I walked into the grocery and picked up some food for the week. In the self-checkout, the bill rang about $13. I walked out to my 12 year old car. It started up without hesitation. I pulled onto the road and got home in 5 minutes. I made dinner and then settled in to read one of eight books I had borrowed from the public library, one of three branches that are within 5 miles of me. I thought, “I have a lot to be thankful for.” At the end of the evening, after a relaxing time reading, I realized I hadn’t finished my writing for the day and I felt bad.
Recognizing what we have is vital. Gratitude is the foundation of happiness. But what’s just as important is recognizing what we want. Our wants come from the hedonic drive to have more. Not just to have more stuff, but to have more accomplishment. It may be that the accomplishment value lasts longer than the material value, but the cycle of wanting and getting and wanting again continues either way.
The fact is, we’re here for more than a comfortable life, because we will acclimate to whatever standard of living exists in our present day society. What we’re here to do is create something valuable and connect with others who value our creation. Determining what’s valuable is up to each of us. It will lead to our purpose, and then taking action on it. Whether it’s a form of art, or being the best damn office manager ever, we will be happy as we master something.
So realize that our hunger is unstoppable. The trick is, learning how to feed it as our appetite shifts.
When are you at your happiest?