The Life-Changing Power Of Having Fun: A Thought Experiment

You wake up tomorrow, roll out of bed, and ask yourself one question: “What sounds fun?”

Then you do whatever that is. You skip work, you go snowboarding, you read a good book, find a sitter for the kids and hang out with your spouse, or you grab a beer with friends.

Your day is filled with pure, untainted joy.

Rather than your day being dominated by “What do I need to do?”, your day is dominated by a single, silly question…

“What sounds fun?”

Seems ridiculous, doesn’t it?

I mean, really… if you did what was fun all the time, you’d never get anything important finished, you’d never progress in your career, and you’d probably even lose your job!

You can’t just… have fun all the time!

Hold up, buttercup.

Let’s talk about why having fun is your only logical option.

Is It Crazy To Have Fun While Cleaning Up Your Two-Year Old’s Shit?

At some point last night, my beautiful little daughter pulled off her diaper and crapped all over her crib. By the time we woke her up this morning, most of that crap was gone — we don’t know if she ate it or hid it, but there’s nowhere to hide it. 😬

I had plans to go to work early and my wife had plans to get some exercise in… but now we’re both stuck gagging as we scrub an irreversibly poop-shat mattress.

Fun.

But we don’t have an option. If we don’t clean it, well… I’m not sure what would happen; our house would perpetually smell like baby crap, Andie would probably get sick, and did I mention the smell?

We just… have to clean up the crap.

No choice. No way around it.

And we all have to do stuff that we don’t want to do. Whether you like it or not, you have to file taxes this year, you have to wake up and go to work, and you have to fix stuff that breaks around your house.

Most of the time, we do those things — the things we despise — hating every second of it. We become bitter and frustrated. We say things like, “Ugh. Again? Why me?” or “Jesus. Seriously. This always happens.”

What would happen, though, if you had fun doing those things — the things you hate?

What would your life be like if you enjoyed… all of it?

But… wouldn’t that mean I’m in denial? Would that make me a crazy person — to enjoy stuff that sucks? 

You tell me: is it crazy to have fun doing stuff that you dislike? Or is it crazy to make yourself miserable doing something that you have to do anyways?

After all, if you have to do it, then why not have fun doing it? Why not smile, laugh, and enjoy yourself every second of the way?

Wouldn’t you be much happier living like that?

Of course you would!

My wife and I were…

Ha!

Okay, Mike. That’s great. But how the hell am I supposed to have fun doing stuff that I don’t want to do? 

Well, the trick is to let go of your judge-y attitude.

Judgement Will Always Keep You From Having Fun

The more that you judge something, the less fun you’re going to have.

When I’m writing one of these articles, for example, I could think to myself, “Man, that wording isn’t quite right. How frustrating!” or “Christ! I’m never going to be a great thinker or writer!”

And the moment that I engage with those thoughts, I’ve lost momentum, I’ve stopped engaging with my creative abilities and I’ve stopped enjoying the moment.

I’m too busy judging the thing to have any fun doing it… even though writing is something I actually love to do!

Here’s the kicker: the reason that you hate doing certain things (going to work, filing taxes, etc) is the exact same reason that you struggle to do things that you naturally love — judgement, judgement, judgement.

I’m not good enough.

Why does this always happen to me? 

Ugh — I’m so unlucky.

You judge situations before they even occur — “Taxes suck!” — and you judge yourself before you even have a chance to prove anything — “I suck!”

I like the way that Lori Deschene at Tiny Buddha puts it…

“It’s hard to be fully present and have fun when a part of you is getting lost in a mental maze.”

And while it’s easy to assume that those judgements are helping you make good decisions about what you’re doing and how you feel, more often, they’re not. They’re just confusing the issue and making you feel like shit for no logical reason at all.

That’s the crazy thing; this debilitating judgement occurs when you’re doing stuff you love and when you’re doing stuff you hate — there’s really no difference! You want to write a book but you never start because you keep thinking “What if I’m terrible at it?” You have to file taxes but you put it off because, “Ugh — I don’t even know where all my documents are!” You want to find the love of your life but you wonder, “What if I’m just… unlovable?”

A.K.A. judgement — it’s all the same.

You’re too busy thinking negative thoughts to enjoy the good, the bad, or the shit-stained!

(And it’s all enjoyable if you give it a chance)

Which make you miserable for the better part of your life.

But since you have to go through all of it (c’est la vie), you’d be crazy to keep living in misery.

The Solution Is To Have More Fun, More Often

Maybe you won’t believe me when I say it…

But fuck it.

You can have fun doing almost anything.

And if you can, then why wouldn’t you?

Why not play good music while you’re filing your taxes? Why not make poop jokes when your two-year-old daughter craps her crib? Why not engage your childlike curiosity when fixing something around the house? Why not greet your coworkers with a smile? Why not give your in-laws an extra big hug?

As for the things you love doing but can’t find the gusto to do, why not let go of internal judgements and just fuckin’ go for it?!

Why not enjoy this moment right now for what it is? Why not make it the best that it can be?

Because, really, it’s all you have.

And if you’re not having fun right now, then you’re missing out.

Fun Is More Powerful Than Judgement

When you have fun doing everything you do — when you let go of all of your internal judgements — you’re going to learn just how powerful having fun really is.

You’re finally going to write that book. You’re going to fall deeply in love with your family. You’re going to build that business and create your dream life. You’re going to approach obstacles — tax season, diaper blowouts, work, house to-dos — with childlike fervor and curiosity. You’re going to smile more, laugh more, and enjoy life more.

Because when fun flourishes, judgement dies.

And sure — some people will think you’re crazy to enjoy every piece of life, to have fun doing all of it.

But now you know, you’re not crazy.

Crazy is consciously choosing misery over joy. Crazy is denying the reality that fun is always possible. Crazy is hating yourself and your life when you’re already you and you’re already here.

No. You’re not crazy.

You’re just realistic.

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Mike Blankenship

Mike is a writer for SUCCESS, AdWeek, and Addicted2Success. He’s been quoted on Forbes and Entrepreneur for his expertise in marketing and personal development. He’s also the owner of Get Your Gusto Back where he helps people reignite their inner fire.

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