t feel like I have access to.
Now, that’s a big message for a small piece of plastic, but it works every time and every human has things just like this. So in that sense, Play can be language, and it doesn’t even have to be facilitated by something. It could be a sound, right?
Some people hate this sound and maybe the mic will [00:27:00] pick it up. But I’m literally clicking the pen.
The clicking of a pen.
Yeah. And like for me that sound does nothing. For some, it irritates the crap out of them, but for others it stills their mind from whatever else is going on, focuses on the pen, and then just gives them access to other parts of the brain. They couldn’t get in that moment.
That’s an auditory stimulant, right? I showed you tactical stimulants by things we touched. There are visual ones, right? Like, every time I look at this book, I don’t have to read an ounce of it.
Places You’ll Go.
By Dr. Seuss. I gave this both my kids when they graduated high school.
My parents gave that to me when I graduated high school.
Yeah, that’s a great book, right? And I don’t even have to pick it up and read it. And today was the first time I read just the first page. But I did it in a different way. I read it in first person. I have brains in my head. I have feet in my shoes. I can steer [00:28:00] myself in direction any I choose, I’m on my own and I know what I know and I am the guy who will decide where I go.
I love that because it’s usually put in third person or in second person, you, that kind of stuff. But I don’t ever have read it. I can just look at it and it becomes a visual reminder. Oh yeah. If I’m in struggle, just go to the middle of the book. It’s called “The Waiting Place” and I get to decide how long I wanna wait and struggle.
And, these are not perfect sciences, right? Like I’ll give you one more. I love the Minions because they get themselves.
Ahh, the minions.
So much trouble. They get themselves in so much trouble. Again, for those listening, I’ve got a little, I think Bob’s the one eyed guy. But I got a little bob in my hand from the minions.
And yet it doesn’t matter how bad of a decision they make, they find a way to laugh and make peace with whatever they’ve done, instantly. And that’s what the minions [00:29:00] do for me. Like to celebrate my imperfections and not be so hard on myself when I go left, when I should have gone, right when I go up, when I should have gone down.
And what are all these things, messages or languages that Play creates. Now, if you take it to the last one and you put it into projects, well, frankly, that’s what our company’s done. We’ve said, let’s build a project whose singular purpose is to experiment and experience the byproducts of Play intentionally to make my life better.,
So yeah, whether it’s projects, community based language, heart, I’m sure it applies in other ways, but man, you got me fired up again, dude.
That’s what we’re here for. Let’s light the Fire.
Cue the doors zone.
Amazing. I love that. By the way, my wife’s totem animal is the minions.
How awesome. She and I are gonna [00:30:00] get along great, when we meet someday. Fact is first time we all meet, I’m gonna bring our minion gift.
She is a hundred percent about the minions.
That was awesome.
Oh yeah. You talked about auditory stimulus. So I actually had a friend reach out to me recently and asked me this question and boy I did not expect it to show up here. He said what music is best for learning?
And of course answer he was expecting was for me to say Mozart, cause that’s what everybody says. But of obviously equally, of course. My response was I don’t know how to answer that question. Because there are actually three different purposes to music and each person brings that purpose into their life in a very different way.
In order to learn, you need to be able to focus, and some people have so much noise inside their head that music actually provides. We call it a stimulant, but what all it is a stressor and it stresses your brain enough to close out the noise so that it can focus on the task.
Think hunting you [00:31:00] can’t have existential crisises while you’re hunting for your food. So your mind is actually programmed when you’re in a stressed state, a lightly stressed state. And this is also why we drink coffee. Your mind is actually programmed to shut out the noise so that you can focus.
Coffee is a light mild stressor. We call it a stimulant, but it stimulates by stressing you enough to give your mind that impetus to close out the noise. Music does the same thing. Music is a stressor. So for some people they need music as a stressor, so it closes out that sort of the background noise of their mind chatter so that they can be focused on the task.
And Mozart can do that, but so can any other music, if that’s the reason you need music. That’s number one.
Number two, we are beings of resonance. It is an absolute truth. And so there are resonant tunes, resonant tones that work differently inside of our body just because of the way that we’re made up.
And [00:32:00] we have a lot of knowledge of this and we’ve baked it into things like music that has been passed down over generations and generations. So there’s a reason why we call specific distances between notes by specific names, and one of those names is perfect. Look it up. There’s a perfect note and that means, the distance between the first and the fourth note, or a first and a fourth note on a diatonic scale.
And the reason that we call that a perfect, a perfect fourth, and the same thing is for a fifth, a perfect fifth on that scale is because the distance between those two notes triggers something inside of our brains to allow us to change the way that we’re ingesting information in that moment. But if all you need music for is as a minor stressor, then you don’t need music that’s got perfects built in perfect fourths and perfect fifths. It’s not necessary.
And so if you don’t like Mozart and you only need a stressor, then any stressor will do. [00:33:00] But if what you need is something that’s going to trigger resonance for you, and it’s not just as a minor stressor, well then you’re gonna want music that has perfects built in perfect fourths and perfect fifths.
Now is when you’re gonna want to turn on Mozart. Right? So those are two vastly different experiences for vastly different needs, both, which result in better learning. And this is why when he reached out and said, which music helps with learning, I’m like, I’m sorry I can’t help you with that question. I need more information before I can answer it.
Wow. So I didn’t know we had something else in common. I was a music minor in college, loved music. And just as there’s a perfect fourth, there’s also an augmented fourth. And the best way to illustrate how that might sound is with a passing tone. And the biggest thing in culture that would give us that is the little jingle from the network NBC, it goes like this, N B C.
And whenever you have augmentation to music, it desires[00:34:00] a resonance, it desires a fulfillment. It’s often called a passing tone. And on an augment or a diminished kind of tone, it’s not perfected, right? It’s not closed. It leaves something longing for more.
And the thing that fascinates me most about music is a form of play. And I’ve never really heard it in the form of a stressor, but we talked about this in the pregame, how I use music sometimes to become my focal point, right? It becomes the distraction to keep me from getting distracted, which it’s.
I mean, this is a rabbit hole of possibility because we’re all different and we respond to music differently. But I can say this with certainty. The body energetically is just a whole bunch of frequencies. I’m not an expert at naturopathic medicines and meridian lines and chakras. I’ve spent a little time coming to understand the beauty of this, but the one thing I’m sure of is energetically when I’m playful.[00:35:00]
Whatever the tone is, it’s resonant. It’s not dissonant, it’s harmonious. Now one of the things I learned in music is that not everything is a melody and a harmony, right? Like you literally have competing melodies. And we see this a lot in music today because of the creativity of DJs taking an old song and a new song that you know, it’s kind, it’s called counterpoint, right?
They’re playing off of each other. And so the really important thing about Play as a language, especially when it’s musical, is watching how quickly people come together, even when they’re different. Wow. I’m just so filled with joy that you bring up music. Like I spend about 10 hours a week on social media.
Five or six of it is making posts about our company responding to [00:36:00] other people’s posts, and three or four is usually searching for content that supports my postulation of how powerful Play is. And this week I met a lady virtually, actually didn’t meet her. I just met the representation of her on her page.
I was scrolling and she was center stage, front row of a Brad Paisley concert. Now, I’m not a big country fan, but I recognized him. I think he’s been on American Idol or The Voice or something like that. And he says can you sing? She says, yes. She said, and I guess he was singing a song that had a lady’s part, and I’m guessing this gal was in her mid twenties.
She’s like, will you let me sing with you? You sure you can sing? I’m sure. Alright. Come up on stage. And the next thing you know, here’s this wonderful human being who doesn’t know this star, but they’re singing together like they’ve known each other forever because of the beauty and frequency of music and its ability to connect.
Oh my gosh. You’ve opened up a [00:37:00] beautiful Pandora’s Box, Lucas. Oh my gosh.
I love it.
And you’re right. You’re right, that answer is not easy. People will all learn and receive differently. The only one asterisk I put by this is like, people ask me all the time, do I like lots of music?
And I like different kinds of music. The one I really don’t resonate with of all is that really dark thrasher screaming kind of thing. And I’m not picking on those who do, but one of the things I observe about this real, it’s not even heavy metal, it’s like Thrasher, is that generally the lyrics are dark and generally it’s screaming, which is really hard to find a vibrational frequency in screaming.
And if you think about anger,
And when people are screaming, they’re not connecting. So there might be some curious things to play with there. But and again, not picking on those who [00:38:00] like that, but just something to look at. Does it really set us up for community.
I love the way you put that. There are some curious things to play with.
Yeah, no doubt. And that’s all it ever is anyway. Just an experiment. Some work, some don’t. And when they don’t say, that didn’t work, let’s try something else.
Yeah. Like Play?
Yes. Yeah, cause Play will always keep your attention. It just may take different forms, which of course is the beauty of play. When have you ever seen, when someone say, all right, I’ve had enough play in my life. I mean, if I’ve ever heard it, it comes from a programmed mind that feels guilty for not working, but it doesn’t come from a natural place.
You could never give me enough Play. It’s restorative, it’s connective. It’s inspiring, which is why I’ve designed my business to be Play.[00:39:00]
Far more productive.
Love it. Now this is a little bit unfair cause these questions are typically a surprise to the guest. But they’re not a surprise to you cause we’ve been through this once. But Steve, I like to end my interviews with three questions. The first is for these guests that are delighted by you and I’m hoping that every single one of our listeners is what is the one best place for them to reach out to you?
Probably the one best place is my email because I check it daily. It’s Steve@ExperimentWithPlay.com. And we can start with a conversation and if it makes sense, happy to get on the phone and connect with people. I really have no filters or access controls to me. Like I wanna make time for anyone who wants to make time for Play because The Playground is opened 24/7.
I love [00:40:00] it. The playground is definitely open 24/7. Well done Steve@ExperimentWithPlay.com I’m pretty sure most people can spell that too.
Yes. Pretty simple.
The next one, which is typically my big curve ball, but you’re prepared and that’s not fair, is if there was one question that I haven’t asked you yet but you wish I had, what would it be?
Yeah, and I answered this.
Probably has to do with music.
Well, no, actually it’s interesting because last time I remember how I answered this, that like, I came with no agenda or no expectation, just an anticipation. And I guess I would say, okay, the one question you didn’t ask, is what’s the one thing I would tell the audience to take away, which might be the third one, I forget, but I would invite everyone to pay attention to their emotions when they’re in a playful state, because thought [00:41:00] inspires action, but emotion moves us to action.
And I find that when I am in a playful state, I’m at the highest level of energy I have, which means I’m also at the highest level of likelihood to actually produce an outcome because I got high energy and a huge desire to convert on what I’m seeking. So experimenting with Play and paying attention to emotion may be a wonderful little rabbit hole for people to go down and I like, if they do it, shoot me an email.
Say, Hey, here was my experiment, here was the outcome. Because I’m all the time looking to see the outcomes of people’s experiments with Play, so that would be the question I’d ask them.
Oh, I love it. I agree. People definitely, I mean, replay the last minute and give that a good hard listen. Pay attention to your emotions and reach out to Steve at [00:42:00] Steve@ExperimentWithPlay.com and share the results of this experiment. Thank you. Do you have any parting thoughts?
I’m so glad we had this time together. I don’t, I like, I just, I’m filled with joy. I hope the listeners can sense that our exchange was nothing short of a playful experiment in a conversation. Playing off of each other’s ideas and exploring the possibility of how life can be better when Play is a central component to the life.
So my parting thought is for those who play regularly, play with intention and watch the magic. For those of you who play infrequently, start experimenting with play like the second question. And for those of you who’ve forgotten how to play, [00:43:00] go find some children, watch them, and then emulate them. And you’ll find your way onto the pathway of play.
And I know it’s not about promotion, but I’ll say this, it’s like, that’s not enough for you. Just go check out my book at PlaySavesTheDay.com. You don’t have to buy it. You can get an excerpt from it. You can get some ideas from others if you like what you see. That entire simple read is dedicated to the things I just said.
So that would be what I’d say as parting words, cause Play does Save the Day. You just gotta give it a chance. Let it be the star in your life, not the walk on actor. That shows up once in a while.
Love that. Thank you, Steve.
My pleasure. It’s been great being with you.
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Lucas is the host of Elements of Community. He is a community growth strategist and works with mega companies like The Pokemon Company to help build and foster community. This podcast is Lucas' way of giving back what he has learned about the magic of building and growing community.
Join Our Inner Circle
Like what you hear on the podcast? We have more secret recordings from every guest. We keep the microphone rolling after the podcast is done and get our guest to spill the beans on the best tactics for growing their communities profitably. You don't wanna miss this.