by Robert Evans Wilson Jr.
Swing and miss. -Strike two! cried the umpire.
I threw one more pitch right in at the player’s wrists. He swung hard, but the ball just dribbled right back to the pitcher’s mound. I picked it up and gently tossed it to the first baseman for the out.
As the batter turned back toward the dugout, his team captain stepped out and screamed, -Darrell, you’ve got to get over your fear of this guy!
The words poured like sweet honey into my ears. It was the third time I had gotten him out that night, including two strike outs. I had completely shut down the best hitter on the best team in the league. It was the most fun I’d had in weeks. No, I wasn’t throwing heat; quite the contrary. I’m talking about slow-pitch recreational softball for the over-30 crowd. But, I was totally into it. Once a week I stood on the mound under the lights with everyone’s eyes on me. Despite the butterflies in my stomach, I can’t imagine anything more exciting. (OK, maybe skydiving.) And, I was totally motivated. I spent several hours each week tossing balls in my driveway. I set up an area with a pitcher’s rubber and home plate laid out to the exact dimensions of those on the playing field. After I mastered the two standard softball pitches, I developed two of my own. The best was a softball version of the knuckleball. A spinless ball that baffled batters the first time they saw it, but even when they hit it, they could never get any distance on it.
I have friends who are obsessed with golf, others with tennis. None have a clue what drives me to play softball. But, then again, I don’t get why they play golf or tennis. What motivates me to play softball or my friends to play golf and tennis? It’s all about having fun. Pleasure motivates. We all seek pleasure in life. It’s what keeps us going. And for pursuits that we enjoy, we are never too tired. We always find time and energy for them. If only we could find that kind of relaxed energy for work.
What is it that you can’t wait to do every day? Is it a hobby? A sport? Sigmund Freud described that driving, creative spirit as the pleasure principle. But, he also spoke of a contrasting principle called the death instinct that existed to put the brakes on our desire. That theory has been disproved, however, it’s still true that -all work and no play make Jack a dull boy. Not only dull. Where happiness is absent, health is often absent, too.
I look forward to work every day. I have followed the advice of my father who encouraged me to find a job I enjoyed so that I would never work a day in my life.
In her book -Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow: Discovering Your Right Livelihood, Marsha Sinetar tells us the same thing. But what should you do if you’re not happy in your work? Make changes. If you can’t change your job, then change your work environment. It’s well-known that employees who enjoy their work are more productive. This is so true that people frequently turn down better-paying jobs to stay with one that is fun. There are many ways to make your workplace more fun. Authors Dave Hemsath and Leslie Yerkes in their book offer us -301 Ways to Have Fun at Work. Every company is different, so it will be up to you to discover what you can do to make your place of business more fun. But if you want to motivate your staff, I always say, -Give them something to laugh about.
Robert Evans Wilson Jr. is a motivational speaker and humorist. He works with companies that want to be more competitive and people who want to think like innovators. For more information, visit www.jumpstart yourmeeting.com.