fear or fun factor

May 18, 2021

everyday when you wake up what drives you to get out of bed? we’re a hybrid fuel engine and can be driven by either fear or desire. either run away from something or run towards something.

time travel to your early years. as a kid, how did you wake up every morning? what was the energy you felt? what were the thoughts running through your mind?

and now, snap back to the present. how did you wake up this morning? what was your energy level? what thoughts compelled you to charge or cruise through the day?

dial F for fun

summer vacations were the best time ever as i could wake up without needing to panic prepare for school. instead i can wander through time and space, exploring both with a sense of adventure and curiosity.

even within the limited confines of childhood, the possibilities seemed infinite. the spirit of interaction was not limited to conversation. when my playmates joined the game, we made every attempt to engage in every way possible.

the games we played were chosen by a majority decision on what would bring us the most possible fun. times seemed to stand still and yet hours would pass by while we felt like we’d just gotten started.

the goal was to cram the most amount of fun, delight, engagement and exploration in as little time as possible. the more the merrier and even if i felt like being alone, i wanted to watch the others as they played together.

boredom was the vacuum whence arose the desire for fun. it also seemed like we were all connected in the quest for fun. and that we all contributed to increase the entropy of the playground.

fear factor

but as i grew, the fun factor was challenged by fear. to the extent that it would eventually usurp the position of primary motivating factor.

i would be forced to attend school diligently for fear of punishment, of failure and resulting social ostracisation. i would be forced to study hard lest i don’t score enough to get into a good university. fear of not landing a good job would ensure i aced my exams.

subpar performance at work would result in me losing my job. no job, no regular income. no regular income means bleak likelihood of involved life partner. no steady partner means no probability of a child; spawn or adopted.

even when i chose to follow my dreams, was i being driven by the fear of social shame for not achieving them? or was it purely the desire of exploring my potential and resting my personal boundaries of achievement?

more often than not, we are driven by fear as adults and fun as children. of course everything is not just binary. after all there are 50 shades of gray between black and white, or so i’m told. puns aside, what’s your ratio of fear : fun?

playing with ratio

if we were to adopt Pareto’s principle, i’d aim for an 80:20 ratio of fun to fear. a life lived with these numbers would be blissful instead of stressful. what will it take to get you there? especially in the midst of a worldwide pandemic playing out as it is.

let’s start with throwing down the facts. what decisions and actions of your life are driven by fear? how often are you making choices on the basis of fun, if at all? and if you do, are you wracked by guilt after?

once you know your numbers, it’s time to play with possibilities. how do you expect your life to change, when you alter the ratio to what you believe is your ideal? you’ll begin to see that the ratio of fear to fun is equivalent to the ratio of stress to bliss.

then there’s always the edge where fear and fun blur and that’s why we love riding rollercoasters as children and the hedonic treadmill as adults. extreme adventures can be exciting  but also dangerous. pushing boundaries is not a game for the faint hearted. sexual fetishes can dance on the edge of fear and fun, pain and pleasure. just as evil dances on the same edge, deriving fun at the cost of others' fear.

but we are, after all, hybrid fueled creatures and it’s on you to explore your comfort zone and beyond. one way or another, use the fuel you have enough of, the fuel that gives  you the maximum efficiency, the fuel that burns cleanest to keep playing!

We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing. George Bernard Shaw
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