Having fun is subjective. Some people find painting model airplanes fun. Others like to play with pictures on their computer. Some write exceptional blogs. Others can bounce a soccer ball on their feet hundreds of times. I know people who can bake and others that draw comics. One guy I know can play banjo. For me, I love to run hundreds of kilometers a month.
In all these examples,
“fun” does not necessarily equate with “easy.”
Fun contains a certain mastery. Mastery comes from consistent dedication to a process until effort changes into something easier, but still with a new level of difficulty.
For example, when I go to the pool, I flop down the lane, splashing, huffing and puffing, and gulping down water like a college student gulps down beer. I long to have the smooth breast stroke, the seamlessly effortless gliding that comes from hundreds of hours of practice. Within that “seamlessly effortless” process, however, there is a new level of master; for example, it could be speed or distance. For me, I try to survive; for the expert, they are expanding their skills.
All endeavors have this learning towards mastery. They say it takes 10,000 hours or then years to reach mastery of a craft. To progress from the novice to the expert comes from the persistence mentioned in the previous section. It’s why musicians play scales, painters sketch, writers journal, and runners hit the track.
The subtle joys of practice make the mastery worthwhile. Many of us suffered through piano lessons when we were young. We dreaded the practice and the boredom of scales. We are playing Hot Cross Buns but want to be playing Mozart in a month, which is beyond comprehension. So we quit.
If you are working on mastering a new task where you need to practice, be in tennis, algebra, or cold calling, break down the process into smaller units that you can master and then celebrate when the parts begin to come together.
Look for quick wins.
One of the reasons I loved doing Karate was the different belt levels where you could move from white to gold, then green, and so on. The higher up in belt ranking, the further in the back of the class you stood. As you practiced from the back of the class, you could also watch the students with the lower belts practice. A black belt sensei, or teacher, would correct the lower belts, but the upper level students, who could see the correction, would also self correct. This crated an environment of self-teaching, self-correction, self-awareness, and a process towards mastery, while saving face. Such a process made the challenge achievable and the learning fun.
In America in the 19th century, in the one room school house, it was often necessary for the older students to help the teacher to assist in teaching the younger students. Today, we see this in universities. The ability to teach also helps to provide mastery and growth and helps to bring joy to the process. Joy of the process with small incremental progress makes mastery come within reach.
TRY THIS: In your life now, what tasks do you dread doing? Jot down some ways to make it fun.
For example, if you’re in sales and dread making cold calls, jot down 10 ways to make it fun:
Make a time to cold call with other sales people
Try to use the word “sparkling” in a conversation. Then try to fit the word “Zimbabwe” into the conversation (the lateral thinking required makes the call interesting)
Give yourself a small treat after 5 successful connects
Walk around while calling
Make some cold calls out in the park
Within your 10 calls, make sure one of the calls is to your grandmother (cold calls, like calling your grandma, may not be something you want to do, but afterwards you feel really good)
Aim to ask 3 open-ended questions in the call
Race to finish a certain number of connects within a certain amount of time
Stand on the desk and make 5 calls (Thanks to my sales mentor, Ray Dile, who taught me the brilliance of this one)
Have a cocktail or a shot after a successful call
Or maybe you’re dreading to clean your apartment:
Play some uplifting music
Buy something for your apartment and clean so you have a nice spot to put it
Invite a friend to help
Invite a friend over afterwards…motivating you to clean
Outsource it…hiring a friend, family member, or service
Make a YouTube Video on how you clean your room quickly
Instagram the process
Look for 5 things that you can give to charity as you clean
Decide you don’t mind it dirty and just ignore the whole damm thing and go to a movie
See how much can clean in 10 minutes. Set your timer. Go!
Now find some things that you’d like to make more fun in your life. Try anniversary dinners, birthday parties, studying for exams, sex, cooking, writing a report, going to the dentist, or planning a portrait. Be creative, outlandish, politically incorrect, silly, and daring. Know that there isn’t a wrong way, jus a new way, which is fun.
David Sweet is the managing director of the HR consultancy FocusCore, executive coach, and author of the award winning, Sweet Sales. His passion is to help people break free from what’s holding them back. He is also a runnoholic. You can find out more about him at drdavidsweet.com and follow him on Twitter @drdavidsweet