It’s no secret that I like to have fun. I mean, of course, I do, because, who doesn’t? Everyone wants to enjoy themselves and I have wasted a lot of time trying to make my work fun. I say wasted because all of my attempts have always failed. It would start as fun, but because of looming deadlines or missed targets, I would end up more stressed than before.

Then I learned a great secret from one of my mentors. He pulled me aside in a private meeting and told me to get serious. He told me to take myself lightly, but take my job and my responsibilities seriously. He told me that only when I got serious would I have any fun.

It has been nearly ten years since I was given this advice and in that time, I will admit that I have had some tough days and uncomfortable meetings. I have had struggles like anyone else, but in that time, since I’ve gotten serious, I have never had more fun. Here’s why:

Focused Work Time Leaves More Time For Play

Getting serious with my schedule has given me more time to do things that I truly enjoy. I keep a really tight schedule. I meticulously plan just about every minute of my day because I know that by taking my schedule seriously, I will have more time for fun. Sure I have breaks in my day, and there are days when it all blows up, but by getting serious with time, there’s time left to do all that I want to accomplish.

Serious Practice Leads To More Wins

I have detailed in other posts how much I hate to lose. It’s the only emotion I feel more strongly than my love of winning. Winning is fun, but it comes at a cost. In order to show up sharp but relaxed on game day, I have to be extremely serious about my practice.

I’ve seen this first hand with a great group of kids that I coach in a government club. We drill relentlessly in practice. I put them on uncomfortable sides of arguments and make them speak about issues that they are unprepared for. This level of practice has paid off for these students in big was as our delegation has dominated our conference, winning office after office. Those wins are fun, but they’re earned in serious practice.

Crossing Items Off A List Is The Most Joyous Thing In The World

In several other posts, I have detailed my love of lists. I keep a list of my big goals both in my journal and in Google Keep and I swear there’s no feeling in the world as wonderful as crossing one off. I don’t cross a goal off until it has been achieved and that feeling, as short-lived as it is, is enough to make my week.

Getting to the place of achieving goals only comes through serious work, serious thought, and serious preparation. It is a cycle that repeats because the feeling of crossing it off drives the serious work and the serious work drives the feeling of crossing it off. It’s a momentum that can achieve big things that it’s brought by serious effort.

I still love to have fun. It seems so silly to write that because who doesn’t love to have fun. That would be like someone saying I like ice cream as if there’s some mutant out there somewhere that doesn’t. Since we all love to have fun, I urge you to take my mentor’s advice and get serious. It’s the best way to have fun.

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