Uncommon Sense for Work & Play
Bill Cottringer

“Success and happiness are a result of using uncommon sense, while failure and unhappiness are the consequence of using everything else.” ~The author.

Success and happiness in life are most often tied to your efforts in reaching a healthy balance between the two primary aspects of life—work and play. How is your balance in these two main areas of living? The answer may depend on how much uncommon sense you use to get to the middle ground between these two areas of living.


If you approach your job as “work” and it consistently takes up more than a third of your day, you have missed one very important point of life. While working at a job is a very important and necessary part of living, it shouldn’t be done with a time-consuming attitude of drudgery and dread. The happiest and most successful people are the one’s who have figured out how to play and have fun during most of the work part of their lives.

To get the right common sense perspective on work, you have to get in touch with your main purpose for being here and what special skills you were given to carry out that purpose. It is convenient if you figure this all out when you are first out of the starting blocks, but we all know that doesn’t happen very often and fortunately there is value in the saying, “better late than never.” Isn’t it funny that we are born into a total life of play and somehow learn to make it all work.


If you have to work at things like eating, sleeping, relationships, household chores, hobbies, religion and recreation, you have missed another very important point of life. To be happy and successful, you have to maintain a healthy balance between work and play, but leaning more in the direction of playing. That is because life is really a play, mostly full of comedies, adventures and dramas, with some tragedies occurring just to remind us that they are real and unavoidable.

To get the right perspective on the playing part of life, you have to learn to develop an appreciative, understanding, accepting and expectation-less attitude towards life and people as they are, without the need for your puny personal interventions in trying to make everything into what you think your want it to be. A hard reality to swallow but a true one is that things are generally just fine the way they are, in the eventual forward motion and speed of which they are progressing. But you can only get there after waking up to what your failures have been trying to tell you all along about this, and that takes great courage, humility and patience during adversity, all of which are very easy to resist.

If you are out of balance in these two areas of life, here are seven good questions to ask yourself to help restore some reasonable equilibrium:

• What parts of my job do I dread most or take too seriously, and what is changeable about that? (Who really decides this?)
• What am I doing to work too hard at having fun and how can I loosen-up or lighten-up? (What am I needlessly letting get the best of me?)
• What parts of life haven’t I enjoyed and appreciated enough and when can I start? (What am I waiting for?)
• How am I contributing to making the serious part of life a little more serious than it needs to be? (What am I getting out of being over-serious?)
• What is holding me back from making more time for pure enjoyment and fun? (What excuses should I give up?)
• Am I savoring enjoyable things enough or am I in too big of a hurry to move on to something else? (What’s the rush on this?)
• What do I need to do to start leaning more in the direction of playing in life? (What choices should I be making that I am ignoring or which ones have been wrong about this?)

Someone once asked the Dalai Lama if it were possible to be happy all the time and he just smiled. Are your smiling?

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is President of Puget Sound Security in Bellevue, WA., along with being a Sport Psychologist, Business Success Coach, Photographer and Writer living in the scenic mountains of North Bend. He is author of several business and self-development books, including his latest book “Reality Repair” coming shortly from Global Vision Press. Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (425) 454-5011 or ckuretdoc@comcast.net