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Thoughts upon satisfaction

When was the last time you were bored?

I haven’t been bored for quite a while now. And as much as I am enjoying this rush and this great time where I’m able to do a lot of different things all the time, it also makes me a little worried.

I have written about this topic before. In our modern society we are living in a constant rush and we don’t even know what we’re rushing for. For life to be over? What is so important that we have to do everything now?

At the same time, I noticed many millennials, students, young adults, people like me, questioning their lifestyle. We do want to slow down, we do want to be happy in the moment, but it’s just SO hard. We are triggered by all different things around us, especially advertisement, telling we will only be happy when getting what you want. We are constantly looking for more. More things, more success. Will we ever be satisfied?

I’ve once read study that showed that generally speaking people get used to their success very quickly. Humans can adapt to changes pretty fast and our happiness for what we’ve achieved will slowly fade away. Our happiness levels will stabilise again and we will therefore always long for more.

Maybe it’s in our nature to want the most and even more. Big companies definitely took advantage of this. Selling us stuff we don’t actually need, by telling us we need it to feel pretty, to be loved, to be popular or successful. But has that dress really made you popular?

We are leading our lives to the expectations of other: friends, colleagues, companies, society and ourselves. Success is often linked to economical welfare. We want to be unique, yet we want to have all the stuff other successful people have. We want to be rich. But then, what is richness is you’re still empty inside?

Is this really how we want to spend our life? Rushing and consuming? Working to be spending? Stressed and insecure?

Or is there another way?

Yes there is.

I very recently came across this TED talk.

Natural happiness is what we get when we get what we wanted, and synthetic happiness is what we make when we don’t get what we wanted. And in our society, we have a strong belief that synthetic happiness is of an inferior kind. 

Why do we have that belief? Well, it’s very simple. What kind of economic engine would keep churning if we believed that not getting what we want could make us just as happy as getting it? With all apologies to my friend Matthieu Ricard, a shopping mall full of Zen monks is not going to be particularly profitable, because they don’t want stuff enough. 

Dan Gilbert
TED2004
The surprising science of happiness

We have to make ourselves happy, not with stuff or things outside of us, but with our way of thinking. We have to push ourselves into happy places. We have to tell ourselves: “I am happy”. Because only if we create satisfaction from within ourselves, we will be able to be truly satisfied.