Published: 23rd January 2021
E-Canteen Fundas: Quit short-term binges for long-term happiness
Pro Tip: The effects of positive and negative changes in your life are relatively short term. You’re better off choosing in favour of things that make you happy in the long term
Rinku, said Rahul on their Zoom call. ‘Check out my brand new phone.’
‘Wow,’ said Rinku. ‘But your old phone was good too. Why this expensive one, dude?’
‘It makes me happy,’ smiled Rahul, taking a selfie.
‘What do you think would really make you happy?’ said Rakesh.
‘A world tour,’ said Rahul, ‘A Lamborghini, being super rich…’
‘A laptop,’ said Rinku, ‘Big house, fat bank balance...’
‘Nice,’ said Rakesh. ‘According to a concept called Hedonic Treadmill, we tend to return to our baseline state of happiness even after a major change in our life, that is, we get back to where we started. So getting a lot of money, buying a new gadget, getting a promotion and so on gives us only a short spike in happiness. What’s your experience with your new phone, Rahul?‘
‘True, bhaiyya,’ said Rahul. ‘After the initial excitement, I feel the same as I did with my old phone.’
‘Wow,’ said Rinku. ‘Is it true for negative changes also, bhaiyya?’
‘Yes,’ said Rakesh. ‘Even after negative changes like losing money, getting a bad deal, having a health issue or losing people and so on, we return to our original state of happiness faster than we think. In effect, becoming the richest man or losing your prized possessions may not impact you as much as you think.’
‘Then what should we do?’ asked Rahul. ‘Not buy new stuff?’
‘Not at all,’ said Rakesh. ‘There’s nothing wrong in buying a new phone, car, house, travel and so on. Just make better and more aware choices for yourself. Knowing about the Hedonic Treadmill helps you choose in favour of what gives you long-term happiness. You can choose, instead of reacting.’
‘Any pointers on how we should choose, bhaiyya?’ asked Rinku.
‘Choosing what you do with your time and energy contributes significantly to your long-lasting happiness,’ said Rakesh. ‘Doing things you’re passionate about, investing in friendships, etc. Also, choosing ‘not to do’ things that bother you helps big time.’
‘So, I can do what makes ‘me’ happy instead of copying others,’ said Rinku. ‘You know, I love teaching so I will choose to teach even at a lesser pay instead of running after a high paying job.’
‘And instead of buying new fancy phones because others are, I could invest in things that give me long-term comfort,’ said Rahul, ‘Like a mattress or comfortable shoes. No need to invest in things that get me back to where I started. Thanks, bhaiyya.’
Pro Tip: The effects of positive and negative changes in your life are relatively short term. You’re better off choosing in favour of things that make you happy in the long term.