On a cool, sunny morning not too long ago, I was out for a walk and I randomly selected episodes of two different podcasts I like and listened to them back to back.
It was magic.
The topics were ostensibly different, but all I could hear was the overlap—the way the lessons described in each perfectly complimented one another and inspired me to draw connections. (I love when this happens!)
Citing a book by Catherine Price, host Kendra Adachi laid out the three elements of fun—play, connection, and flow:
Play: Doing something for the sake of doing it—not to be productive, or achieve an outcome, or work toward a goal. For example, my husband is currently learning the cello. Why? Because he likes the sound of a cello. That’s it. There are no concerts or performances in his immediate future—he just likes to play the instrument for what it is. It’s been such a great example for me over the past few months (and he’s getting way better!).
Connection: The playing helps you connect with something else—whether that’s a person, a place, a higher power, nature, or simply yourself. Think about team sports, or an art class, or taking long walks in the woods.
Flow: That feeling where you lose track of time because you are in the zone. You aren’t thinking about other things. You aren’t distracted. You aren’t reaching for your phone. It’s magical—but it’s rare.
Combine these three elements, and, at least for Kendra and Catherine, you’ll find fun. Easier said than done, right?
(Sidenote: one of the prompts of the podcast was to think about something you’ve done recently that checks all three boxes—something that was truly fun for you. My answer? Escape rooms. No question. But that’s a whole other essay…)
The next podcast I chose was an episode of Kate Bowler’s “Everything Happens” podcast about creativity, with guest Liz Gilbert.
And about one minute in, right in the intro, Kate said, “The joy of doing something for no good reason at all except that it is beautiful, or funny, or ridiculous, or makes us laugh, is to me one of the great acts of humanity.”
Sounds an awful lot like play to me.
Kate and Liz (of Eat, Pray, Love fame—and also the author of Big Magic, which you should definitely add to your TBR pile) go on to talk about creativity, but really, they talk about fun. They talk about play, and connection, and flow. They talk about doing things because you love them and they’re beautiful—doing things because you can’t imagine not.
And instantly, I had a lightbulb go off: creativity is born of fun. Creativity is born of play. Creativity is born of connection and flow—it’s making beautiful things for the sake of the beauty itself.
What a way to think about the work we do.
Maybe, I, a person whose job is to “be creative,” actually have a responsibility to have more fun. Maybe I, a person who wants to think outside the box and develop great campaigns and create compelling pieces, need to, like Kate said, “do something for no good reason at all except that it is beautiful, or funny, or ridiculous, or makes us laugh.”
And maybe you do, too.
So this week, I have a simple challenge for you: choose fun. Play, seek connection, find flow.
Because, as it turns out, choosing fun might look a lot like choosing creativity, too.