Did you know it’s possible to have fun in almost every circumstance and situation? That’s what makes us uniquely human. Get connected with the things you find interesting, enjoyable, and fun. Doing so will produce new energy and direction for life.
The past two Provisions have provoked a lot of reader replies (see below). People were genuinely blessed by the notion that we could get motivated either by making it easy to do what we want (environmental modification) or by changing the object of our affections (attachment modification). Staying attached to something that consistently eludes our grasp destroys motivation, self-confidence, and self-esteem. It’s a hard way to live.
One reader, who’s trying hard to reconcile with his wife, found this notion both challenging and troubling. “If my wife were to stop trying,” he wrote, “if she were to just accept who she is right now and stay that way, a lot of people would continue to be hurt including herself. It’s hard for me to accept that if you are doing things that hurt other people, and you know it, that you should not change your behavior just because it is hard to do. I think that changing is easy, it’s just that not changing is even easier.”
“One of my favorite poems,” this reader continues, “is ‘Don’t Quit.’ I have had it on my wall since college. I have not always lived up to it but at this time in my life I will not quit on my marriage because it is the most important thing in my life today.
‘Success is failure turned inside out
The silver tint to the clouds of doubt
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit–
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.'”
This reader certainly represents an important truth. I wrote about the importance and power of persistence just a few weeks ago during my series on courage. You may remember that the “E” in BRAVE stood for Endure. I respect and commend those who take action to reconcile relationships, honor commitments, and endure hardship because of what they want, need, or value.
But that was not the focus of last week’s Provision. I was not speaking to those who take action. I was speaking to those who try to take action, but never or rarely take action at all. Many people say they want to do something, like to reconcile a relationship, quite smoking, lose weight, or change jobs, but they are forever trying and never doing. That’s when it’s time for last week’s Provision: give it up and stop trying. Caught in the gap between “talking the talk” and “walking the walk,” we find ourselves enduring hardship for all the wrong reasons. We end up punishing ourselves, for no reason at all.
So how do you get motivated to do something else? Have fun! Get involved with something you find both interesting and enjoyable. Look for opportunities to expand this circle of involvement. Before too long your life will shift into high gear, purring as though it was a finely tuned engine.
I expect at least two different reactions to this Provision. One will come from those people who can find nothing interesting or enjoyable about life. They may have been trying for a very long time. The hard life is all they have ever known and all they can imagine. “Have fun? You’ve got be kidding! They’ve drained the swamp and the alligators are snapping. It’s all I can do to keep from being eaten alive.”
There’s no simple answer to this struggle. But my experience with a wide variety of life situations, including those of oppressed, low-income peoples, tells me that in even the worst of situations one can nevertheless find things that are interesting, enjoyable, and fun. Fun is a choice not a chance. Those people who make that choice • those people who maintain their sense of humor and perspective • shine as lights in the darkness.
Another reaction will come from those people who do not trust our inherent interests and ambitions. We’ll call this the problem of original sin. “If everyone just went off to have fun, where would we be? We’d be infested with decadent hedonism and unproductive narcissism. Have fun? Forget that! Someone has to take care of business.”
There’s once again no simple answer to this time-honored tradition of distrusting desire. We all know people who suffer mightily, and inflict great suffering on others, at the hands of their self-indulgent lifestyles. But I believe we can trust our inherent ambition. The things we find interesting, enjoyable, and fun are not incompatible with ethics, productivity, and responsibility. Within the context of the things we hold most dear, we can have fun and enjoy life • giving us the energy and direction to make dramatic moves forward.
So to the reader trying to reconcile that relationship, my advice is simple: have fun. Make yourself a more interesting person. Do the things you enjoy. Find ways to not just work on the relationship, but to celebrate the relationship. It’s courtship all over again! Rekindle that spirit, and you may just find yourself surprised by joy.
And to everyone else whose life has reached an all-time low, I invite you to listen to your heart. Get connected with the power of now. Find something interesting, enjoyable, and fun in the present moment • regardless of how difficult that moment may be • in order to renew your reason and energy for living. Get a coach if you need assistance to stop thinking about the “by and by.” Have fun now! There’s really no better way to live.
To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.
Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.
This series is very important to us right now. Our son is having trouble finding his focus, so I’ve been sending him the last few of your Provisions because I think they speak directly to his situation. Also, have you read much Parker Palmer? His book on vocation is great. I think it relates to a lot of what you’re saying. (Ed. Note: You’re on target when it comes to Parker Palmer’s work. See the LifeTrek Bookstore.)
This week’s Provision was great • I shall send it on to those in desire! Thanks!
Reading your last Provision has provided me with my first step in understanding how to live one day at a time. I have always understood intellectually what it means but have never known how to do it. Your Provision has given me a way to begin. Ask and you will receive….
Thanks for the thought-provoking and stretching Provision. I’m not sure how your advice fits within the framework of original sin as I understand it. You’re clearly on target about not being consumed by our failures to reach the clouds, but “A soul’s reach must exceed our grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” Good mulling.
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
President, LifeTrek Coaching International, www.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformation, www.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coaching, www.CertifiedCoach.org
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