Updated: May 31
Why would anyone want to have fun when you can have a life of pain instead?
A friend of mine called me today to ask how I was. He knows I'm working on some big projects, but this week specifically I'm really feeling a lot of stress. To be clear all my stress is self induced - the sign of a life well designed - but it is stressful nonetheless. I'm trying to get a new company off the ground (abetterlife.com) and part of that is building a new podcast production and this week I'm taking that production mobile. We are going to LA to record our first episodes. This is no small feat and I'm doing it alone which makes it not only painful but I have no one to share the burden of anxiety with.
My friend asks "...but are you having fun"
A good question considering that I enjoy video production, traveling, and the mission I'm part of, but for a moment I wondered... with pain in my chest and my brain completely frazzled from all the things I have to do... if anyone would consider this 'fun'?
"No sir" I answered, "I'm not having fun at all, what I'm doing is hard, the stakes are high, and it's not really something I've done before". This is the opposite of fun.
but my goal isn't to have fun, because fun is a lousy goal, my mission has a far greater purpose than fun
When I think of what's fun I think of going to the bar with my friends. I was a party animal in my 20's and every Friday and Saturday night (or more often) you could find me at a bar with friends drinking and dancing, and that was easily the most fun I ever had in my entire life.
That 10 year period of fun became a productivity black hole. I have no career success from that time to put on my resume, I have no financial success from that decade to show or build from, and of all those friends I was having so much fun with only 1 remains in my life and we only catch up once in a great while.
In my early 30's I started focusing on difficult but meaningful tasks at the expense of fun and it completely turned my life around for the better. I started making sacrifices for the future, not just financial but with how I spent my time: reading books, learning from people smarter than me, networking with ambitious people, trying to make money in business, and being terrible with a camera. This is when my life got much more difficult and much more fulfilling.
Fun is not a bad thing, but I never again want to spend my days trading difficult but fulfilling actions for short term escapism. I already did a decade of that and no one should waste an entire decade of their precious years like I did so now I owe.
I never go on vacation I only go on adventure
Do you ever daydream of waking up late and sitting on a beach all day under an umbrella with a cocktail, getting a massage mid day, and having a nice dinner in the evening.
Last year I went on two of my all-time favorite adventurs:
The first was to Iceland where me and 3 fellow veterans spent 4 days waking up early and going to sleep late with days filled with chasing waterfalls, climbing volcanoes, and going dry suit snorkeling in 13 degree weather. It was very demanding and included almost no downtime at all, but I experienced a lot of Iceland in a short amount of time
The second was to Spain, where my father-in-law and I spent 6 days hiking 80 miles while staying in dirt cheap group hostels and we lived out of our backpacks for the entire trip. It was glorious
Am I just a glutton for punishment? maybe, but I think I'm doing something else. I'm trying to extract as much fulfillment as I possibly can out of my time on this earth and my experiences tell me that the most fulfilling things I do are the ones that I work the hardest to earn. Sacrificing the short term fun for long term higher order win is not
In Iceland there were tremendous waterfall right on the side of the road, and at those waterfalls were hundreds of tourists. We saw some of those and they were ok but the ones we hiked for, the ones that were hard to get to, were better. Even though the waterfalls themselves weren't as impressive they were the ones that were the most memorable. You won't believe this either but, there were almost no tourists at the waterfalls that had to be hiked to.
Everyone chases fun and everyone is stupid for doing so, do what's difficult but fulfilling. You'll be happier in the end