My snowboarding friend Kristine (think back to the post about her throwing me down a mountain as a means of acquiring the skill quickly and without hesitation…) recommended the book “The Geography of Bliss,” by Eric Weiner ( BOOK ). It’s been an interesting book thus far, and the author’s primary concern throughout the course of the book is: WHAT MAKES PEOPLE HAPPY? Obviously, I’m into it!
He goes off on a tangent about how we are wired to crave things that don’t actually make us happy, such as money and sex. Sure, they bring spouts of immediate gratification. The hedonic treadmill goes hand in hand with these spouts. The rush we feel when acquiring these things decreases, and we need more and more to get that same rush. It’s like drug abuse. Wikipedia defines the hedonic treadmill as follows: “According to this theory, as a person makes more money, expectations and desires rise in tandem, which results in no permanent gain in happiness.” Yes, I’m quoting Wikipedia, the most reliable source on the web…(note sarcasm). But you get my point.
We are wired to think certain things will make us happy. But conversing with friends, it seems everyone is always looking for the next thing to make them happy. Once the raise comes, a person is looking for the next vacation. They are looking for their next HAPPINESS FIX. We are a bunch of happiness addicts, us humans, reaching for the wrong fix. Once we get the thing that’s SUPPOSED to make us happy, we are momentarily happy, but then follows that melancholic feeling again. Why am I not happy? Unless you happen to be one of those lucky enlightened beings who have found everlasting bliss. I’d like to talk to you, I have some everlasting questions.
It would seem happiness lies somewhere within, away from all that we THINK will make us happy. Perhaps we should find the actual happiness lever, and stop reaching outside for potential stimulants? Just a thought. Let it marinate…