Most of us adults treat fun like a desert, something of no nutritional value only to be occasionally indulged in. Let me propose that we should think of fun as a spice, something that should be added to all of our dishes, including the healthy ones, to make our lives more flavorful and interesting.
Here are some ideas of how you can spice up your life with more fun.
Where a costume - Why is date night more fun than dinner at home? Of course, a break from the kids is nice, you don’t have to cook or clean, and the food is different. But I think the real reason why date night is fun is that you’re wearing a costume. As adults, we call these costumes “suits” or “dresses”. But it’s a custom none-the-less. So don’t reserve it for date night. What’s more, fun meatloaf Mondays or tuxedo Tuesdays?
Introduce some competition - It’s no secret that adding competition to sales, projects, and workouts increases our productivity. One of the reasons why is that it makes otherwise mundane activities fun. What’s more fun - walking through the grocery store while idly thinking about doing anything else in the world? Or racing down the produce aisle, trying to set the family record?
Play make-believe - Pretend you’re part of an exciting story. Instead of sitting through a long flight, order a martini and pretend you’re James Bond (wear a suit?) off on another dangerous, exotic mission.
Solve problems - Problem-solving is fun because it challenges our intellect. What’s more fun - vacuuming every Sunday or spending a day figuring out how to optimize you’re iRobot? See how many mundane tasks in your life you can automate by problem-solving.
Get dirty - There’s a reason why kids always want to run through the creek rather than cross the bridge. The truth is getting a little dirty is more fun. Add this to your workout. Instead of running around the mud, run through it. Instead of lifting weights, climb a tree. People pay money to Tough mudder competitions to do exactly this. With a little creativity, you can do it in your own neighborhood.
Add novelty - Do you have to plow through a bunch of boring emails? Instead of doing them at your usual desk, go into your backyard or to the coffee shop down the street. Even tweaking things a little bit can make boring tasks much more fun.
Find new ways of working - I’m not actually writing this at my computer. Instead, I’m walking outside in the glorious sunshine, recording it on my iPhone (which I’ll later transcribe using Amazon transcription services). So much of our work these days is tied to our computer screens. Finding different ways of working gets us away from the blue-glow. Solve problems on a whiteboard, scribbling ideas on a note pad, or take your meetings for a walk. Use different parts of your brain and body.
Find cheap luxuries - No, you probably can’t pay people to serve you high tea every day at 4 p.m. But you can affordably buy a nice tea set that will last you decades and serve yourself an elegant tea time on the reg. Doing so will probably make you feel more luxurious and rich for that hour once a week than sitting in your Lamborghini in traffic every day.
Do micro-adventures - You don’t need to go on big trips to have an adventure. Pitch a tent in your backyard and camp out there for the night. I bet it will give you 80% of the excitement of camping at Everest base camp.
Challenge yourself - I have a friend who tries to make it the entire day, from the time he gets up in the morning to the time he goes to bed at night, without sitting down. He stands in meetings for dinner, everything. He doesn’t do this to burn calories (he’s in fantastic shape). He does it because the moderate amount of pain makes the day a little bit more challenging and therefore fun.
All of the above items required two things.
First, imagination. It’s not just for children and it’s not something that you have lost. You just have to learn how to use it again.
Second, a willingness to look ridiculous. Yes, if you run around your neighborhood in Indiana Jones outfit, other people will think you’re weird. But you know what? They’re not having very much fun anyway. You may even get to the point where people staring at you is fun.