Sunday, May 4, 2014

Hedonic treadmill

"In social psychology, this phenomenon is called the 'hedonic treadmill'--the shifting of desires relative to achievements."
--Kevin Roose, Young Money

There's plenty of food for thought in this book about young workers on Wall Street, and I may discuss it more in a future post, but this quote caught my eye. Writers and Wall Street financiers may seem to have little in common on the surface, but I recognized the "hedonic treadmill" immediately, though I'd never heard such a name for it before. Writers often talk about moving from the if-only-I-could-publish-something-I'd-be-p

erfectly-happy-and-fulfilled mindset, to wanting more and more with each goal achieved: earning out, foreign sales, stars or awards, bestseller status, selling another book, selling film rights, etc.

In one sense, it's natural to set new goals when we've met an initial goal. But in another sense, there should also be time to linger on the plateau of contentment, smelling the roses awhile.

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