Are We Having Fun, Yet?

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Fun is not exactly a word I would use to describe this past year. Right now, finding fun and play in life may seem daunting and it’s exactly what we need to do to heal ourselves and shift our attitudes in order to stay healthy and sane!

The word ‘fun’ has been so overused and confusing, it’s meaningless.  What does it mean when you tell someone to “Have fun” or ask them “Did you have fun?”   It’s a placeholder, a generic greeting.  It’s a shame that we see the FUN in fun!

In the big picture, fun happens when you deliberately maneuver a familiar situation in a new way.  Fun isn’t in you, it’s in the world that serves as your playground. Fun is novelty in the every day. It’s playing with what is. We often dismiss fun and play as meaningless activities. The fact is, they’re universal motivators to further action!  We’re in the moment, in the “zone,” where we lose track of time and are lost in the activity.

We tend separate fun from work. Why? Fun can rise from work, from the risk of getting out of our zone of comfort and feeling the challenge of what’s before us!

Jobs are fun when the work is meaningful. When what you do matters and doing what you do over and over at work pushes you forward in a good way.  While we’re “in the moment” of taking chances and hoping the client likes what we do, say or create, it doesn’t feel that way….but AFTERWARDS, we describe the experience of getting there as fun.

A fun game of tennis may involve extreme exertion, yet it doesn’t FEEL that way, because you’re enjoying the moment. You’re in a state of Flow. Flow theory, developed by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, contends that we perform the best when we develop a mesmerizing focus on an experience over which we have enough control to produce and execute successfully.

It’s the sweet spot between boredom and anxiety.  If things are too easy, we get bored. That’s not fun. If something is too hard, it causes anxiety. That’s not fun, either!  When you’re in the flow, in the zone…however you describe it, thing just work. The ideas come easily, your golf swing is “on”, you know just what to say in a meeting.  Doesn’t that sound like fun?

This is where we play. Joy, pleasure and fun live beyond boredom and before frustration. It’s FUN to do what we’re doing! We trust the process. We intuitively know what to do next. We’re not in our heads. We’re present.

Fun isn’t easy.  It’s challenging at times and rewarding and makes us feel great! It’s not only the delight in success, it’s also the panic of uncertainty and the agony of failure. 

Fun requires us to see the hidden potential in ordinary things so that we can use them in a different way.  Having more fun means making a commitment to seeing everyday life with fresh eyes and a challenge to “find the fun!”

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