When was the last time you bought something that you really wanted?
How long after you bought it where you coming down off that buyers high?
That is the Hedonic Treadmill
Where you have highs and lows yet they are quickly attenuated back to your normal state of being.
This is, for better or worse, human nature.
We have all probably realized that we are influenced by this behavior. And, have been for our entire lives. But, taking specific notice of the Hedonic Treadmill it can help us both personally and professionally.
As you look upon your list of goals.
You have lists, right?
Continuing on… As you look upon your list of goals you can start to play a little bit of psychology with yourself to evaluate how, when, and how much adaptation you apply to the Hedonic Treadmill.
These goals can and should be both personal and professional.
The same methodology and thought processes can be applied to things you’re doing at work. As you consider programs, processes, and the achievement of said programs and processes you can and should apply the thinking of the Hedonic Treadmill to your colleagues, peers, partners, and customers.
This is not mind control.
This is being respectful and realistic about how the human mind processes accomplishments and setbacks.
Note: I said accomplishments AND setbacks.
I mention both accomplishments and setbacks because the Hedonic Treadmill applies to both equally.
As we buy things, earn kudos, and/or gain recognition that high is fantastic. But, be realistic and expect it to wear off. Because it will. Also, be realistic that different people have different rates of efficacy. Meaning, some people will go for hours, weeks, days with that high and that accomplishment.
Others may attenuate a lot faster.
Just be realistic as you’re putting things together for how fast your hedonic high lasts and how rapidly it attenuates. And, consider that when you’re putting together programs at work or your personal life that you are working with other peoples hedonic highs and attenuation rates.
Whether it’s a new car, a new television, or even a new job… That buyers high will wear off.
This is also true if you get passed over for a promotion or lose a big sale. That negative feeling will also wear off.
This is the same with your colleagues and customers.
As we spin around on the Hedonic Treadmill we also spin around on this thing called Earth.
In order to stand out in your career and in life… Be mindful of the rate of both.