One of the phrases I say a lot is, “Have fun!” It’s a goodbye with a hope that the person will enjoy the next activity. Sometimes that seems a little odd, especially when the next activity is a chore or a visit to the dentist. Either way, my hope is that there would be some joy coming up — even if the task isn’t the most joyful thing you can think of. Joy doesn’t often come from the activity, but from our hearts.
As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth,
and given him power to eat of it,
to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor—
this is the gift of God.
The CEO of a company at which I used to work used to regularly say something to the effect of: If you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right. His philosophy was that he worked hard and well and he also enjoyed life. I love that.
His philosophy made business sense too. In 168 hours, Laura Vanderkam points out that studies have shown how much more productive happy employees are. That’s quite the benefit to the employer, as well as making an employee’s day that much brighter.
One day this fall we had a discussion in an elementary math class I teach, and we discovered that no one in the class thoroughly enjoyed math. That’s fine; it’s not everybody’s favorite. Even still, the fact remains that we have to do it. We might as well have fun while we do! Isn’t that better than not? Little games, goofy routines, inside jokes, and lots of smiles make a big difference in those math lessons.
All of this is to say — if there is no joy, something is wrong.
- It might be your heart. Take a break and check your attitude. Are you focusing on thankfulness or love, or are you focusing on frustration or inconvenience?
- It might be the method. Can you shake things up? Play some music and dance while you mop? Make it a game, with yourself or others? Is there a better way to get the same thing done?
- It also might be the activity. Is this really what is best for you to be doing? If you are touching a hot burner on the stove, the answer is NO. Sometimes pain is a signal saying, DO. NOT. DO. THIS. Not always, but it is possible that you need to change the plan completely. Use wisdom to know, since it’s not always as obvious as a hot stove.