Weekly Thoughts


Miami Beach, the Rockies, and the Oregon Trail

Different types of fun

It seems that a lot of people enjoy drinking casually and going to restaurants frequently.  People also enjoy consuming a lot of content on Netflix, watching reality TV, and scrolling through social media.  It seems like a fair amount of people also like shopping, cooking, and going to museums.  Others like to travel, play an instrument, or do puzzles.  A whole lot of people watch professional sports, play fantasy sports, and/or bet on sports.  Many like hunting and fishing. It also seems like gardening, knitting, and birding are pretty popular as well.  Some people really like spending time with dogs and other animals like cats or horses.  Others play a lot of video games. 

Apart from watching sports, we readily admit that we don’t really enjoy doing any of the things typically described as “fun” by the vast majority of the population.  We have always defined “fun” as working, working out, and spending time with family, full stop, which yes, we know is strange. 

We recently attended a conference where a speaker made an off-hand comment about types of fun, which piqued our interest.  What did he mean?  Looking into the concept further, it turns out there are three types of fun which made us feel marginally better about our lack of normal hobbies.  For those unfamiliar with this concept

Type 1 fun is fun to do while it’s happening and includes activities more traditionally categorized as “fun.”  However, this type of fun is fleeting and makes you want to keep going back for more.  Examples include powder skiing on a beautiful day, going to the beach, having family dinner, eating ice cream and/or drinking margaritas.  This type of fun makes you happy in the moment.  If we had to choose a location to personify Type 1 fun, it would be Miami Beach. 

Type 2 fun is not fun while it’s happening; it actually hurts (sometimes quite a lot) in the moment.  However, Type 2 fun is fun in retrospect and is very fulfilling over the long term.  Examples include running marathons, ice baths, HIIT workouts, caring for an infant, difficult puzzles, etc.  This type of fun makes you happy when it’s over. If we had to choose a location to personify Type 2 fun, it would be the Rocky Mountains.

Type 3 fun is objectively not fun in the moment; it’s so bad it’s not even fun in retrospect.  Examples include running out of water during an ultra-marathon, losing power during an ice storm, almost running out of money while starting a business, or running into a grizzly bear while hiking.  This type of fun has an element of danger, makes you feel alive, pushes your boundaries, and, ultimately, is where you learn the most about yourself and others. In our experience, the most interesting people have lots of Type 3 experiences.  It’s also important to note that Type 3 fun has a way of sneaking back into Type 2, which is why people have more than one child.  If we had to choose a location to personify Type 3 fun, it would be the Oregon Trail.

When we think of building Chenmark, we self-describe that work as “fun” which may be confusing to some.  We now know that our definition of fun rarely includes Type 1 fun; most work at Chenmark is probably best categorized as Type 2 fun—difficult in the moment yet deeply rewarding.  And sometimes, as only operators in the small business space will truly understand, our work is Type 3 fun— we face bizarre, extremely unpleasant situations that challenge us to grow and ultimately fire us up to fight to live another day like no other.  And really, what could be more fun than that?

Have a great week,

Your Chenmark Team

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