The purpose of this project was to investigate play and our cultural assumptions as to its usefulness or lack there of. The concepts of hard work versus hard play were explored in order to discover when human beings are operating at their best. In terms of innovation and productivity in the business world and life, the utility of being playful was the focus of this thesis. The method for writing the paper was to conduct secondary research of a variety of materials including books, magazines, articles, papers, videos, and interviews. A diversity of references provided a vast foundation for this project. The major findings included the nature of optimal experiences being spontaneous, the foundations of learning being play, and the effectiveness of using intrinsic rewards to develop innovative and productive employees. The project revealed that play is the state of being when humans operate at full capacity without interference along with the tensions between work and play within systems of interaction. The strongest conclusion of this project was that play occurs within structures where the various frameworks of societies, businesses, and other relationships join to do the work and labor of life that define and contrast the moments of free play. Without the limits of work, play could not be recognized. This paper helped the author and its readers to understand the interactions in order not to be slaves to the structures but rather to see them as games.
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