“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” Dale Carnegie
Years ago, while attending a conference in New York City, I stole away from a meeting so I could hear Dr. Norman Vincent Peale speak at Marble Collegiate Church. After all, he was famous. As the author of one of the best-selling books of all time, “The Power of Positive Thinking,” Dr. Peale was still speaking to thousands of people every year — even though he was in his 90’s.
I was not disappointed. His energy and wisdom were vibrantly alive. And I’ll never forget his comment that day. He said, “There is only one group of people that don’t have problems, and they are all dead. Problems are a sign of life. So the more problems you have, the more alive you are.”
Of course, he was speaking somewhat tongue-in-cheek. But he was also deadly serious. He was saying, in effect, that everyone has problems. No one is immune to problems in life.
And that in itself is a problem … because no one seems to welcome problems. In fact, just the opposite is the case. Almost everyone wants to be happy, searches for it, dreams of it, and longs for it.
So how do you get fewer problems in life? And how do you find more happiness? I could give you lots of answers — but one simple answer is to put more FUN in your life. I’ve found five ways to do that — and they’re just a part of what I teach in my program, “Take This Job And Love It: A Program For Managing Stress, Preventing Burnout, And Balancing Life.”
Here are five ways to put more FUN into your life and your job.
=> 1. Believe in FUN
In other words, you’ve got to believe that FUN is just plain good for you … good for you physically. There’s plenty of research evidence that shows fun and laughter release those natural pain-killing, good-feeling endorphins into your body. And as author Matt Weinstein says, “If you take yourself too seriously, there’s a good chance you’ll end up seriously ill.”
FUN and laughter are also good for you emotionally. They reduce the negative impact of the stressors in your life. Or as the sign in my office reads, “He who laughs … lasts.”
I need to remember that … and maybe you too. I’ve accomplished an incredible amount in my life because I’ve taken success very seriously. And I’ve devoted my life to teaching you those success secrets in my two-day program, The JOURNEY TO THE EXTRAORDINARY
But I’ve also had to learn the value of FUN and balance. After all, very few people on their deathbed will say they should have attended more meetings, made more money, or spent more time at the office. But I’ll bet a lot of people will say they should have laughed more, smiled more, and had more fun.
=> 2. Look For FUN
It’s out there, all around you, if you just look. And the more you look, the more FUN you’ll find.
For example, I just finished another offering of my two-day JOURNEY TO THE EXTRAORDINARY experience in London. One of my UK associates, Anne Stanton, volunteered to “tick off” the attendees for me. I thought that was the last thing I wanted to happen. I saw no need to needlessly upset the people. Then I learned that “ticking off” the people meant she was going to “check them off” the registration list as they entered.
Fun is everywhere. You can find it or make it. And it doesn’t have to be expensive. Matt Weinstein, the author of “Play Fair,” gives one example. He says you could have a slice of cheese cake delivered to a friend’s house or hotel room … in the middle of the night. Attach a note that says, “Thinking of you. Are you thinking of me?” You don’t even have to sign your note. Let them use their imagination.
You need to be on the lookout for fun. I am. While in California, I read Chuck Thomas’ column in the Ventura County Star. He said:
*A pessimist’s blood type is always B-negative.
*Practice safe eating — always use condiments.
*A Freudian slip is when you say one thing but mean your mother.
*Shotgun wedding: A case of wife or death.
*A hangover is the wrath of grapes.
*Is a book on voyeurism a peeping tome?
*Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?
*A successful diet is the triumph of mind over platter.
So look for FUN. It’s out there, all around you everyday.
=> 3. Record The FUN
When you see something funny, or hear something funny, write it down. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you will remember it. You won’t.
Personally, I’ve written down thousands — yes thousands — of funny stories, jokes, one liners, and situations I’ve come across. And I keep on writing down funny things.
When I was at the GCHQ in England — which is similar to the CIA in America — I was speaking on work-life balance. One woman in the audience said, “There is always a lot to be thankful for if you take the time to look for it. For example, I am thinking how nice it is that wrinkles don’t hurt.” I wrote it down so I could remember to share it with some other audiences I would be speaking to.
=> 4. Review The FUN
If you’re trying to build a team, one of the better things you can do is take some time to review the fun you’ve had over the years or throughout the course of a project. Sure, there might have been hard times, but even those things might bring smiles and laughter in retrospect. Talk about the “good old times.”
The same thing goes for a family. Nothing is more bonding than sharing your funny stories from the past. Some of your stories have even become classics that can be told over and over again.
Such was the case with my wife Chris. Working in intensive care and the emergency room she often had a stethoscope on the car seat. One day, when daughter Sara was on the way to preschool, she picked it up and began playing with it. Chris thought, “Great. My daughter wants to follow in my foot steps or even become a doctor.” Just then Sara spoke into the stethoscope, “Welcome to McDonalds. May I take your order?” That’s a story that gets reviewed every once in a while.
You’ve got to review the fun. And I don’t care how difficult your life has been. You’ve had some fun along the way. You simply may not remember it. As W. N. Rieger says, “Much unhappiness results from our inability to remember the nice things that happen to us.”
I would wager that you already have a lot of fun events recorded. Take a look at your old photo albums or review your videos of some trips you’ve taken. After all, you never took pictures of the great big fight you were having with your spouse, and you never video taped one of your kids temper tantrums. You recorded the FUN stuff. Now review it once in a while.
=> 5. Share The FUN
There’s an old Swedish proverb that says “Shared joy is a double joy.” It’s true. When you talk about the FUN you’ve had or the FUN you’re having, others get to join in. And they often add their own stories that will make you smile and make you laugh.
Lillian Carter, the mother of President Jimmy Carter, was known for sharing the FUN. When her son Jimmy was making some stupid political decisions, and when her other son Billy kept showing up drunk, she said, “Sometimes I look at my children and say, ‘Lillian, I think you should have remained a virgin.'” Her comment gave her a bit of relief as it amused others. That’s what sharing is all about.
You’ve seen the bumper strip that asks, “Are we having any fun yet?” Well that all depends on you and the choices you make. I’ve just given you five choices you should make.
Action: Fun is the antidote to stress. Do five things this week to put more FUN in your life.