Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Make It Not-Fun

You can make pretty much anything you do not-fun. Really, anything. Sex. Eating. Sleeping. Playing music. Practicing algebra. Breathing. Hanging out with friends. Minor surgeries. Family gatherings.

OK, some may be easier than others, but you really can make absolutely anything an intolerable and deplorable experience.

It's much easier than you think.

The key is to start substituting the phrases "have to" and "need to" for the phrase "want to". That's pretty much it. You don't even need to say them out loud; just think them.

Rather than letting your autonomic systems control your rate of breathing, start thinking about each breath, telling yourself, "OK, it's time to breath. I've gotta do this."

With a little practice breathing will become a chore so distracting that you'll have little time for anything else.

To supercharge the effect of "have to" or "need to", make sure that the source of the mandate is someone other than yourself. Better yet, make the motivation of that person less than admirable. Remember, the mandate needn't actually have been issued by the person; you just have to think of it that way.

The progression goes something like this:

1. I love to have sex with Iris.
2. I have to have sex with Iris.
3. I have to have sex with Iris or she'll be really disappointed.
4. I have to have sex with Iris or she'll be really pissed off.
5. If I don't have sex with Iris soon, she'll leave me for sure.

See how quickly you can turn things around? It's amazing. Notice the last little trick I added to version number five: a deadline.  While hard-and-fast deadlines can be effective, a completely arbitrary and ambiguous one can transform displeasure into pure torture.

Yup, you can take pretty much any experience, no matter how great, and make it not-fun.

Perhaps you're already practiced in this form of experiential transformation? A natural adept? If so, you can reverse the process simply by undoing the steps outlined above.

1. Become specific about what it is you actually have to do and by when.
2. Determine for whom you're really doing it. (Hint: nine times out of ten, it's you).
3. Understand the motivation for doing what you're doing and see if they jibe with reality.
4. Recognize that even if someone else is involved, you're doing what you're doing for you.
5. Declare your choice: "I'm doing this because I want to."

Make it not-fun. Make it fun. It's all up to you.

Happy Tuesday,

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