The Hedonic Treadmill – Where running is the same as standing – How to not get stagnated in life and beaten in our own game - How to be happy and how to move on
That's a huge title.
Wikipedia defines the Hedonic treadmill as such.
“...as a person makes more money, expectations and desires rise in tandem, which results in no permanent gain in happiness.”
Five years ago, I had really terrible INTERNET. It was slow, with limited bandwidth. I had to carefully choose the websites I visited to about exceeding my bandwidth. I really wanted a high speed INTERNET.
Then I got into a better plan which gave me an increase in speed. But then Bandwidth was always a problem.
Then I got into a plan which not only increased speed but also gave me unlimited bandwidth within a limited period within a day. But then I had to queue all the videos I wanted to see until this particular period when I got unlimited bandwidth and that was kind of irritating.
The I got into an Unlimited plan. But there was a little compromise on speed. Now I was unlimited bandwidth with the best speed possible. And the wants go on.
It is very important to note that, every time I moved up the ladder, I thought, this is enough. I wont need to better this anymore. Only to find myself wanting more and more until there was nothing more to take.
Kind of feels like the first scene from Fight Club with the IKEA nesting Instinct.
Life starts with balance. Life in this planet is designed for air with a specific composition. You need the exact amount of Nitrogen and Oxygen in the Air for efficient living. Too much oxygen or too little oxygen is harmful for life in the planet.
A lot of things need balance. You need two legs of the same size to walk. Blah Blah. Balance is undeniably essential. Shifting of balance requires force to maintain the balance in the place. That force which we might have to give if we shift from our balance point, causes unnecessary (negative) stress in our life.
Positive stress always helps us come up in life. Negative does the opposite.
Let's take something which everyone knows as a common example. Habit.
Malcolm Gladwell in his book, “The tipping point” uses thresholds to explain “the tipping point”. The point when something tips thus making a difference or a change.
When you continuously do something for 21 days, it becomes a habit. 21 days is the threshold for the tipping point. It can be anything; to stop smoking, start jogging, maintaining diet, exercising etc. But this threshold can be different for different individuals. For some the tipping point may be in a week to get a habit anchored, for some may be a month. Th idea of living is to identify these tipping points within yourself and engineer life accordingly, instead of falling prey to statistics. Like in the iphone ad, rules of physics are only general guidelines.
The idea of 21 days habit can be a positive and a negative threshold. If you do something which hurts yourself, it is negative threshold and you should know the tipping point and stop doing it before you reach that point.
If you do something which helps you, it is a positive threshold scenario and you should thus know the tipping point and keep doing whatever it is until you reach that tipping point.
Know thyself. That is not a bad idea, after all.
What's interesting is, when we face negative threshold and realize it, Gratitude for life really kicks in. You sit in your home wondering what advanced smartphone you can buy next and then suddenly, when the news channels announce that a flood is going to strike your house, you begin to think of what you already have and how to protect them.
That is why I've always noticed that people who have faced heart aches, hard ships and come out of their problems successfully are more mature, content, strong and stable in their lives. We all gravitate towards such personalities. The advantage is, after reading this blog post, you now know that you don't need a hard ship to teach you what you already know. But undoubtedly life is the best teacher I've ever seen. It'll be always that way.