Are You Having Fun Yet?









Brighton Science Festival | 7th September 2017 | Are You Having Fun Yet?

I went along thinking it would be good to hear what someone had to say about fun and all credit to Ben Fincham who was highly engaging, charasmatic and fun!


  1. Is fun a bi product pertaining to other areas of life or is it something in and of itself?
  2. Happiness is often conflated with Wellbeing (ref National Happiness Index 2010). Does fun have a part to play in our happiness and wellbeing?



  • Moments of levity with someone
  • Usually not work connected
  • Often alleviates the beasts of monotony



The use of the word “Fun” has evolved over the years:

  • 17th Century: Usually referred to cheating or a swindle(r)
  • 18th Century: Usually referred to lower classes. Often subversive
  • 19th Century: Working class subversion; not doing what your boss tells you
  • 20th Century: Exciting goings on. Post WW2, fun becomes an important part of who you are and characterised how someone lived in the moment. Previously, the sophisticated classes took pleasure in something
  • Modern Day: Social media focuses and accentuates fun



  • Temporality: a deviation from the norm, very much in the here and now
  • A temporary alleviation of responsibility or anticipation
  • Distraction: where the focus is on the fun experience and not what preceded it


CHILDHOOD FUN (uninhibited/public)

Some of the most common references mentioned by children:

  • Outdoors
  • Water
  • Play


ADULT FUN (structured and contextualised)

Often adults will say that they don’t have fun, but if they do refer to it, it is usually contextualised as follows:

  • Talking, banter, laughter
  • Holiday, sports, travel
  • Grandparent inter-actions with grandchildren


The Schema of Fun -v- Pleasure

Ben Fincham referred to fun being on a scale with Pleasure.

Where Pleasure conveys some degree of committment and dedication, Fun is instantaneous and flippant:

  • Fun > Pleasure
  • Trivia > Relevance
  • Repetition > Progression
  • Spectacle > Aesthetic
  • Transgression > Commitment



  • Inhibition interrupts adults having fun. Fincham made a point that inhibition is taught with levels of  seriousness increasing through the life cycles process
  • Adult fun usually involves cutting lose of those inhibitive norms/contexts – eg. Friday, holiday, pub, etc
  • Drugs/alcohol are often mentioned alongside adult fun; providing a forced context within which to have fun
  • Not having fun is pretty much part of the normal day to day
  • Life Satisfaction levels show a massive dip between the ages of  40-59 (ref: ONS)
  • Happiness levels also dip, as above
  • Anxiety levels shoot up through the course of the life cycle process
  • More social responsibilities result in lower levels of fun and happiness all round
  • Notably, all levels of happiness improved in the 65+ age groups; Responsibility, commitment and anxiety alll reduced after 65



  • Having fewer worries aids happiness
  • Allow space to have moments to be spontaneous – just like children
  • It can be good not knowing outcomes (just like children). It is the unexpected that matters
  • Acknowledge fun. Be naughty (transgress the power norms)




michael laffey life coach, life coach sussex, michael laffey, east sussex, brighton, hove, worthing, lancing, lewes, eastbourne

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