When our challenges match our skills and aren’t overburdened by complexity, we engage in Hard Fun, much like when we play games. 

‘Hard Fun’ is a term coined by MIT computer scientist and mathematician, Seymour Papert.  He got the idea from a 1st grader (Year 2) who, when learning to code, referred to the work as ‘hard and fun’. In other words, learning was fun because it was hard.  

“Can I have that at work”, you ask? Absolutely!  

Striking The Balance

The best challenges are difficult and require you to learn something new and to use critical thinking and innovative problem-solving to complete it.  Learning is a huge motivator!  

Don’t expect to always have balanced challenges.  Every now and then we all feel stressed or bored, which is perfectly natural. However, it’s important to regularly evaluate your challenges with your manager in order to not get stuck in either stress or boredom.

Stress and Boredom

The Opposite of

Hard Fun

If your Balanced Challenges pillar is low, it might be an indication that you’re either bored or stressed.


When given challenges that are too easy and don’t leverage your skills, you can fall into a comfort zone where you’re driven by inertia.  You know the feeling. We’ve all been there at least once! Over time, your work becomes boring and will eventually decrease your motivation.

Tip: Keep your eye on the Balanced Challenges pillar on your Beaconforce dashboard and discuss with your manager when it’s low. 


The opposite is true when you’re challenged beyond your abilities and catapulted into a state of stress. 

People often don’t know when they’re stressed until it gets severe. Use these questions as a guide to determine if you’re stressed:

Do you feel a loss of control? 

Do you get easily angry, often with 

someone who is not at fault?

Are you fleeing from your work 

by focusing on different 

responsibilities or re-delegating your 

tasks to someone else?

Are you experiencing a mental block 

and unable to see things clearly?

Tip:  When faced with too many different tasks, call on your colleagues for support  (this is when social interaction pays off!) or ask to extend deadlines to lift the responsibility and decrease your stress.