Do you have a recreational life? I mean a real recreational life that involves physical activity and play? If you’re looking to be more innovative in your professional or personal life, you need to get a recreational life.

By innovative, I mean that you possess the ability to think originally and notice and use insights or knowledge that arises out of your experience.

By recreation, I mean that you play hard and engage your physical senses.

It’s no secret that physical exertion over time, usually more than 30 minutes, causes changes to our brain activity. A 2017 literature review in the Journal Brain Plasticity reported that improved behavioral changes in cognitive tasks such as attention and focus, mood states, and stress reduction result from various physical activity endeavors (Basso & Suzuki). It’s no wonder that having a recreational life can improve innovative thinking.

Your inspired, insightful thinking is a golden ticket. If used, it creates a personalized roadmap. But you have to learn to read its symbols and comprehend how to transform the messages you receive into the right action for you. Integral action is no easy feat in today’s noisy world of influence and manipulation of your attention.

Instead of outsourcing the navigation in your life to institutions, influencers, and the media (social and otherwise), why not activate and follow your own map? Seriously, you have an indescribable brilliance inside you. It’s worth taking the time to pay attention to that brilliance and seeing where it leads you when you look, listen, and feel your way along your map.

Perspective determines what you recognize. Whether or not you realize the essential lessons for yourself in the moment defines your personalized learning effectiveness and whether you can use it to propel you by innovative thinking.

I want to help you learn how to shift your perspective from its default mode to an optimal perspective that emerges from within the kaleidoscope of you.

Life evolves by adaptation. Adaptation is learning. If we want to evolve, we have to learn. If we want to evolve with intention, we have to pay attention and follow the clear direction as it unfolds to us. Realizing insight and responding accurately to that insight are functions of adaptation in your learning brain. Your learning conditions the choices you make and the actions you take. If you want to innovate, you have to expand your perspective.

Expanding your perspective does not happen on sheer will alone. One can only do so much mental gymnastics to convince themselves to see differently than one usually does. And while cognitive re-framing and affirmative thinking are useful tools, they are better used as auxiliary methods to the actual change-makers for instilling new habitual patterns of thinking than for launching into transformative and innovative ways of being.

Perspective that changes realities involves neurochemical changes in the brain, heart, and gut. One healthy way to do that is through recreational play.

Immersion in a physically demanding experience ignites your attention in the present moment and transforms your thinking quality, lending you new perspective — This. is. gold. And it is accessible to you.

You are the only gatekeeper.

Remember your personalized learning map from a short bit ago? The new view makes the clues on your map recognizable and therefore usable. If you cannot recognize your map, you cannot follow it. You must therefore activate it so you can see it. Once it’s activated, it’s almost like you have superpowers. But they’re not that, they are natural powers. Perhaps we might even call them supra-natural powers (wink).

This is part one in a series of short articles that will address innovative thinking through recreational play.

In the next article, immersion experiences and the activation of your personal map will be discussed. The idea that immersion in a physically demanding experience ignites your attention in the present moment and transforms your thinking quality, lending you new perspective will be discussed in greater detail in part two.

The third article in this series will explore knowledge types and how they develop and what that means for innovative thinking.

A fourth article will explain how the concept of flow states fits into this discussion and some of the personal experiences I’ve had leading up to the discovery of this process.

And a final fifth article will consider the next steps and refining your abilities toward intentional innovative thinking so that you live into the potential of your life, personally and professionally.

Make no doubt about it, innovative thinking is how you will transform your life, and it is how we, together, will transform the cultures we are a part of so that we may all thrive.

Innovative (and ethical) thinking can guide our world toward a thriving and livable future that is meant for all of us.

Reference cited

Basso, J. C. & Suzuki, W. A. (2017). The effects of acute exercise on mood, cognition, neurophysiology, and neurochemical pathways: A review. Brain Plasticity, 2, 127–152. doi 10.3233/BPL-160040