Think back to when you were a child, building a LEGO house. (Or using a similar building set.)
You would set off to build a house… then halfway through decide to make it a horse ranch instead… then get distracted by another idea and end up with a space ship with a pack of horses on one wing and a swimming pool on the other.
That’s how personal development feels when you approach it in a fun way. You have a certain intention, but then you get distracted by something interesting, experiment with a few different tidbits, and end up with something completely different than you intended. Yet the result is even more awesome than your original plan, and you had great fun along the way!
Still, some people insist on approaching personal development like building a lego house according to set-in-stone instructions. They stress about getting every brick in the right place, then get annoyed when they don’t progress fast enough, then start procrastinating because the process is boring and doesn’t challenge their mind and then they end up dropping the project and complaining that building lego houses doesn’t work.
Personal development can be just as fun as building a lego house, if you approach it the right way.
If you think personal development should be hard, it will be
There’s a funny thing called selective perception. Put simply, you only notice things you are looking for.
So if you’re looking for hard complicated ways to improve yourself, when you find an easy solution, you drop it because “that can’t possibly be right”. Then you come up with the most weird and convoluted ways to make your self-improvement difficult, because that’s what you’re looking for.
Here’s the thing. Personal development done right is easy. It’s effortless. It’s fun!
Building your own character is just like building a character in a computer game, or like building a lego spaceship:
- you tack on a bunch of random stuff because you feel like it
- you keep experimenting and see what you like the best
- the process is just as much fun as the result
- there isn’t a final outcome – it’s an endless fun process, where you keep changing and tweaking things because you feel like it. The fun of a building set comes from building things, and the same is true with personal development.
I have tried all sorts of habit changes myself, like waking up early, meditating, being vegetarian, keeping a daily to-do list, or consciously changing my body language (that one was especially fun).
Some of them have stuck and some haven’t. But every single one of them was fun to try! (Yes, even waking up early).
How to make personal development fun
Here are a few ways to make personal development fun:
- Forget about the outcome
- Think of it as a fun experiment to see what happens
- When you read/hear about cool ideas, TRY THEM
- Do it with a friend (either offline or online)
- Tell other people about your experiments (that’s one reason starting a blog is great)
Aaaand… yeah. If I ended right here, you would most likely go off nodding, thinking you learned something interesting but leaving your behavior unchanged.
I’m not a big fan of list posts for exactly that reason. That’s why I let this list occupy such a small part of this post.
Instead, I will give you one thorough example, to help you drive the concept deep into your subconscious. This will stimulate your subconscious mind’s creativity and get it thinking of how to make other personal development ideas fun.
An example of making personal development fun
You can approach any part of personal development as a game. I’m going to take open-mindedness as an example here:
Think of lying on a grass meadow on a warm summer day, with a friend, watching the clouds above.
“That one looks like a car,” you say pointing at a cloud.
“It looks like a dog to me…” your friend replies.
What is your reply? Do you jump up angrily and shout “NO, it’s definitely a car! You’re completely wrong!” and storm off?
Or do you say “Wait… hang on… oh yea! I can see what you mean. I’d actually say it’s a bit more of a tiger, but I can definitely see where you’re coming from with the dog.”
And then you can have more fun guessing all the other interpretations for that cloud. Maybe it can also be a motorcycle, or a pretzel…
And considering other people’s point of view is just like that. For a moment, you suspend all judgment, and see the world as they see it. And then you think of all other interpretations of the same situation, just to see what fun things you can come up with.
You can even find a friend who’s also interested in practicing open-mindedness and challenge each other with issues and ideas to be open-minded about.
One more thing. Notice how I never once mentioned how will open-mindedness be useful to you? That’s because focusing on the outcome will make it seem like a chore. Consider the outcome when choosing what habits to try, but once you get started, forget the outcome, and enjoy it like a game.
Personal development is fun. All you have to do is approach it in the right way.
Now stay with me, this is important. You might be tempted to skip the last few paragraphs.
Maybe you’re thinking of commenting, or retweeting this post.
Don’t. Not yet. Before you do anything else, I want you to use the information here.
Because while comments and retweets are nice, they’re not the real thing. The real thing is helping you improve your life.
So in a moment, when I say the word “now”, I want you to stop reading and start thinking. Think about your personal development, and how you could make it more fun. Then think of some specific actions you can take in the next 24 hours to make it more fun.
When you’re done, then you can go do something else. And if you come up with an interesting way of making personal development fun, please share it in the comments! 🙂
Okay, ready? Three, two, one…
This blog post ends now.