Thursday, November 11, 2010

Different Types of Fun

Continuing on the Happiness theme. I came across this categorization of different types of fun in Gretchen Rubin's book The Happiness Project, which was illuminating to me. (Aside: Her year-long happiness experiment is going to be a short NBC show, starring Kristin Davis of Sex and the City fame.)

From The Happiness Project:
Challenging Fun
is the most rewarding but also the most demanding. It can create frustration, anxiety, and hard work. It often requires errands. It takes time and energy. In the end, however, it pays off with the most satisfying fun.

Usually less challenging, but still requiring a fair bit of effort, is accommodating fun. A family trip to the playground is accommodating fun. Yes, it's fun, but I'm really there because my children want to go. Was it Jerry Seinfeld who said, "There's no such thing as 'Fun for the whole family'"? Going to a family holiday dinner, even going to dinner and a movie with friends, requires accommodation. It strengthens relationships, it builds memories, it's fun – but it takes a lot of effort, organization, coordination with other people, and, well, accommodation.

Relaxing fun is easy. I don’t have to hone skills or take action. There's very little coordination with other people or preparation involved. Watching TV—the largest consumer of the world's time after sleeping and work – is relaxing fun.

I now realize that my fun allocation in my 'fun portfolio' is very heavily weighed towards relaxing fun. I will aim for the other two as well.

Here are a few more excerpts that I had jotted down from The Happiness Project book.

[On the 4 stages of happiness]
I realized happiness has four stages. To eke out the most happiness from an experience, we must anticipate it, savor it as it unfolds, express happiness, and recall a happy memory. Any single happy experience may be amplified or minimized, depending on how much attention you give to it.

[On characteristics she admires in the seemingly happy-go-lucky people] It is easier to complain than to laugh, easier to yell than to joke around, easier to be demanding than to be satisfied.

[On realizing that soon her young daughters will be much older and most of daily the activities with them will change. I like the phrase "preemptive nostalgia" which I myself experience a lot of.] This moment of preemptive nostalgia was intense and bittersweet; from that moment of illumination, I've had a heightened awareness of the inevitability of loss and death that has never left me.

Related Posts:
Embracing the Paradoxes


Bill Birnbaum said...

Hi, Ram... Thanks for making me think about the different types of fun. I've never before thought of categorizing fun. I have, however, realized that fun, pleasure and joy (in that order) represent increasing levels of enjoyment. Bill

Ram said...


The categorization is Gretchen's. I am just passing them on, because like you, I hadn't paid that much attention to the types before.