Happiness: Where has all the fun gone? But more importantly how to get it back!


by Carl Massy: Do you remember how much fun it was as a child to save up for something that you really wanted? Perhaps you wanted to buy a skateboard, a bike, a Barbie doll, a G.I. Joe (showing my age) or money for the rides at the local annual carnival.

The excitement of saving up – maybe for weeks or months – meant that the whole excitement associated with owning that Barbie doll lasted for ages. It also made the final purchase so much sweeter, because it was the culmination of all that hard work saving. Earl Nightingale said that success (which impacts on happiness) is the ‘progressive realization of a worthy goal’. So this process of saving and then purchasing actually made us feel, as children, successful and full of self-esteem.

Compare that scenario with…

I decide I want something. I buy it on credit card. I feel elated about the purchase. I start paying off the credit card bill (which does not feel like fun but a chore). By the time I pay off the credit card debt, there is a chance that the happiness I initially experienced from the purchase has worn off.

So where is the ‘Happiness Tip’ here you may ask?

  1. Realise that it is a gift for a child to work towards something they truly want. It creates a ‘flow experience’ as defined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Psychologist) in his book ‘Flow’.
  2. Consider doing the saving up thing yourself if you want to extend the happiness experience, satisfaction, excitement and increase in self-esteem.
  3. Be more conscious about how and when you use your credit cards. You might be spoiling the fun yourself.