Whatever you’re currently doing to earn money, is it fun for you?
Would you still enjoy your income-generating activities even if they paid half as much?
Still fun with less pay? Or does the fun depend on the money?
Earning money can be fun. Spending money can be fun too.
But what if earning money isn’t fun? Then to earn more, you have to push yourself to do even more work that isn’t fun. Your reward is very mixed then – more money perhaps but also less fun. That creates a drag that will likely cause your income – and your ambition – to stagnate.
A lot of the world’s offers for income generation aren’t particularly fun. In fact, many of them seriously suck. Do this boring-as-hell work for a paycheck. That’s a crappy ass offer. Who’d be desperate enough to say yes to that? Lots of people apparently since most people don’t like their jobs – don’t become one of them.
You don’t have to accept a crappy ass offer that isn’t fun. You can either keep looking till you find a fun and inspiring offer, or better yet, create your own offer.
Safe Isn’t Fun
To bring some fun into this picture, I think it helps to choose income generation strategies that challenge you to grow. If you make it too easy, you’ll be bored.
A fun game is at least semi-challenging. Challenge alone won’t make the experience fun, but it will surely help.
Many people look to their past hobbies and strengths for income ideas. That tends to be a relatively weak approach that can easily lead to boredom. What if instead you develop income ideas based around what you’d like to explore and experience? Why rehash the past that you’ve already explored when you could lean into something new and adventurous?
What new challenges fascinate you? What seems a bit out of reach?
When I created my current business in 2004, my background was in programming and game design, having already invest 10 years in that path professionally. I could have generated income from my programming skills, but I saw that it would be more fun to figure out how to earn income from writing and speaking instead. Those income streams would be more challenging, growth-oriented, rewarding, and fun.
The edginess of making money from communication skills made the process more fun. Getting paid for my first professional speech was more fun and rewarding than getting paid the same amount from leveraging my programming skills.
Programming was safer, and speaking was scarier. Safe isn’t fun. Scary is often fun. Would you rather safely sit in your car in the parking lot of an amusement park… or would you prefer to go on the rides?
Earning decent income isn’t that hard if you’re having fun and enjoying fresh growth experiences from your work. Then it’s largely a matter of finding and testing the right strategies. But it can be really hard to earn good income if you don’t enjoy and appreciate the work you’re doing.
The Standard of Fun
You can earn income doing what isn’t fun. Or you can earn it doing what is fun. If you want the second option, don’t be a person who tolerates the first option. You get the lowest standard you’re willing to tolerate.
Fun work is essential to me. In Conscious Growth Club yesterday, we did a two-hour group coaching call, and it was fun, not just for me but for many of the members too. We shared a lot of laughs and silliness along the way, which actually enhances the coaching experience and doesn’t detract from the value. Would you rather be on a fun coaching call or a boring one? Don’t you think that fun is more motivating and inspiring than boredom?
Does your work spark joy for you? Do you look forward to showing up? Do you get excited when Monday morning comes up again, and you get to sink your teeth into some juicy and interesting projects? If that’s not your reality, then why the heck are you still showing up? Are you doing it for the income that will be perpetually held back by your lack of motivation? That’s a lame investment of your time and energy. What’s the long-term payoff? Sadness and regret? Step off!
Work doesn’t have to be a dreadful slog. You can choose to make it edgier and more fun. You can bring more of your playful personality to the experience. If you get fired for that, I’d say that’s a great reason to be fired. If your workplace can’t handle your having fun while doing your work, fuck ’em! Leave those dreadfully dull people behind, and work with fun-loving people instead. They’re out there if you’re willing to look and if you’re willing to rise to that standard and not accept less.
Receive Steve's new articles by email.