I learned a new word this week - kinesthete.
I found it that same book I mentioned in last week's post. It was in reference to styles of play. Dr. Stuart Brown in his book, Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, identifies eight different play personalities:
I haven’t read his book yet but it’s certainly going on my list. I found reference to Dr. Brown’s work in, The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership, which I heartily recommend.
The concept of the kinesthete really grabbed me. Someone who plays through movement. Other styles of play may involve movement, the Artist and the Competitor jump immediately to mind, but the Kinesthete moves simply for the joy of movement. This resonates with me - a lot.
It explains to a large degree why I do what I do. How it’s so easy for me to prioritize my workouts and movement sessions. And perhaps why, for some of you, that’s not so easy.
Now this is not to say that you or I fit into one of these categories and that’s all there is to it. Hardly. I, in fact find play in several of these categories, including exploring, art, storytelling, and even, believe it or not, joking. Collecting, directing, and competition, however, are my least favorites. Much as I’m sure you’ll find categories you resonate with and others you don’t.
As I explore in myself how I react to those modes of play I don’t appreciate I can begin to understand how movement, for some of you, is just not that pleasant. That you come and do this stuff anyway absolutely amazes me.
I can do all of the above. Just like you. I can even do the things I don’t like, collecting, directing, and competing. The difference though is that those three things are not play to me.
I know collectors. The Grip King, Jedd Johnson, is one of the greatest collectors I know. He collected comic books and especially pro wrestling memorabilia as a kid and and even though he’s not an active collector now he still can talk for hours about the collections he had and how much fun he had sorting and rearranging his collections. You can feel the joy he takes from it even removed by years.
I love to hear him talk about it. But to do it myself? That would bore me to tears.
I know competitors. Folks whose eye is always on the next event. Jedd’s one of those too. In fact most of my colleagues in fitness are competitors of one form or another. Here’s a secret - many of them even hate their training. Muhammed Ali is quoted as saying he hated to train. The competition, however, and the joy they get from competing makes all the effort worthwhile.
I, however, am perfectly happy spending the rest of my days training. There’s no event I’m getting ready for, no enemy to conquer, no team to beat. I just love to move, to feel the strain of my muscles and the effort of my work.
I mistakenly thought that everyone felt this way, or given the right opportunities would come to feel this way.
I apologize for my folly.
We all know we need to move. We know that exercise is important, it keeps us healthy and feeling better physically. but I now understand that for some of us getting to it is just easier. Movement for us is play and play is fun. If it’s not play, it’s not fun and the effort you put forth to do it is greater, much like when I force myself to do a competition or direct a social event.
So, I just wanted to give you a nod. To let you know, you inspire me and I’m honored that you’re here.
To our perfect imperfection,