Before we begin
Before you begin reading this post, grab a pen and paper and quickly jot down twenty things you do for fun. The order isn’t important. I’m not talking about things that are necessarily good for you or make you a better person, or that eventually lead to success or overall life satisfaction; just things you enjoy doing. You know, fun.
Done? Okay, great. Now, look at this photo of my daughter:
- First, I don’t believe success can be taught—you either have it in you or you don’t. If I knew how to be hugely successful, I’d be off doing it instead of sitting here blogging.
- Second, I don’t believe happiness, or even satisfaction, comes directly from success. As far as I can tell, the most successful people tend to be the opposite of satisfied. The highest achievement invariably goes to the insatiable types. Look at Lance Armstrong: how many Tours de France does he need to win before he’s satisfied? It’s a rhetorical question, with no answer. Show me a world-beater, and I’ll show you infinite hunger and ambition.
So don’t think of this as the blog equivalent of a Motivational Speech. Think of it as more of a Mollificational Speech: without addressing your success, or lack thereof, I’m going to try to recommend a few tips on how to have more fun, which might just help a bit with the pleasure side of the happiness equation.What children can teach us
- They eschew dignity almost entirely;
- They find the fun in almost any circumstance by living in the moment, managing to almost never be preoccupied by anything;
- They continually cultivate new ways to have fun;
- They routinely, automatically defend their right to do fun things like playing and goofing off.
Living in the Moment
- Incidental – this activity can be sneaked in among other humdrum activities
- Solitude – logistically uncomplicated, but takes you away from your family and friends
- Other people – this activity requires the participation of others, presenting a specific logistical challenge to its frequency
- Expensive – the frequency of this activity may be limited due to its cost
- Buy-in challenge – the activity is so frivolous and/or time-intensive you and/or your spouse has trouble buying into it
- Logistical challenge – this category comprises all other logistical challenges
What if your list looks nothing like this? What if your activities are over-represented in some categories, while other columns are totally blank? Well, if you’re satisfied with the amount of fun in your life anyway, great! In fact, I’d like to see what your list looks like. I’m a student of all this myself, with only two lists to look at (mine and Alexa’s), so I welcome any input.
Of course there are other possible buy-in challenges. For example, if “looking at unclean imagines on the web” is on your list, or “chatting with strangers online while ignoring my family,” you probably don’t deserve buy-in.