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The Hedonic Treadmill Effect

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This is it. Ground zero. Top roof.

Hedonic Treadmill.jpg

Mostly for most of you people, this is as much happy as you are ever going to get. Some variations, here and there. That is all. I am sorry. Well, I shouldn’t be. You would not be happier because of you. Because your scales would change. Scales you used to measure happiness up till now.

You are earning X. You think you would be happy earning Y. (Y-X) is happiness.

But as soon as you start earning Y, your scales reorient and X converges to Y. (Y-X) tends to zero. Back to the base level position you were earlier. The pursuit of happiness you see is much like walking on a treadmill. You have to keep walking to stay at the same place.

Hence, the Hedonic Treadmill!

Coined by Brickman & Campbell in their 1971 essay “Hedonic Relativism and Planning the Good Society” and later modified by the British psychologist Michael Eysenck, this effect or concept is relevant to us to live more meaningful lives pursing passions we truly care for and understanding that although material gains (including money) are important, more of them wouldn’t make us happier.

Another lesson: Do not forget your roots.

Always stay in touch with your roots. Stay the person who you were previously. Do not change the scales. Maybe. It would definitely make your humble and grounded, but maybe just make you happier.

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Picture Credit: simpleeconomist.com

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