1. something that provides mirth or amusement.
2. enjoyment or playfulness.
(according to Dictionary.com)
What if this definition was inadequate?
When most people think fun, they think something like kids at a playground or at a birthday party. In reality, what these activities look like is… Running and screaming, chaos and mayhem… complete disorder.
And then, that is what we are left with. We carry this definition of fun with us into adulthood. Is it any wonder why adults don’t seem to be having much fun?
I wouldn’t categorize Thai Kickboxing as “amusement”. When I think amusement, I think the circus. The bearded lady is amusing (and disturbing).
I don’t know if I would qualify Kickboxing as “enjoyment”.
While both these attributes can be a part of the process and program, standing alone they are definitely incomplete.
Yet our program IS fun.
Lets look a little more.
Mirth is associated with laughter. Ok, now we are getting somewhere. For me, any sort of growth and development has been associated with laughter. Why? Because you move from what you didn’t know to what you now know and a “Duh.” experience happens. Like, “Why didn’t I know that all along?” or “That should have been obvious.” and then you laugh.
And, “playfulness”. An entire book could be written on this subject and how somewhere along the line, adults lose the ability to be playful.
Now what are the normal associations with playful? Silly, giggly, giddy, and also, sarcasm that stings, mocking, foolishness, and quite often stupidity. Notice that none of these are very “adult”. Most are childish, and adolescent at best. Watching an adult behave in this way (the kids version of playful) can be awkward and often annoying (especially when on the receiving end).
So what is an adult conversation for fun? There are probably a couple of requirements for fun to be available: Respect, Self-Control, Self-Discipline, Commitment, Perseverance, Hard Work, Intensity.
Before you tune out and say, “Here he goes again…” consider this…
To the left is a picture of Arnold Palmer. He is one of my personal heroes.
Because he epitomizes the definition of fun for an adult. He was asked, “How are you so good at golf?” He replied something like this, “For some reason I have the ability for an intense amount of focus for a short period of time.” If you have every played golf, you know that this is one of the core necessities to become an accomplished golfer.
The thing I love about Arnold Palmer is that he is always smiling. I can picture him playing in a tournament at a highly competitive level in front of millions of viewers and then going home that afternoon and hopping on his tractor to mow the lawn. Something about him strikes me as very human.
If you watch him and Jack Nicholas, they were extremely competitive while at the same time, thoroughly enjoying each other’s company. As they made their way around the course, they laughed and joked. Once they stood over the ball, they had an intense focus and determination – it was time to work. They had incredible self-control and self-discipline. They highly respected each other AND the game itself.
Arnold Palmer has met with setbacks as we all have but because of his commitment to his goals and his perseverance to overcome those obstacles, his is one of the most famous and well respected people on the planet.
I think if you were to ask him, “Are you having fun? He would say enthusiastically, “Absolutely!”. But his version of fun looks nothing like we would think.
So I invite you to look at what you think is fun and playful. Is it really an adult conversation for fun? Or is it remeniscent of childhood and adolescence? Have you shut down when it comes to fun because you don’t really know how to BE an ADULT and have FUN? Orare you resigned to fun being reserved for kids?
Consider that you may not know what fun as an adult is or what it looks like. And consider that even if you think you do, there is a chance that your definition could be upgraded.
I know that mine is completely inadequate and it is something that I am looking at daily.
There is one thing that is definately a requirement for upgrading the conversation for fun and that is a capacity to be vulnerable. But we will save that for another day….