As my lectures bring me from industry to industry, I find myself amazed by just how little fun most people are having. Whether separated from one another by policy, competition, or cubicle, the last thing that seems to occur to people is to have fun together — when it should be the first priority. Instead, managers feel obligated to reign over employees; executives think they must hoodwink their shareholders; sales believe they must strong-arm their clients; and marketers assume they must manipulate the consumer. All for the life-or-death stakes of the next quarterly report…
Instead of relentlessly pursuing survival even after our survival needs are met, we must learn how to do things because they fulfill us — because they are, in a word, fun. Fun is not a distraction from work or a drain on our revenue; it is the very source of both our inspiration and our value. A genuine sense of play ignites our creativity, eases communication, promotes goodwill and engenders loyalty, yet we tend to shun it as detrimental to the seriousness with which we think we need to approach our businesses and careers.
If we can switch our orientation to fun, and see it not as an anarchic threat that needs to be quelled but rather as the core motivator and source of meaning for all human thought and behavior beyond basic survival, we will enable ourselves to reach levels of success that were previously unimaginable. Our very definition of success transcends survivalist notions such as cash reserves, time remaining, or personal safety, into the realms of self-worth, meaning, connection to others,
and greater purpose. Plus, it’s better business.