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Self Improvement:The World is Your Stage and You're ON!

I would like to share to share to everyone this very inspiring and eye opening article from Indeed we have to maximize every resources that we have at our disposal in order for us to achieve the purpose for which we are here. Here is the article read om...

... How many roles did you play today? Did you notice your were moving between roles as the day progressed? Are you still playing any of those roles in your head as you re-play certain scenes and look back on the day with pride or regret?

The third R in our self management series is our Roles. Shakespeare encapsulated one aspect of our multidimensional journey through life when he stood back and reflected that 'all the world is a stage and all men and women merely players with many parts to play', or words to that effect.

Each day is filled with different scenes and in each scene we get the opportunity to play a different role. And that means during the course or our life we can effectively play as many roles as we want. In fact we will not only 'play' those roles we will 'create' them. When life is seen from this 'on stage' perspective, it becomes both a creative and playful journey. But we tend to take it all far too seriously. Why? Because no one teaches us how to play the right role, in the right scene, in the right way, at the right time. So instead of 'playing' our life, instead of 'creating' our life, we tend to see it as a serious business being created by others. We lose our playfulness and our lightness, and an increasing heaviness easily creeps into the journey.

Behind all seriousness is fear in its various guises including worry, tension and anxiety. These fears arise because we forget to 'play' our role/s and start to identify with the role/s. The two most common 'role identities' which many of us learn to lock onto and limit ourselves with, are usually our job/position at work and our position within our family. The more we 'slip into' and identify with the role
the more we lose a) our flexibility b) our capacity to be playful and c) most significantly, our creativity. But we don't notice these consequences of identifying ourselves with one or two roles, because it seems everyone else is doing the same.

When we remember that life is designed to be a 'play full' experience we invoke our mostly latent creative and playful tendencies. This shift in perception also allows us to pay a different kind of attention to what is going on around us. Instead of struggling with life and the world around us (pressure) we learn to flow with life as
it comes to us. Instead of dreading what may happen (worry) we learn to play with what is happening. Instead of seeing our 'furrow' predictably ploughed ahead for us, we begin to create other scenarios as we open ourselves to different and sometimes more radical possibilities. Occasionally we meet someone who has completely altered the way they 'do life' and the direction of their life, after realizing a) they have other options b) they are in charge of their life c) they don't have to swim with the current d) the whole thing is just a game in which to play e) you can choose the roles you play. As we quietly applaud their 'radical adventure' we wistfully wonder if we could do something similar, but only until our perception of the seriousness of our situation kicks back in again!

When we do live more playfully, when we do attempt to be more consciously creative, when we do diminish those 'seriously concerned about ourselves' moments, we are able to be more sensitive to the immediate needs of those around us. This 'input' naturally informs the exact nature of the role we need to create and play for 'them'. As a parent for example, during the course of an average day we could find ourselves in a variety of roles, not only as a parent to our child, but as a friend, counselor, facilitator, companion, guide or teacher depending on the need of the child at any given moment. But this kind of 'creative flexibility' will not be possible as long as the parent sees themselves only as 'the parent around here', in which case the role they are most likely to most frequently slip into will be 'supreme controller'! Not exactly creative or playful.

Similarly, as someone working in an organisation, if we are aware of our immediate relationships in the workplace, and we don't take it all so seriously, we might sense where others are at and play the appropriate role that helps them to relax and be more effective in what they do. During an average day a manager/leader may drop into and out of a variety of roles such as facilitator, counselor, motivator, mediator, even playing the role of a parent in sensitive moments. It's not usually specified in the job description but the enlightened manager will see the community of relationships at work as an opportunity for this kind of creativity. If such an awareness were to
permeate our workplace communities the underlying caring behind this kind of relational creativity and flexibility would likely generate a lighter, happier, more playful atmosphere. What dampens that creativity is the idea that we go to work just to do a job and then we identify with
the job or the position. And what so often kills that creativity is the notion that by definition business is a serious business. It's no wonder that after a day of being serious about business because business is a serious business we go home and find it hard to leave that seriousness behind and lighten up!

Seeing life as a series of role plays does not mean we lose our authenticity or sincerity. In fact it is only when we see each scene as just a scene that we realize we are only an actor in that scene and that we can write and direct the role or character we need to play. To do that consciously and genuinely requires the cultivation of an awareness that a) this is just another scene b) no one scene is more important than the other c) we are only an actor in the scene d) all scenes fade out e) all roles fade out. The only constant is the self, the 'I' that says 'I am'. The actor. But if we identify with what has to fade then we will obviously generate the fear of our self fading too, hence the feelings of anxiety, tension and insecurity, hence the seriousness.

Creating and playing the most appropriate role in right way at the right time means developing a variety of inner skills and levels of awareness. Here are some.

Can you see life as a game and the game as an opportunity to play and the playfulness as an invitation to be creative and to know that it is this creativity that generates the deepest joy for any human being. These are the secrets of a perspective on life that we somehow learn to hide from ourselves.

Some might say such a perspective seems superficial, uncaring and de-valueing what seems to befall others. In fact the opposite happens. Real playfulness in life, this kind of relational creativity in life, can only come from a place of love. Love is after all the creative energy. And when love (not Holywood love) comes into the picture, then caring and compassion automatically come too.

Life is relationship and while we may have freed ourselves from neediness in our relationships we need relationship itself, many relationships. It is in the context of our relationships that we get to explore, experiment and express our creativity. It is only when we are sensitive to the presence of others but not identified with others or suffering with others, that we can clearly discern the right role to 'play' in the moment of their need. This is why sensitivity and empathy are almost impossible unless there is a certain detachment from the relationship, from the scene in which we are playing and from the role we are creating. If we are to play our roles well it is essential not to forget 'it's just a role'.

You cannot be playful with others unless there as an acceptance of the other as they are at every moment. Otherwise judgment and criticism, even just at the level of our thoughts, will kill our personal creativity and our ability to play.

Creativity has little to do with painting and poetry but everything to do with relaxing and relating well. You cannot be relationally creative when you are not relaxed physically, mentally and spiritually. Creating a relaxed state at each of these levels is the foundation for 'playing life'. This is not achieved on the sofa or on a beach. This kind of relaxation is only possible when we fully understands how we are fully responsible for the unrelaxing of our self! Always.

The core energy that lives within the heart of every human being is enthusiasm.. In its most potent day-to-day form is a 'constant willingness' to explore and experiment with new ways of acting and interacting. That means new ways of thinking which means new ways of perceiving and believing. If we do not challenge our learned belief systems and our habitual thinking patterns our creativity gets stuck. We just play the 'same old records'. Boredom and stagnation set in. Apathy is just around the corner. That's when it gets serious!

All that we do has intention, and intention will always be based on love or fear. Love seeks to serve the other whereas fear seeks to overcome or avoid the other. Only the power of love gives us the power to see (visualize), create and grow an appropriate role. Otherwise we are likely to see the roles that others are playing as threats.

Ask any actor and they will tell you that timing is vital to the performance of a good play. It's one thing to know the role to play but it's another to play it in the right way at the right time. Only
experience grows this ability.

When we see the world as a stage we automatically start to learn a new craft. Over time all great actors develop many 'stage skills'. We often quietly admire the older and wiser actors amongst us on the stage of life around us, when we see how 'crafty' they can be. We too have this opportunity to learn the same craft. Each day we walk on to the stage of life and play our part in the drama of life. Each day is both a performance and a rehearsal. Each scene is a workshop and a canvas upon which we can create and leave something beautiful or something not so beautiful! And as we do, we receive a reflection of our creative contribution in the mirror of our relationships. And as we do we will know by how we feel whether we are 'playing life' or just surviving life.

Question: In which relationships in your life do you tend to be the most serious? Why?

Reflection: Why do you tend to identify your self with the role/s you play?

Action: Take a moment to write down all the roles you can play in your relationships in an average day. Then, for each role identify the skills required to play that role well.