Daniel Kahneman makes this point when discussing how bad we are at predicting happiness. We dream about
different circumstances in a vacuum while ignoring negative factors that come along with those circumstances. Dreaming about sitting on a beach brings more joy than actually being on a beach, because in the dream you’re not thinking about getting bit by mosquitos, or having heartburn from lunch, or the little creatures crawling all over you, which is what actually happens in the real world.
When we have X and we think it should be sufficient to live a happy life, we see others having 2x and think that
is what would make us happier. And then we raise the bar to 3x, 4x, and 10x and it becomes a never-ending process.
It goes without saying that this is a path to bankruptcy, personally if not financially. The more you stay on this
treadmill, the more it breaks you down. And thus, it pays to get off while you still can.
You don’t have to quit your job to get off the hedonic treadmill. You do that only when you stop to ask this question
– How much is enough?
The most powerful common denominator of happiness and How much is enough is simple: “Having a strong sense of controlling one’s life is a more dependable predictor of positive feelings of wellbeing than any of the objective conditions of life we have considered”.
More than your salary, more than the size of your house, more than the prestige of your job, control over
doing what you want, when you want to, with the people you want to, is the broadest lifestyle variable that makes people happy. The ability to do what you want, when you want, with who you want, for as long as you want, is priceless.
This weekend, Take a control over your life, Get off the Hedonic treadmill and stay blessed forever.