Success and Fun: the Bradlee Effect

Ben Bradlee's left a legacy of fun at the Washington Post

I think the same is true in personal relationships. What determines success in those intimate circles? Yes, communication is important. And a shared sense of values and shared goals is key. But bet on the relationships where the couple is having fun. Really authentic fun, and not merely just pleasure seeking or satisfying. Where laughter is genuine, where joy is readily apparent, and where it feels like a playground of interaction engaged in fun of mind, body and soul.

I know journalism, flying airplanes (or any business endeavor), presidential campaigns, and relationships are serious business. But we have to be able to do serious things without taking ourselves too seriously. The world can be a heavy place, so why not try to add some lightness to our life whether in our professions or our partnerships? Doing serious things in a fun way might be a paradox, but it is the path to succeeding.

If we watch children, we are drawn to their spontaneous play, their exuberance, their sense of awe, their abandon, and their fun. We can each be more childlike without becoming childish. My 12-year-old daughter who spent nearly a year in the hospital, had numerous surgeries, and lost her identical twin sister early on, has shown me the power of living life with fun and abandon through pain and problems. God bless her.

So as we look forward, and seeing the effect Bradlee had on a business and those around him, look for the endeavors having the most fun and throwing positive energy out without limit. And if you are wondering who is going to be the next president, or which companies are going to succeed, or whether a relationship is working, don't bet on black. Bet on the light, and fund the fun.

There you have it.

Matthew Dowd is an ABC News analyst and special correspondent.