BETTER THAN HAPPY – Episode 263
THIS IS GOING TO BE FUN! We’ve heard Jody say this a hundred times, or more. Is it possible to pull out this thought and believe this thought, when the chore before us looks anything but fun? Let’s look at this today. It will be … fun!
“Human beings are naturally designed to play. It’s innate in us… How can we create more fun?”
My first thought after reading that statement is this: How can I make __________ more fun for the children? And there are at least a couple things wrong with this question.
First, sometimes I don’t think about myself and about how fun would benefit me and help me stick to a goal.
Second, if the children are having fun, it’s because they are thinking thoughts that bring feelings of fun, not because I have somehow “made” it fun. It’s the model – we know this.
“Things and people and events are not fun. They are just things outside of us. We either have fun or we don’t. Fun is an experience that either we create for ourselves on don’t.”
Let’s think of a few examples.
I joined a women’s book club over quarantine. We meet outside someone’s home, sitting six feet apart. Yes, we’re very socially responsible. Ha ha. And we have read some good books! But this and next month, in preparation for Halloween, the women decided to read scary or creepy books. Scary books are not fun for me. Scary movies are not fun for me. But for some people, they are absolutely thrilling – so much fun. They create that fun for themselves. But I choose not to.
How about water parks. Same thing, right?
Football games? I could sit through a game for hours, having just so much fun. I love football games! But no one in my family finds fun in watching football. And that’s okay. We have chosen to have different experiences with football.
And roller coasters. And monopoly. (Don’t get me started on Monopoly. I banned the game from our home before we even had a home.) And math. My boys have fun doing math. My daughter doesn’t.
We can create a fun experience, or we don’t have to, right?
Why would it benefit us to create more fun in our day-to-day responsibilities? I think that it would keep us more committed and more motivated, more creative, more patient. We would be using that primal desire to actually serve us better, right? And that is powerful.
Six things to create more fun:
- Do your best to work in the “fun-zone”. This looks like a space or a zone where the action item is not too hard for us, but not too easy, either. For example, I took a Hebrew class in University. I thought it would be incredibly fun. But it was really so difficult that it was not fun at all. In fact, I still have nightmares that I haven’t completed that course. Another example is learning a piano piece. If it is too easy, like Row Row Row Your Boat, it isn’t actually any fun for me. And if it is too challenging, like Chopin’s Ballade No 1 in G Minor, Op 23, it is so frustrating. (By the way, that is one of my favorite pieces of all time on the piano. If you don’t own it already, treat yourself to this gem on itunes!) The “fun zone” is that space where the item to be done is challenging, but not entirely overwhelming you.
- Laugh at your shortcomings. This will create more fun in your life. And some of those shortcomings you will want to be curious about and work toward improving, but, I think there are some that I am very happy to keep laughing about, my entire life. For example, I always sing the wrong lyrics to the songs on the radio. I don’t know, maybe I hear them differently than anyone else. But it brings a lot of laughter to my kids and it creates a lot of fun for me. “When I can not be defensive of my faults and not think that I have to hide them and not think that they’re a problem, I can laugh at them, which helps me embrace all of it … When we shame ourselves and beat ourselves up, that doesn’t change anything – that doesn’t help us improve. What helps us improve is to laugh at it a little bit, lighten up a little bit, and then step in and do better if we want to. That is much more available when you’re having fun and you embrace yourself … I love me anyway.”
- Make it a game. How can I make this a game? When I worked the phones at InvestTools, me and the guy in the cubical next to me would play a game where we had to fit some odd phrase naturally into a phone conversation. Whoever did first, won. This game made it a lot more pleasant to be on the phone taking calls. What about with lifting at the gym? Could I make it a game? It is not my favorite thing, but it is so good for body. What about cleaning the windows? Or learning a new skill that I don’t want to learn? “Games are fun, but we still take them really seriously.”
- Nothing has to be heavy or serious. “Make peace (with what is going on) first … then if you want to change your experience after that, change it because it would be so much fun.” Can you feel at peace about your body first? Then, if you want, lose weight, not because you have to in order to love yourself, but because losing the weight would be so much fun to do. Or making money. Can you be at peace with the money you have right now? And then, if you want to make more, make more because you think it would be fun. Not to prove anything. “Maybe you need to give yourself a little time and space to process first. Maybe you need a little time to let it feel heavy. But ultimately, if we can get to a place of, This is going to be fun. Let’s go all in on this. Then, I promise you, you will be ten times more effective. Because the energy that that brings, the creativity that that brings, the commitment and drive that that brings is way more useful than the heavy seriousness of stress and anxiety.”
- Engage all your senses. “The more senses you can engage, the more fun it can be.” How about with scripture study with the kids in the morning. The Book of Mormon can be in front of every child (sight), and the hard copies so they can turn the pages (touch). I could have primary songs playing softly in the background (hearing), and breakfast on the table (smell and taste). When I was nursing my babies, I had such a difficult time. It hurt so much, and I got mastitis almost every month. But I really wanted to be able to do this for my infants. So, I would put on The Chronicles of Narnia to listen to while I was nursing. And I wouldn’t listen to it any other time. I wanted to make nursing more “fun” in this way.
- Remember to be the fun. Don’t wait for it to happen to you, or wait for someone else to offer it to you. I can be the fun. I can offer it to others. I don’t really consider myself funny, but I can be. My children think I can be hilarious. Some of the most funny people I know are some of the best at being themselves. Kristy Glass. Julie Rose. Christine Nielsen. Wendy Nielsen. Suzanne Holmes. These people have me rolling on the ground! They are so incredibly fun. “We’re drawn to people who are authentic, who are really themselves. So BE THE FUN!”