hide

Read Next

Having Enough and Wanting More

I have everything I could possibly need. I have a really cool house-on-wheels, enough good food to keep me healthy and full, great friends and family, enough money to travel around a bit, computer, etc. By any reasonable definition, I have enough.

Yet I want more. The background of my computer is a Piper Malibu, a really cool six-seater airplane that has a pressurized cabin and a pretty decent range for a small plane. I'm a little bit sick of looking at it, but I told myself I was leaving it as my wallpaper until I owned one. I want it.

I get emails about this, once in a while. Aren't we supposed to be content with what we have and not desire anything? Aren't we supposed to go go go and conquer the worldd and become fabulously wealthy? Which one is it?

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.

Rendering New Theme...