Having Fun!

Tale of the Day: Fun

Last week I was re-reading one of my favorite nonfiction books, “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman.” Feynman was a young professor at Cornell, feeling somewhat “burned out” by teaching introductory physics classes. One day he was in the cafeteria when a guy was fooling around throwing a spinning plate in the air. Feynman noticed the plate wobble, and he noticed that the red medallion of Cornell went around faster than the wobbling. Feynman found this fascinating, and spent some time working out the equations to describe the motion.

His colleague Hans Bethe said, “Feynman, that’s pretty interesting, but what’s the importance of it? Why are you doing it?”

“Hah!” Feynman said, “There’s no importance whatsoever. I’m just doing it for the fun of it.” (pg. 159). Years later, he used the same equations to describe quantum dynamics. Feynman ultimately won the Nobel Prize for his discoveries that were all based on his playing around with the wobbling plate.

If you’re doing something you love, it doesn’t matter where it leads; the journey is the destination. Yet sometimes it leads to wonderful places you would have never suspected and could have never predicted.

Malcom Gladwell believes that genius is not innate talent, it is the result of discovering a deep love of something. Feynman clearly had this love of physics, or he never would have made his discoveries after that day in the cafeteria.

Tool of the Day: Having Fun

Do something you love, something creative, something that has no importance whatsoever—something that you simply enjoy doing for the pure fun of it!

The video below started at a gingerbread-house-making party. I made a castle, and it started getting a bit elaborate. Once the castle was built, it seemed the perfect set for a gummy bear stop-motion animation. Untold hours and days later, this video is the result. I’ve had a lot of fun playing with it! It has no importance, and it’s not likely to win a Nobel prize; it was just fun (and a lot of work) to do.

I hope you enjoy “Episode I: the Bitter Curse.” (I’ll be putting the next four episodes on Youtube each Thursday until Christmas, so if you enjoy this one, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel and find out how the crisis is finally resolved in episode V with a creative way out of conflict.)

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