A friend calls you and with great enthusiasm asks:
“Hey, I got tickets to a comedy show on Tuesday night, want to come?”
“No thanks. I plan on going to Target that night to get my errands done for the week.”
[insert cricket noise over the phone line. Friend hangs up thinking ‘Huh?’]
Target? Where’s the fun in that?
Don’t get me wrong, I have been that girl that puts her ‘to do’ list as her top priority. Target has trumped spontaneity for me on more than one occasion. Sometimes there is no better feeling than checking things off that never-ending ‘to do’ list.
But what I’ve come to realize is that while there may be a sense of accomplishment in that, there really isn’t any fun. At the end of my life am I really going to be excited about all the things I was able to check off my ‘to do’ list?
As I’ve learned to be a little more spontaneous and gone for fun over my ‘to do’ list a strange thing has occurred: it’s led to more focus. The more fun I am having the more I actually get done.
This is particularly important for those of us who feel guilty veering from our ‘to do’ list especially for an act of spontaneity.
This doesn’t mean saying yes to everything that comes your way. Listen to yourself if it feels right or wrong but do make a point to be open to spontaneity and more fun in life.
And the best way to know if something is really a yes or no for you?
Check in with your body.
When someone asks you to go to the baseball game or concert or rock climbing, how does your body respond? Do you get a pit in your stomach or feel like all the energy drained out of your body? Probably not the best idea to do that thing then.
Or does your heart flutter with excitement? Do you feel a bit lighter? These are cues that you really want to do that thing.
Now, whether you are getting the yes or no cues from your body, your brain will quickly jump in and give you all kinds of reasons why you can’t do this spontaneous thing: usually it has something to do with a ‘to do’ list or the ego’s fear of trying something new.
For a more fun-filled life, I recommend listening to your body (as long as you are getting the yes cues).
Here’s how the body/brain battle played out in my own life just recently:
“Hey, I’ll be in Carlsbad next week. Want to meet up? I’m taking surf lessons on Wednesday, you should join me?!”
“That sounds like so much fun! Let me check my schedule and I’ll get back to you.”
Now, my body felt all light with excitement with seeing my friend and checking out Carlsbad.
But my brain immediately went to: “But you’ve got SO much to do – one day off could really put you behind, PLUS you’ve never surfed before – you won’t be any good. It will probably be super embarrassing.”
In this case I chose to listen to my body and be a little more spontaneous.
Luckily, once I listened to my body I was able to get my brain in the place that felt really good about it. Sure, I’d never surfed before but it would be a new experience and who knows, maybe I’d surprise myself with my ability. And either way, I’d be able to see a friend I don’t see very often. If I needed to I could always get caught up with work on the weekend but surfing and seeing this friend could only happen on this day.
So I did it.
And it was a ton of fun.
And I totally sucked at surfing but it was an experience and I learned a little about riding a wave.
You know what else happened?
The very next day I got so much done. More than I normally do in any given day.
This is just one example of many where spontaneity and fun have led to more focus, creativity, and breakthroughs for me. I firmly believe that fun leads to focus.
Do something you’ve never done before, learn something new, hangout with someone you haven’t seen in a while, be open to being more spontaneous – just have some fun. It’s amazing what it can do for your clarity and focus.
And remember, anytime your brain tries to stop you in your fun tracks, repeat after me: “Fun leads to focus.”
Now go have some fun!