Fun is an Inside Job

Dr. Barnes Boffey

There are those who believe that fun is an inside job and those who believe it is external.

When we say “This isn’t fun” or “That’s fun,” we are describing the fun as external; we are saying the fun is contained within an outside event or experience.


This appears to be true, but in reality, the fun we experience in any event has to do with our internal attitude and perspective. There are people who have fun washing dishes and people who have fun doing all sorts of things that one might not see as “fun” activities. It’s all in how you approach the task.

Yes, some tasks are easier to approach with a light heart and a whimsical
perspective, but it in the end (to paraphrase a Beatles lyric) “The fun we take is equal to the fun we make.”

One way to hold onto this perspective is to change our language about “fun.” When we say “That’s not fun,” we have ascribed the fun feeling externally to “that.” It is easier if we realize that a basic instruction/need in our lives can be  described as “fun,” but we can also describe it as a basic instruction to “be playful.”

If we ask ourselves, “Am I being playful while doing this activity?” rather than “Is this activity fun?” we can keep an accurate perspective. “Being playful” is an internal attitude, not an external attribute. People who are always looking for fun outside themselves will be generally disappointed, often bored, and occasionally depressed. Playful people are not worried about the conditions around them; they bring the fun they want to experience.

2 thoughts on “Fun is an Inside Job

  1. Barnes, I always remember and teach your concept of Have – Do – Be and what I realize from this particular blog is that the highest level is the “be” part of the equation. Thank you for the reminder. In high school, I had a girlfriend that always danced like crazy while doing the dishes. She was always moving and being playful. I was envious of her and thought I could never do that because I’m not a great dancer but I CAN do that. I am a firm believer in “dance as if no one is watching.” I am committing to be more playful in my life. I appreciate your sharing of yourself in this way. Thank you!

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