Nature follows the law of least effort. Nature’s intelligence functions with effortless ease and abandoned carefreeness. Grass does not try to grow, it just grows. Flowers just bloom. Fish do not struggle to swim, as we do, they just glide away. The earth hurtles through space with no noise and with great ease. Stars glitter and sparkle naturally. Work should be like a baby’s smile, natural, spontaneous and full of fun. If you want to be efficient in your work, stay in part a child, with the spontaneity, creativity and inventiveness that characterize children.
Work as play
Edison, a man who recorded 1,093 patents in his lifetime, ranging from the phonograph, the incandescent lightbulb and the microphone to the movies, had this to say about his brilliant career at the end of his life, “I never did a day’s work in my life: it was all fun.”
Many executives behave as if they were the General Manager of the Universe. An inflated ego leads to a great waste of energy. We spend a lot of energy in upholding our own personalities. We become imprisoned within the cocoon of our tags, titles and designations. We tend to forget that all these trappings of power are insignificant. These are just labels that define our role in the theatre of an organization. The managing director is playing his role just as the telephone operator is playing hers… To be egoistically and obsessively caught up in a role is to forget that work is play. At play you are not a personality, but a significant presence. A personality is rigid and stiff like a mask. A presence is creative, joyful, playful and dynamic. Just think of the greatest presences this world has seen: Buddha, Jesus, Krishna, Gandhi. They never took themselves seriously. Their work was just play. Their whole being radiated sublime playfulness.
Work becomes play when it is an extension and expression of your natural aptitudes and capacities. Mark Twain once observed: “What work I have done I have done because it has been play.” The men who groan and sweat under the heavy burden of work can never hope to do anything great. How can they, when their hearts are in a ferment of revolt against what their hands are doing? A salubrious climate of commitment, passion, enthusiasm and light-heartedness is essential for the flowers of excellence to bloom and blossom.