Education · October 15, 2019


What was once your biggest accomplishment is now ordinary. Your dream of being a millionaire is always fancier than the reality after you become one. The same luxury car no further gives you that adrenaline rush as it used to. You still lookout, after a couple of years of getting through the most coveted job.

Have you ever wondered why? Why do things go down the scale?

The answer to this is secretly hidden in the way evolution designed our brain. A new car excites us, a new haircut makes us happy, a new house increases our happiness by leaps and bounds. Our brain loves novelty. It is designed to push us to explore the unexplored and to force us beyond our set limits to scale up in life.

Plunging into a value judgement about the topic is inessential since the merit in the discussion is way more rewarding than the debate itself.

When you are not satisfied you seek new possible ways to have what you don’t possess. The most vital part of this is seeking. You train your psyche to adapt to new stimuli. Your yearning for the new is motivation. You willingly alter your beliefs, perceptions and thoughts.

There is a region in your brain which is associated with novelty called the substantia nigra/ventral segmental area or SN/VTA. This is the novelty centre in your brain which response to new stimuli. Dopamine pathways are activated when we are exposed to something new. Dopamine is the brains reward chemical but it is also closely related to our motivation to anticipate the reward.

Have you ever wondered why you want to gamble even after you have won for the day? The sheer hope of achieving more money!

Every time you indulge in adventure sports remembers it’s your dopamine that is hungry enough to hog on the new experience. It’s sort of “gimme more” kinda neurotransmitter.

While the internet is flooded with content popularizing modest living. I am at odds with the very notion of a half-lived life masked as pragmatism & self-consciousness. The dictionary meaning of the word “modest” is “unassuming in the estimation of one’s abilities or achievements”. What is the glory in underplaying?

Being heir to supremacy is a one time opportunity. Make the most of it.

Every time you are hit by the dopamine slack explore new things for that much-needed dose of inspiration to chase it out.

Positive psychology also explains this satisfied to never being satisfied journey. Humans will always return to a stable level of happiness despite major positive or negative life events. It is called hedonic treadmill or hedonic adaptation. According to this theory, there is no permanent happiness. More will at point be less and we will eventually end up maintaining a constant level of happiness or the happiness set point despite events occurring in our lives.

The merit in this theory is its approval on human adaptation.

Now that you know there is every chance you will bounce back to balance, no point drowning in the guilt of asking for more.

It’s organic to perennially look for more to be happy. That’s the key source of motivation to go on and that is what growth looks like. But if it’s getting in the way of maintaining that healthy balance between seeking more and living with what you already have start by doing these things:

Never restrain yourself:

Knowing that it is not your last goal is an empowering idea in itself. It can be a great reservoir of inspiration. You know there would be one more chance to perform at peak. So go ahead and just do it. Even if you fumble you got one more chance and one more after that. You got your entire life to experiment, to explore, to fail, to win, to acquire, to lose. It is a process and not the end. So, let loose from the noose. Self-doubt is just going to delay self-exploration.

The addition is true satisfaction, not acquisition:

Every new skill that you add as a result of your goals is your true earning. Acquisition is short-lived for its relevance is only temporary. True satisfaction lies in you evolving to your best self. Your skills can not only impact your life but also those around you. That helps you calculate the dividend you earned for the invested effort. If it is as big as a legacy you deserve a pat on the back.

Never borrow satisfaction:

Each of us has to carve our way to satisfaction. Only then it is perennial. What works for another might not work for you. Satisfaction is personal and neither can be shared nor inherited. Each of us is designed for different things and that’s what adds diversity to the world around us. Imagine if each of us started doing similar things!

Practice resilience:

Accept your ability to adapt. It’s genetically coded in you. Believe in your power. Situations are superficial because they are temporary. Don’t let your stress hormones overpower your serotonin and dopamine. Make it a point to focus and reorganize your life goals. Remember, there are further steps to climb in the ladder of life. This isn’t the end.

Live in the present:

“The present is your future past”. Thus spend it wisely. Everything that is available is only for now. If you yearn for the future living in the present it will erode away what you already own. The greatest secret to being satisfied is to live with what you have while planning for what you are about to live with.