What is the hedonic treadmill and how can you get off it?
The hedonic treadmill is when a person has made a lot of progress in their life goals, yet they are no happier after accomplishing the goals than they were before them. This happens most frequently with money. People think that when they earn more money they will instantly become happier. This is not how money works. Even with the expectations people have for money, they are often no happier after getting a pay raise.
Outstanding, Thomas. Please allow me to add a bit more. Humans adapt to whatever new and “amazing” thing comes into their lives. That could be more money like Thomas stated or it could be that new and “amazing” thing (car, outfit, home, vacation, phone, etc.) they just acquired. Within a short period of time that “amazing” thing or increase in pay becomes ordinary and then we want the next “amazing” thing or more money. This causes you to stay on this manic hedonic treadmill with no way to get off (advertisers feed off this emotional response). How do you get off it?
Become grateful for what you have. Look at your life and tell yourself: I have enough. Stop chasing more and start focusing on what you have, which for many Americans is a lot. Stop searching outside of you for higher levels of personal fulfillment and happiness and start searching within. The answers lie within. More on this topic could be learned by reading the wonderful book, Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez. You can also follow this idea in a blog by going to mrmoneymustache.com.
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