Let’s talk about hedonic adaptation. Hedonic adaptation is the phenomenon of a loss of novelty in an experience. Wake up on a beach 100 times and it will become routine. Something is lost. Some of the brilliance, the awe, why we fell in love with that beach to begin with, is somehow not there anymore.
What a tragedy that by loving something, by suffocating it with our need to experience it we numb ourselves to it. We can do this to places, to songs, to people, to relationships, anything! After all everything worthwhile is finite.
But is it really so tragic?
Or is it just our soul or a longing within ourselves telling us to move. To move, because there is so much more to experience in this world and in life. Move because we have a Finite amount of time to discover the Infinite.
What happens to people who are stuck in the same routine year after year? Who follow a path that promises the impossibility of security. A path that provides the comfort of familiarity at the expense of spontaneity. Does life not then becoming boring? Predictable? Unfulfilling?
That is not life. it is existence and there is a distinction between the two.
Sure, a holiday here and there breaks up the monotony and even when you return things seem novel again at least for a week or two. But if you fall back into the same pattern, if you sit still and simply exist, you cannot live. You are stuck expecting, waiting for something that will never come. Unless, you go and get it.
“If you do tomorrow what you did today, you will get tomorrow what you got today” – Benjamin Franklin
If we can find out in life what makes us happy, what makes us feel we can nurture those experiences. Nurture, not smother. It is a discipline, like exercising, eating healthy or meditating. We can listen to what our soul is telling us to, what we hedonically adapt to. Is this experience serving me anymore or is the universe telling me there is more to learn and experience? It is time to let ourselves grow. It is time to move once again. Time to take a risk in order to live.
That is not to say that we abandon those experience, far from it, they are a part of us. But maybe we are abusing that experience. Maybe we are doing something because we have just always done it. Maybe we just need a break to experience something new so we can rediscover why we fell in love with that experience to begin with.
We can even use this understanding to eliminate things that restrict us in life. For instance, Fear. Facing your fears over and over again, becoming numb to the things that once held you back can liberate you and open you up to the beauty of new experience.
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield explains this phenomenon of adapting to your fears perfectly if you have a spare 20 minutes to listen to his Ted Talk.
What I have been discovering is that Life is about movement. It is innate in all of us this urge to explore, to question, to discover, to live. It is what makes us happy. It can be difficult to leave familiarity, because fear of the unknown protects us from our curiosity. But take a chance! We can fool ourselves into waiting for happiness but happiness doesn’t come to those who wait. It comes to those who go and get it!
“I believe every human being has a finite number of heartbeats. I dont intend to waste any of mine” Neil Armstong.
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