Proper Use of the F Word

In a recent conversation I had with an associate in the national rallying community, my friend waxed poetic about his current dissatisfaction with his job. I countered that he might benefit by looking for the fun in the job. His response? “Fun” isn’t a word he associates with employment. I know many people who feel that way, and my sense is that they need to take another look at how they are using the F word.

Fun—real fun—is critical for happiness, and happiness plays an important role in the world of work. In fact, happiness at work is said to be the number one productivity booster for many reasons. As this article on the Chief Happiness Officer blog explains, happy people are more creative, work better with colleagues, get sick less often, have more energy, worry less about making mistakes, and learn faster.

Sounds like the kind of employee I’d like to be. How about you?

It would be great if employers understood the importance of happiness at work and built fun into our jobs. But most of them don’t. So if we want to get all the benefits of being happy at work, it’s up to us to find the fun in them. First, however, we have to make sure we’re using that F word properly.

If we define fun as a repeated pleasure for which we have a programmed or patterned positive feeling, something our Knower/Judgers know is fun, then we’re teetering on the edge of an addiction. For example, I think it’s good fun to go to my favorite custard stand (Ted Drewes here in St. Louis) and down a chocolate chocolate chip concrete at a mere 700 calories for the small version.

The consumption of this treat is K/J fun, and it sure feels good while I’m sucking down those fat grams. But it borders on an addiction—an assessment borne out by the feeling that I’m going to pay for my indulgence and that it’s not really productive for me.

Real fun is a function of the Learner/Researcher. The L/R version isn’t tethered with regrets. It’s the unfettered roll-on-the-floor laugh compared to the nervous snicker. It’s the “yahoo!” at the end of a roller coaster ride as opposed to the “rah-rah” at the annual sales meeting.

So how do you tell the difference and find the real fun.

Look at everything you find fun and sort your pleasures into addictions or natural fun. Did you laugh spontaneously? L/R. Did you laugh to be a part of a group that was laughing? Maybe not L/R. Did you do the “fun” activity because you wanted something from others whose opinions you respect? K/J. Did you do it just for yourself? L/R. Get the picture?

L/R fun makes you happy, with no long-term regrets. K/J fun gives you a temporary emotional boost but rarely improves your happiness for long.

Eisenhower’s quote from last month’s HDClarity E-zine, “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it,” works in reverse, too. You’re going to be a happier, more productive member of the team when you want to do what the mission requires.

And there’s a far greater probability that you will want to do what you have fun doing. It’s a shame employers frequently don’t get that. It’s life changing if you get it for yourself.

Finding the L/R fun is your choice.

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