Sunday 22 June 2014

School of Life

Do you ever have times when it seems like everyone else has the answers you're still busy searching for? Like you're always one step behind? Well a friend and I had been feeling a bit like that recently so we set off in search of answers. And, where better to start the search than The School of Life?

The School of Life by its own words is "devoted to developing emotional intelligence through the help of culture" but what does that actually mean and what can it actually do for you? 

Quite simply, The School of Life runs a series of afternoon and evening classes dedicated to different topics which could realistically be affecting a variety of people. These classes vary from work related, to personal confidence to relationships and all aim to help instill some advice and guidance to those that attend. Intrigued by the idea myself and Stanners attended the Work Life Balance event. Now I think I should point out here that fundamentally I think I have a pretty good work life balance, but I think everyone would agree it could always be better. The fact that you are always contactable and carry around the constant stress of 'things to do' lists mean we never actually feel like we totally switch off. 

Doesn't that just flow off the tongue so well
We arrived at the SOL, a quite unobtrusive venue with a simple sign hanging at the front and an interior filled with books proffering to help teach you an endless array of skills. After helping ourselves to a glass of wine and elderflower we were directed downstairs into a little room decorated artistically with lots of motifs all over the wall. Taking our seats we were all asked to introduce ourselves and why we were here - a bit councillor-esque but not really that imposing. 

Our lecturer for the evening, Jean Paul, then went on to discuss various theories and rationalisations for why we all feel like this, calling out the phrase a 'Willing Slave'; saying how we all, to a certain extent enjoy the burdens put on us and offering lots of advice on how to deal with these things. I don't want to go into too much detail about the whole evening, after all if you are really interested in this sort of thing, you can check out the class list here and register. But there was one thing that was said that did really stick with me and I want to share. 

It was around the art of play. Described as a mix between process and enjoyment, Jean Paul asked us to think about what sort of players we are and how we enjoy playing, both at home and at work.

Now to me this was a bit of a random concept and the cynic in me was a bit unsure, but actually I really bought into this idea. He said there are eight types of 'playing' and each of us will enjoy (to a varying degree) several of these types at any given time. I quite like being able to identify myself with things; that to me is almost a game in its own right, so, I thought it would be 'fun' to share these with you and ask you the question of what type of player you are? 

1. The Joker - you enjoy being silly, making up nonsense and seek social acceptance by getting people to laugh with you
2. The Kinesthitist - you enjoy dancing and playing games, your fun comes in the movement of activity
3. Explorer - you enjoy both mental and physical exploration, you can often be found with your head in the clouds or planning your next vacation
4. Competitors - you enjoy playing for the sole purpose of winning, you have a specific outcome in mind and victory is your game
5. Director - you are a born organiser, you enjoy to plan parties and events and love to please people through your efforts
6. Collector - you can collect anything and enjoy doing this socially as part of a group and in isolation
7. Artist - you find pleasure in the making or painting of things. You love to create something new
8. The storyteller - for you, a strong narrative is key, anything can be seen to be a drama and have a plot and you enjoy playing your part

So there you have it - the eight types of play. I for one think I am a mixture of several of these, though not all, but mostly the storyteller stands out for me. After all, what sort of blogger and writer would I be if I didn't enjoy telling a good story?


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