People all over the world love to smile, laugh, giggle, tickle, fist-bump, high-five, fanny-pat and just have a good time. They do it by playing cards, going to the movies to see La La Land or Hidden Figures, grabbing their guitars and belting out a chorus of “Kumbaya,” or running on the beach in their bare feet. Anywhere in the world where people are gathered, you can bet that someone is pulling a finger or telling a joke about the farmer’s daughter. Slipping on a banana peel has always been and will always be funny. Fun is universal
Still, when it comes to having a serious conversation about fun, many people just tune out; there is nothing serious to be said about it—it’s just fun. That’s what kids do after school. That’s what adults do on the weekend. That’s what we all wish we could have more of: fun.
And there are some who say that you don’t improve yourself or your life through the experience of fun! I disagree—wholeheartedly.
The problem I find is that we as a society have negatively impacted and minimized the value of real fun, serious fun, and the importance it plays in having a happy and successful personal life and professional career. We limit our vision to that one, narrow arena—the good time; the bar fun, the party fun.
Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with just having a good time. I’m all for it. Many a night I have gone to a play or picked up my guitar. But if that’s the only way we see it, then we are missing out on a whole other segment of fun—serious fun that enriches and enlivens our lives. This is the fun you have when you work at something and figure out how to do it well: something that you’ve put time and effort into, your heart and soul into and then live in the satisfaction of a job well done.
What we need to get past is the stigma attached to fun as being only related to the trivial and start to take it seriously. We need to shift the paradigm of what fun has become to include what it should be. Forget beer pong, let’s start associating fun with ideas like work, passion, attitude, and joy. We should derive our fun from the self-satisfaction of knowing that we did our best, and that we did meaningful work well.
Wouldn’t it be great that at the end of a hard day’s work, when a friend asks you how your day went and you reply, “Oh, it was great fun!” – that they knew exactly what you meant. Now that’s FUN!