I always liked books, always loved picking up a good mystery-horror or a love story and not putting it down until done with the ending. Then came exams, and I tried studying, judiciously but didn't succeed much. It would start, still, like most of the millennials, my attention would abandon me before I am done with a single page. And I found myself wondering why studying can't be fun since it is mostly just reading. And the thought became a long pondering, like really long.
What is fun
The more I thought about it, the more clear it got. That this one-syllable word has many definitions. Fun means enjoyment. It could mean play sometimes. When we are playing we are always having fun, right? It could mean pleasure. It is often interchangeably used with joy and entertainment.
Then there is another observational meaning of the term. Flow. When we are in a motion of work, without any rejection from our body and mind, it is like we have descended into our own world of timelessness and exhilaration.
I hate my job
The 'flow' concept architect, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi explains the relation between fun and flow. He says it is a relationship between our abilities and the challenge in front of us.
I am looking for a challenging job.
Who hasn't used it in their résumé? And I bet you mean it too. But what degree of challenge exactly?
This is what the Hungarian-American psychologist expresses, that challenge and our capabilities should be complimentary. When challenge becomes greater than we can handle, forget about fun, it just leads to anxiety. And when it is too low, we tend to get bored and vexed for loss of achievement, which brings us to the cause of our problem, why we are not able to enjoy our work.
'Maintaining the dynamic balance between abilities and challenge is key to the fun'
Fun at Work to bring success
Even at your office, everyone likes the person who knows how to have fun. Even your managers too! It will keep you in good books.
It is important to do what you enjoy to be successful. Maybe if you spend more time reading those books you enjoy, you will become Editor-in-chief one day. That's what brings me to my past profound query, why can't studies be fun?
It can be if you are aligned with your purpose. So, study not just what interests you but also what is going to bring you closer to your goal.
But there are a few necessary things to be done, which are not fun at all!
How to have fun at work
Well if you are asking about short-term fun, then team outings, office dinners, celebrations, will do the job.
When it comes to long-term enjoyment, to have fun in your work, you need to strike a perfect balance of the above two variables of flow.
According to Csikszentmihalyi, to be in the flow, to effortlessly move from one task to another, you need to sever the distractions completely and find your comfortable environment. Only then one can focus entirely enough that the 'ego falls away, time flies' and you are transported to that level of bliss.
Why you need more fun at work
Brings more Confidence and creates a stronger bond
Once I was interning with a very exuberant woman who was running a startups incubator. She would occasionally have 'Ask Me anything day'. Anything means anything! Which was kind of an icebreaker between the team and the group of new interns, including me. I asked her about the cash flow, profits and how she likes to dispense it. I know, boring! Anyways she complied. She said, mostly, I have fun with my team. We order pizza, get some booze and dance on our desks like animals.
And you should see the confidence with which her team works. They are youngsters generally, with little experience but when they talk, you know they mean business. Not to mention how much they trust and value each other.
Fun brings better experience, more exposure and creativity
Doing fun activities mostly leads to meeting new people and novel experiences. Be it playing video games (like I said in a regulated manner) often brings you in contact with people from all across the globe. You get this global exposure and learning new languages (notwithstanding inglorious slangs) and culture.
We all had our first rememberable b*er or smoke, as a result of what started just having fun with your friends. (Again, regulated!) These acts are what formed our today's portfolio of adventures.
Then there is creativity. When you are enjoying, you tend to have a sense of freedom, which lets your mind roam to parts of the imagination never entered.
Why you need fun in a relationship
"…couples who are happy know how to have fun together."
That's what relationship experts, Drs. John and Julie Gottmann say. After studying the behaviour and mental health of many couples, they observed that when people find ways to have fun with their partners, to participate in play and humour, it strengthens their bond. It makes them better equipped to resolve issues. They can spend more time with each other without getting bored and are also able to explore each other's personality.
Having fun makes you self-empowering
When was the last time you had fun?
I bet it will take a few minutes for you to answer that. Accept it, we don't do fun things. Even though it seems to be the easiest, by default decision, yet we hardly choose it. Because not choosing fun reinforces our victim mentality. We give all kind of excuses of time crunch and tiredness, but the truth is we feel like we don't deserve to have fun because we don't think we are good enough or have worked hard enough to earn it.
Why believe that? Because it is easier to believe it than to work for success or anything big and good for that matter.
Have fun; it will empower you to work hard to make you believe that you can achieve something too.
Having fun leads to a Healthy Life
Having fun in a regulated amount can heal you mentally and physically. Be it some sports or dancing or music; it can reduce stress and sometimes even heal past traumas and anxieties. It will give you a sound sleep. It can pump your body with a healthy dose of dopamine and serotonin, making you feel more alive and energetic.
Fun makes you fall in LOVE with yourself
Doing something that is fun can increase self-love. You become another person when you start making decisions based on what your heart says. You become more confident, independent, and a happy being. Who wouldn't love that! Even you would fall in love with yourself.
How to always have fun, no matter how tedious the work is- Like I say all the time, the thing is fun too is an abstraction and not a physical being. It is the notion you have put to things and actions. And notions can change. You just need to find enough strength and awareness to change your perception. Find fun in all the things you do. Try breaking down everything into basics and flow into the work with a calm mind.
Dr John McGrail in his book 'The Synthesis Effect: Your Direct Path to Personal Power and Transformation' tells rule number one to always remember is- Life is supposed to be fun.
Co-author: Shreya Arya
A digital marketing enthusiast with experience in HR and hospital management, Shreya has wide interests ranging from philosophy, psychology to latest trends in automation. She is also a freelance content writer and loves lending beautiful words to ideas and feelings.