20 Things I’ve Learned (Or Had Confirmed) About Humanity During The ‘Pandemic’ (THREAD):

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13/ Hedonic adaptation occurs in both directions, and once inertia sets in, it is difficult to get people back to ‘normal’.

Have you ever heard of the Hedonic Treadmill?  The hedonic treadmill, also known as hedonic adaptation, is the observed tendency of humans to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes. According to this theory, as a person makes more money, expectations and desires rise in tandem, which results in no permanent gain in happiness. (thanks Wikipedia)

Another common example of the hedonic treadmill occurs after an individual wins the lottery. At first, the person is ecstatic to have become a millionaire overnight. After several weeks or months, the newly-minted millionaire becomes accustomed to her new lifestyle and experiences a corresponding decrease in happiness.   In fact, a study once showed that people are roughly the same amount of happy 1 year after losing a limb as 1 year after winning the lottery.

Shocking huh?

It’s amazing what we can get used to as people.   In both directions.   There are as many stories of people finding happiness in terrible conditions as there are of miserable people living otherwise fine lives.   Or, as the saying goes, “It’s all Relative.”

I heard a podcast a while back with an Ivy League professor who taught a class on Happiness.   He told the story about his upbringing.   He said that his parents taught him:

  • Study hard and get good grades.  You will get into a good college and be happy.
  • Work hard in college and graduate at the top of your class.  You will get into a good PHD program and that will make you happy
  • He did that then they said get a good job and you will be happy.
  • He did that, then they said “get married and have a family.”
  • He did that and still wasn’t happy.
  • Then he had the realization:  Wouldn’t it just be easier to teach people how to be happy?!

14/ A significant % of people thoroughly enjoy being subjugated.

This is unfortunate – and true.   It’s just easier.  And many people are looking for the path of least resistance.    I also previously wrote another post about the other side of this at www.wellthatmakessense.com/subjugation-isnt-teamwork-or-culture/

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