Why I Made Gold Star

(Because You’re Doing Happiness Wrong)


I made Gold Star because I wanted to make happiness fun. That may seem like an odd sentence to many people: aren’t happiness and fun one and the same? Surprisingly, the answer is no.

To elaborate, I want to share a story from my past. Right after I graduated from college, I made mid six figures from online poker and used it to travel abroad. As a stupid kid in my 20s with freedom and disposable income, I had a lot of fun.

Balling while sad. ☹

Unfortunately, I was also deeply unhappy.

Every fun thing I did only acted as a temporary high to distract me from my melancholy; nothing led to true and lasting happiness.

In the end, I only became happier when I changed the way I thought about happiness. The problem was I viewed happiness as a condition that just happens: either people have it or they don’t, and they certainly don’t have to work for it. Consider any fairy tale you’ve ever read: prince meets princess, saves her from distress, and the two of them are happy forever, without any more effort from either of them.

The dark side of happily ever after.

I’m here to tell you that’s wrong. Happiness is a goal that requires continuous work and maintenance.

The best example of this is showing gratitude. I’ve tried a lot of things, and the one act I’ve found to consistently improve my happiness is showing gratitude to the people in my life (the science backs me up on this).

By simply thinking about the wonderful people in your life, you’ll become happier. And it works even better when you tell the person that you’re grateful towards.

Sick phone call to your mom, bro…

Unfortunately, many people associate such acts of gratitude as a chore (when was the last time you invited your friends out to a fun night of calling your moms to tell them you love them?)

That’s why I made Gold Star; Instead of being a chore, I wanted to make showing gratitude easy, spontaneous and fun. Gold Star is a dedicated channel with a clear context that lets you send appreciation to those most important in you life. On the other end, you can be sure the recipient will be able to to find by viewing them in an environment free from the clutter of everyday messaging.

Gratitude everyday.

In the past month, I’ve used Gold Star with my girlfriend to let her know all the little things she does that I appreciate: the way she gives me a hug before I go to work, the cute drawings she makes for me when I’m sad, or when I have to work late and she comes by to visit me. These little acts of appreciation have made me happier and our relationship better.

When we think of happiness and relationships, we tend to think of the grand gestures while glossing over the little things. Precisely because of their everyday nature, we learn to take them for granted. But those little acts of kindness — and the people responsible for them — will matter a lot more in the long run than any bouquet of flowers.

Don’t take those wonderful people for granted: let them know every day how much they matter to you, and make them, and yourself, happier in the process.

Acknowledgements: Larry Koster for edits and Kasey Robinson for pictures be being wonderful. Come check out Gold Star at goldstar.io.