Fun Is Free

Fun Is Free

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My wife and I have been having a lot of fun this month with our son Charlie. It all started when I read an inspiring blog post on something called Dinovember. For those who have not seen this explosive phenomenon, it involves simply convincing your children that their plastic dinosaurs come alive when they are asleep.

We started doing it every day with our son Charlie as soon as we saw it (Follow me on instagram to see our efforts so far) and I can tell you – it is an awful lot of fun. Not only for my wife and I to do something creative and mischievous together, but also to see the reaction of our son when he gets up every morning. Those naughty little dinosaurs…!

To be honest, it really inspired me, not only as a remarkably smart and creative act of parenting and relationship building, but also for what the idea represents in a wider context. Fun costs nothing, yet delivers so much!

Now I get that this was preaching to the converted. I have a lot of fun anyway. It is one of my core values – and I just have that kind of mind. I genuinely believe I would have fun on my own in a white padded room!

It’s an easy thing to say that I was just born with the mischief gene, so it is not something I can switch off. The hard thing to say is that, growing up, I used fun and humour as a defence mechanism and this pattern of behaviour has become ingrained. Either way, the result is that I have learnt the merits of having continuous fun.

And if you ask me, there isn’t enough fun and joy in the world. To highlight this problem, there is some interesting evidence that healthy kids laugh 400 times per day on average, yet adults laugh only 15 times per day! That means we teach our kids to laugh massively less as they get older. Somehow we suffocate what is innate in the pursuit of something else.

We are told to be professional, formal or serious because those qualities prepare you for the road to achievement. We assume that’s the route to the paradise at the end of life’s rainbow that we strive for; most of us having never considered who it was that we wanted to become.

We spend all our lives working and striving, when one of the greatest commodities in the world is freely available right under our noses – if we would just let go of ourselves and enjoy the moment!

To me, this is a disgrace on a global scale, and something I am not comfortable with tolerating at all. Is an adult who laughs 400 times a day less successful than one who laughs just 10? Think about it. You don’t even need to ask how successful they are, beyond that question. You don’t need to know about the house they live in, the car they drive or the job they have. Fun and laughter are massively better measures of success. So, is the treadmill of success really the best way to learn how to laugh more?


Bizarrely, the funny thing is that having fun is no compromise, either. Fun pays! Google, Pixar, Facebook, Zappos etc, are examples of companies that really understand this. They have used fun not as a reward for success, but as a platform for success. Fun makes money! It gets you the best people, the best loyalty, the most creativity, the brightest ideas.

Fun is really healthy, as well. If you have fun, you get to live longer in better health because fun is the antidote to stress. Stress is a big killer, if not the biggest killer. Stress is linked to heart disease, obesity, depression,  anxiety, diabetes, cancer, to name but a few. So I wonder why so much of our focus is on food and exercise, when fun might have an even bigger impact? Better yet, how can exercise and healthy eating contribute to having fun?

Nike – when you develop the next Fuel Band, I don’t think health should be linked to the number of steps we take but to something really healthy like the number of laughs we laugh.

Fun pays, in any dimension. You can use fun in an incredible number of ways. If you don’t believe me, look at this ingenious little experiment to encourage people to take the stairs – click here

Fun can be placed at the heart of every life, every community, every organisation and even every country in the world. It takes so little time, costs so little and delivers so much.

There is a great Dale Carnegie quote that I really love: “People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing”. I agree. But the great thing is that you can bring fun to just about anything. So if that is the case, why don’t we all just do it? And choose to be successful right now.

I ask you to consider letting your hair down and giving in to fun in small ways – or in great ways. Make fun the first thing you do, rather than the last thing. Laugh, skip, joke or play just that little bit harder, and you never know where this abundant resource may take you.

Have fun!


P.S. I am off to do my tax returns. (Great ideas for making this fun would be much appreciated in the comments section below!)

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  1. Ashley Wynne-Jones says

    Maybe this would help?

    Ricky Gervais: ” “I love paying tax. It helps justify how much I earn.”

  2. Erm… how about death and tax’s comes to us all. The likelihood of BOTH happenning at the same time must be pretty damn slim! So doing one near guarentees’ that the other will not happen at the same time. Now that is SCIENCE in action there, so it must be true! 😉

  3. Fin makes people ude the stairs

  4. Correction: fun makes people use the stairs: 🙂

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