The 'Fun' Matrix

Everything we do appears in two quadrants.

March 26, 2022

The Fun Scale

I recently read about "the fun scale", by Kelly Cordes. He clarifies that there are a few different types of 'fun':

While type 3 may have simply been a somewhat tongue-in-cheek way to take the first 2 types to the next logical step, it occurs to me that there are actually four types!

Can you think of an experience that was enjoyable in the moment but turned out to be a huge regret in retrospect? That's the missing type! So, the four types as I'd present them are as follows:

The Fun Matrix

They say a picture is worth a thousand words (and an ASCII-art picture is worth a thousand bytes) so let me illustrate with a four-quadrant matrix, something like the Eisenhower Method or Dr. Paul Jenkin's Influence Quandrant:

        |       |             |             |
        |       |             |             |
        |    :) |     Sin     |  Blessings  |
        |       |             |             |
        |       |             |             |
        | Now   +-------------+-------------+
        |       |             |             |
        |       |             |             |
        |    :( |   Trials    |   Growth    |
        |       |             |             |
        |       |             |             |
                |     :(            :)      |
                |           Later           |

Our lives are a complicated compilation of all four types. Let's unpack each, in reverse order:

Type 4: Sin

King Benjamin from The Book of Mormon explains the source of type 4 'fun' perfectly:

Mosiah 3:19

19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

Experience with this type of 'fun' becomes instructive as regret sets in. The good news is that we can rise above our past mistakes to do better and be better.

Type 3: Trials

Hopefully, the amount of type 3 'fun' you have to deal with is minimal, but sometimes life is infuriatingly unfair. While we often have no control over what kind of type 3 'fun' comes our way, we can choose how to react to it. If, like the Nephite people in The Book of Mormon we are treated unfairly, we can turn to the Lord for help and comfort:

Helaman 3:34-35

34 And [the wicked] were lifted up in pride, even to the persecution of many of their brethren. Now this was a great evil, which did cause the more humble part of the people to suffer great persecutions, and to wade through much affliction.
35 Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.

Type 2: Growth

Type 2 is not something that comes naturally to most of us because it requires effort and planning. It requires patience and perseverance in the face of adversity and challenges (all the while wishing for fun in the moment instead). But we look back on the experience with fondness and satisfaction with who we've become or what we learned.

Take, for instance, the sons of King Mosiah in (you guessed it) The Book of Mormon. After serving and preaching among the Lamanites for 14 years, Ammon gushed for an entire chapter about how meaningful the experience was because of all the people who came to a knowledge of the truth and repented of their sins:

Alma 26

Summary: Ammon glories in the Lord—The faithful are strengthened by the Lord and are given knowledge—By faith men may bring thousands of souls unto repentance—God has all power and comprehends all things. About 90–77 B.C. more...

Type 1: Blessings

Someday, when we've 'learned heaven', we'll be capable of a fullness of joy:

1 Corinthians 2:9

9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

For now type 1 is great, but we shouldn't expect it all day every day. Besides, "if all the year were playing holidays, to sport would be as tedious as to work." (William Shakespeare, King Henry IV, Part 1)

-Michael Whatcott