THE MANIFESTO OF FUN
In order to be Fun, you can’t take yourself too seriously. You have to allow yourself to enjoy life. There are certainly times to be serious, but they are not as often as we think. It’s like a teeter-totter. On one side is your fun self and on the other your serious self. If one side is too big, the teeter-totter doesn’t move. But if they’re balanced, both sides enjoy the ride.
Fun is buried somewhere within us. For most, Fun only pops its head out of the ground occasionally. But what do you do? Do you whack it in the head to force it back underground, or do you let it run around and play a bit?
There are some guidelines to help you be Fun. You wouldn’t go bungee jumping without a cord. But they’re less like rules and more like principles. Fun people always contain these principles: Commitment, Truth, Play, Spontaneity.
Fun and commitment don’t really sound like they go together, but this commitment is different. This commitment is about finding ways to be fun no matter what. To laugh at your mistakes and not take things more seriously than they are.
I once had an overly serious boss. He needed to lighten up. I used to leave one-word messages for him describing how he was acting and leave them in places only he would find. Grumpy. Overbearing. Angry. He turned so red with anger. He barged into the office yelling, “I’m going to fire you when I find out who’s leaving these messages! And I will find out who you are.” He never found out who it was. The laughs we had at his expense. Eventually, he caught on and worked to get good notes instead. It was like training a puppy.
Truth is the most important quality of being Fun. Truth differentiates your fun from mine. It’s our inner voice and the responsibility to be true to our own desires. Without truth, you can’t find your inner Fun. To find truth, you have to be honest with yourself. It’s an open-mindedness to try new things, but being willing to walk away if it’s not your thing. It’s the strength not to get roped into things you don’t want to do. Truth is admitting that you enjoy foreign films, even though everybody hates them or that you like country music even though it isn’t cool. Truth is not going to a function simply to impress someone.
I’m bad at golf, but my favorite hangout is Top Golf. I always have fun there. It’s a friendly competition where we can laugh at ourselves. We get dinner and drinks and play some games. I don’t have to be good at anything but being myself. Truth is the heart of your personality. Without truth, you cannot find your unique expression of Fun.
We’re amazed by children. They always have a wondrous sense of play. You hand a stick to an adult, and it’s just a stick. But in a child’s hand, it transforms into an airplane, a car, a water gun, a snake -- it could become a hundred different things. Without play, Fun can’t exist. But there is a distinction between adult play and child’s play. Child’s play is about creativity and imagination. Adult play is an attitude. It’s being bold enough to let yourself be outrageous.
I was at an antique store the other day and noticed several freaky-looking dolls. I adjusted each doll so that it was facing the door. Whenever you walked in, the dolls were watching you. It was a little eerie, but in a funny sort of way. There are always opportunities to have fun if you allow yourself to play.
Some people think it’s inappropriate for adults to play, but that isn’t true. In fact, the adults I know long to play. They download games; they watch funny TV shows; they go to bars. It’s not that they can’t play, but they only remember a handful of outdated methods to play. They’ve forgotten what makes them unique.
Spontaneity is my rat story. I was with a group of friends at a gas station. I looked over at the gas pumps and there was this giant rat running across the pavement. I yelled, “Look at that rat!” The rat got to the edge of the pavement and jumped to hurdle the curb, but he didn’t jump high enough and smashed into the curb. He fell back, shook his head, and looked around as if hoping nobody else saw what happened. My friend and I broke into hysterical laughter.
Spontaneity doesn’t just refer to making impulse decisions. Spontaneity is living in the moment, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing. Spontaneity is being ever-present, to witness the amazing world around you as it happens. Don’t bury your happiness in an electronic device or you’ll miss out on the beautiful, amazing world developing in front of you. Fun requires attention.