Can you go through life playfully?

Earlier this week, I attended a meeting of a local Toastmasters club. (Toastmasters is an international organization of clubs for people who want to improve their public speaking.)

When I registered to attend as a guest, I received a confirmation email from the Vice President of Membership. I chuckled at her formal title and maybe I rolled my eyes a bit too.

Perusing the organization’s website before the event, Toastmasters meetings struck me as incredibly organized. Each evening, there are four speakers, and four people to evaluate those speakers. There is someone to evaluate the evaluators, someone to count “ahs”, someone to keep track of the time, and more. I like having structure, but I dislike pompousness, so I wondered whether I’d click with the club members.

Fortunately, they were very relaxed and friendly. They followed the Toastmasters structure and rules, but there was plenty of humor and lightheartedness. I had a blast and I will certainly be coming back to this club.

Anyway, all this got me thinking: are you able to go through life playfully? At work and at home, can you crack jokes? Do others take themselves too seriously, making life boring or miserable for everybody else?

As I like to say, you won’t feel good if you don’t align with the values of the people around you. So if you value playfulness, as I do, and the people you work with don’t, or your partner doesn’t—that’s not a recipe for long-term happiness.

Yours,

— Peter

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