carnival ferris wheel

I know hard work is hard, but it doesn’t have to be. There are ways to ‘hack’ the big things. Such as breaking the big tasks into more manageable subtasks, and blocking out time for ‘deep focus’. But my favorite hack is all about making things more fun. And it’s a simple switch.

At one point, after running a highly successful monthly storytelling show for a couple of years, I started getting fatigued and frustrated. I had trouble keeping the storytellers to the time limit, some of the talent would cancel last-minute or show up late, and the audience seemed to enjoy the hosting bits, yet I still felt invisible. It just generally it felt like a lot of pressure and stress for not a lot of reward.

Of course, as a storyteller myself, I thought one thing I could do was tell some stories of my own. But I was concerned that was self-indulgent (“event producer regularly programs self”)

I was talking about this with my friend Rod ben Zeev (who was the originator of the night — and is now host and coordinator again). After hearing me describe the problem and my self-storytelling remedy: “well, you have to make it fun for yourself.”

Make it fun for yourself. Those are words to live by.

Those words really stuck with me in the context of that night. But the advice is so good I think it applies in many more arenas.

If you’re at a point in your trajectory where what you’re doing isn’t fun for you: make some changes. That doesn’t mean avoiding the hard work of learning a new language or giving up on studying violin to go paintballing, it just means that you owe it to yourself to find (or create) your pockets of joy.

It might mean, instead, taking a break from studying your Italian verb forms by watching an excellent Italian film. Or to take some time every violin lesson to work on a cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”.

Or something.

The what isn’t as important as the mindset; if you’re doing something you love (or need to do), you owe it to yourself to find a way to make it fun for yourself.

Like these cops in Reno 911.

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In other words: Where’s your Meow game?