Is FUN a waste of time or an investment in your future

No one would argue that these are challenging times. Some might even call them crazy, stressed-out, burned-out, worrisome times. And they’re probably affecting you in some ways.

The good news is there is something you can do about it. It might sound simplistic and even unrealistic, but FUN is a great antidote to all these things that may be robbing your peace-of-mind.

Dale Carnegie said it best. As one of the greatest human relations experts of the last 100 years, he made a bold pronouncement a long time ago that may be more relevant today than ever before. He said:

“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.”

That makes sense, doesn’t it? Success and fun tend to go together.

However, I’ve also learned that you can’t simply sit back and wait for fun to enter your life. You need to do a few things to make sure fun is in your life and is a meaningful part of your life. Try this.




► 1. Believe in FUN


You’ve got to believe that FUN is just plain good for you … good for you physically.

There’s plenty of research 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 the office of one of clients reads, “He who laughs … lasts.”

I need to remember that … and maybe you do too. I’ve accomplished an incredible amount in my life because I’ve taken success very seriously. But I’ve also had to learn the value of FUN and balance. After all, very few people on their deathbed 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, when I was teaching 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 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 every day. (BTW: You probably won’t find it on any of the news channels.)

► 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 footsteps 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 videotaped one of your kid’s temper tantrums. You recorded the FUN stuff. Now review it once in a while.

Final Thought: One of my most requested programs is Take This Job and Love It! How to De-Stress, Re-Charge, and Re-Balance Your Life and Work in a Crazy Busy WorldIt’s not only FUN and practical, it re-energizes individuals and workplaces.