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Filling Your Glass and Fighting Hedonic Adaptation

There's a concept called hedonic adaptation, which says that we quickly adjust to any increased level of comfort or luxury and cease to appreciate it. Anything good that happens to us becomes our new normal, and we look higher up the ladder, not realizing that we'll quickly adjust to those rungs as well.

The trick, then, is to suppress your hedonic adaptation, while still climbing up that ladder. If you can manage to do that, you can fully appreciate everything you already have, and future accomplishments, acquisitions, etc., will also be fully appreciated.

I don't know if it's fully possible to suppress hedonic adaptation. There's some evidence that zen monks who meditate all the time can do it to a large degree. Even if we're not going to spend all day meditating and will never fully get rid of it, though, we can easily move in that direction.

One strategy I use is to occasionally ask myself, "What's amazing in my life?" For one reason or another, this tends to happen when I'm en route somewhere, either on the subway, walking, or on my motorcycle.

Sometimes It's Better Not to Know

I'm sitting in the Kansas City terminal, waiting for my next flight. The barbecue restaurant there serves shockingly large portions, which, combined with waking up early today, has me feeling sleepy.

I should work, I think. My eyes are half closed, though, and I can't imagine thinking through tough problems like the one waiting for me on Sett. I think about writing a blog post, but my past few days have been weak, so I want to be awake and do a good one. I think about doing some basic todo list stuff, but I'm already losing concentration after the first google search.

Okay, but if I'm not going to work, what am I going to do? The answer turns out to be downloading an episode of Restaurant Stakeout. I'm not proud to write that sentence.

I think I've seen about two episodes of that show. The first I saw at my aunt and uncle's house. Not knowing anything about the restaurant business, I found it really fascinating. Then I was on some red-eye flight and I saw an episode on the in-filght entertainment system.

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