Fun may seem like the exact opposite of work, but the science is pretty clear: Pleasure and playfulness actually help you be happier not only personally, but Professionally even more successful.
Sports make us mentally strong by helping us de-stress and see old challenges in a new light. Research has linked sports with less fatigue and irritation and greater engagement and creativity among employees. Being playful with others helps us negotiate conflict and build empathy, while laughter enhances EQ and accelerates learning (which is why Einstein advised his son that the key to rapid learning) way more fun). Science shows that funny bosses are more persuasive. And last but not least, a large Norwegian study also found that people with a good sense of humor live an average of eight years longer than poker-faced people.
In short, fun is not just a pleasant distraction from the serious business of life. Sport helps us to achieve more and be happy doing it. But in our tense, uncertain world, where temperatures and prices are on the rise and a recession is on the way, it can be hard to capture the sense of fickleness. How can entrepreneurs handle all the serious responsibilities of adulthood while making room for fun in their lives?
Anyone can develop a “fun mindset.”
that’s the topic a fascinating piece new book, the power of fun, recently featured on the TED Ideas blog. In it, author Katherine Price argues that it is possible to actually be the kind of person who is attracted to fun, even if by now you may have thought of yourself as shy, introverted, or overly critical.
When Price asked people what jokes someone made for his book, the most popular answers were spontaneity, a willingness to be vulnerable, and an appreciation of the little joys that can be cultivated by any personality type. “The primary thing that attracts people to fun from their peers is their attitude,” Price emphasizes, before offering several tips to help you develop a “fun mindset.”
1. Be easy to laugh.
Price quoted former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo to explain what he meant by this suggestion: “The easiest way to have more humor is to laugh more is a benefit in itself, but Price also points out that are that “the easier you laugh (and the more things you can find to make you laugh) the more attractive you will be, both to other people and to the fun of it.”
2. Say “Yes, and…”
You may have already heard of this tip in the context of improv comedy or creativity training, but Price claims that the simple technique will make you a fun magnet, too. All it takes is to greet new ideas with positivity and new ideas of your own.
You don’t need to be an improv comedian to practice the art of “yes, and’ (trust me). Instead, you can use its underlying philosophy—not to deliberately shoot down ideas, but to affirm and building on them – as a way to strengthen your fun mindset by opening yourself up to spontaneity, making other people feel included, and becoming more adaptive (and, for that matter, a less than a wet blanket),” she writes.
3. Send play signal.
You know how a dog, when it wants to play, will lift its butt and wag its tail? Price insists that we should all master the human equivalent of that canine pose.
“An example of a play signal in humans would be brief eye contact with a smile or a comment that invites conversation. Even a playful sarcastic line can work, such as ‘Good weather we Doin’ when you’re in the middle of a blizzard,” she explains. “Making a point to watch and play signal from your phone is a great way to invite more playful conversations — and ultimately, more fun — into your life.”