My mother received her PhD in early child development when I was a youngster. I was often her test subject. As a result I associated my mother’s love with taking tests. That alone gave me a great advantage throughout my academic studies.

A central focus of my mother’s studies was the importance of play in cognitive development. From her I learned that people play to learn. Play is an expression of that which we enjoy. In other words, play reflects our most passionate explorations.

During my time at the World Bank, helping to lead an international initiative in “knowledge management,” I saw firsthand how professional passion drives innovation. Those who were most passionate about their efforts were the same professionals who most often developed new ways of succeeding at their work.

The piano in the picture above appeared on the streets of Bethesda this last Friday, inviting passerbys to make music. I saw at least one person sit down and let loose in the short time I was standing there.

Do you have an invitation to your people to “let loose” and play? How might you yourself play in the week ahead?

“Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her: but once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game.”