Writing a book isn’t fun.
Choosing to eat healthy isn’t fun.
Learning an instrument isn’t fun.
Quitting a job you don’t care about with nothing lined up isn’t fun.
Learning a new language isn’t fun.
Pregnancy isn’t fun.
The difference between Fun and Happiness isn’t semantics. Knowing the difference shapes your life.
What is Fun?
Fun is temporary. It’s the emotions you feel during an act. College kids are really good at having fun on the weekend. Fun doesn’t last. Fun is eating a cupcake for dinner. You derive pleasure from the act, but 20 minutes later you’re not satisfied.
What is Happiness?
The emotions felt after an act. Knowing how to play the guitar brings me happiness. Having written a book makes me happy. Being able to say that I memorized and recited the entire I Have a Dream speech from Martin Luther King Jr. makes me happy. Being able to say I’ve done stand-up comedy and not bombed.
Every example above involved a miserable process. Nothing about the process was fun. Writing a book is grueling. Writing jokes and preparing to tell them for the first time to a group of people who don’t know you is terrifying. Learning an instrument is frustrating. I can’t blame people for quitting. I quit piano as a kid, much to my later regret. Memorizing the I Have a Dream speech took 4 almost sleepless nights of audibly repeating the speech to myself for hours at a time. An awful experience, but it raised my grade in my American History high school class from a B to an A.
What we don’t immediately derive pleasure from, we tend to quit. The human race is very bad at seeing The Dip and having the courage to push through.
But almost everything that brings happiness isn’t inherently fun. It’s possible to make the process fun and trick yourself into enjoying it, but it takes work.
Whatever your doing or about to take on – scale it. Where does the path lead? Temporary pain is a pathetic excuse to quit anything important.
What is future you going to think about the choice you’re about to make?