Dear 100 Hour Board,
How do you actually enjoy things? Some things are fun to think about and fun in theory (throwing a murder-mystery part, filming a music video with friends, etc), but can be frustrating to actually do. How do you actually enjoy things like that, especially if things go wrong or don't turn out as planned?
Dear Making a Killing,
With Josefina, I would add that for a lot of things, how much fun you get out of it depends on where your focus is. To give an extreme example, if I spend time with my friends, but the only thing I can focus on is how much I want to be watching the next episode of a TV series, I will probably not enjoy it as much as I could have. For me, my want to be doing something productive might seep into the time that I spend with other people. I think that's similar to the comments made in that I have a sense of perfectionism and having high expectations for something can make it disappointing when it doesn't meet those high expectations, even though there are a lot of fun parts of it.
I think another aspect of that is the little things that give you enjoyment. If I am at a boring meeting, for example, I can get a lot of enjoyment out of it if I am there with someone I know and we are both in on it being boring, or if I can make jokes with someone during a class. During a social situation, you can find the part that is fun for you. So, if you are filming a music video with friends, you can try to find the humor in it, or look for ways to make it meaningful for you, like getting to know more about them. I think that a lot of the things that are normally enjoyable that I don't find interesting are normally because I am either doing it with people who I don't connect with, I am having a bad day and haven't given myself time to relax and am trying to burn the candle at both ends, or it is an activity that I don't find interesting or meaningful in the first place and have been pressured into it.
I know that this answer might not have been completely satisfactory, as I know these things and still struggle sometimes to have a good time doing fun things, so if you'd like more help, you can reach out to me at inklings(at)theboard(dot)byu(dot)edu.
For me, it's all about managing expectations. If I can maintain my expectations at a realistic level and identify the parts of the experience that are unlikely to go according to plan, I usually end up having a much better time than if I'm stressing about every detail. This is hard for me, and it can be difficult to let go of certain elements of things, but I'm getting better with practice.
Here's how this usually goes: I'll identify something that I want to do or plan. (I would love to travel to Japan next spring with some of my friends who I go to school with.) I recognize that it's probably unlikely to happen exactly as I imagine, and so I figure out which parts are really important and worthwhile to me, and which elements I can get by without. (The most important parts are 1) experiencing something new, 2) being able to plan and get excited for something with my friends, and 3) sharing a fun extended experience with my friends that we'll remember. I don't actually care quite as much about the location, the nature of the experience, or the exact timing.) I figure out what I can do that's more feasible but still delivers on the most important elements that I identified. (Maybe a camping trip somewhere cool? A road trip to California?)
This doesn't mean to give up on doing what you originally wanted, but it can be helpful to start smaller and work up to the most ambitious ideas. Or, this can also be applied on a smaller scale. Maybe my friends and I are able to take a trip together to Japan next summer - I'll still go through a similar process when we're planning the trip to understand what parts of the trip are most important to me and what I can compromise on.
This is a skill that I'm still learning and practicing, but it's turned out to be very helpful. Learning to be okay with less-than-ideal is freeing me up to enjoy what I do have, which is still pretty dang good.
By finding the beauty in them.