More Than One Type of Fun?

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When analyzing why people spend so much time watching TV, and how that fits into our day-to-day happiness, Gretchen Rubin broke “fun” down into the following three types…

The first is CHALLENGING FUN, which she considers the most rewarding, as well as the most demanding. This includes hobbies such as playing an instrument, or a sport. For example, when learning to play golf you need to learn the equipment, the rules, the motions. It can cause frustration, and takes a lot of time until you are any good at it. But after practice and determination it becomes more fun. Challenging fun require patience, time, and energy.

ACCOMMODATING FUN is usually less challenging, but it does still require some effort. This could include things such as going to a family dinner, going to the movies with friends, or going on a date. All of these require ACCOMMODATION. You are having fun, and enjoying yourself, but you are also building stronger relationships with friends and family, you’re making memories, and you’re having to make compromises for the other people in your life. As well as accommodation, this type of fun needs a lot of energy, organization and coordination.

The final type of fun is RELAXING FUN, which includes watching TV, requires very little energy. It doesn’t need to involve other people, and when it does there is very little coordination and preparation involved. It is practically effortless, and it is relaxing.

Relaxing fun is more passive than the other types, but doesn’t bring as much long term happiness. Once you have learned to play golf, you can have fun countless times over the course of your life playing in different places and with different people.

So, if relaxing fun isn’t as fun as challenging or accommodating fun, why do we spend so much time watching TV? In the US, people spend more than four hours a day watching TV. Why is it so popular?

Gretchen suggests that this is because we need to put more effort into challenging and accommodating fun in order to get more out of it, we tend to avoid it. Many of the activities we can engage in to give us more happiness over time require the most effort. In order to boost happiness over time, try to introduce more challenging or accommodating fun into you day.


Written by: Philippa Berry

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