WHO THE **** AM I?
The cycles of living life, making choices, getting into routines and feeling the friction of our values being misaligned is a pain we can all seemingly endure for far too long.
While we’re enduring that pain, something inside of us is wearing out.
BROKEN VALUES OR JUST HEDONIC ADAPTATION
On the surface, we’re adapting to having less love for what we’re doing, who we’re with - but underneath we’re losing the juice we used to have, and the joy we used to exude when we were doing those things.
It’s hard to tell sometimes because of something called Hedonic Adaptation: our wiring as humans to adapt over time to even the most incredible feelings or sensations or pleasures, rendering them eventually… blah.
That’s why hedonic adaptation can be a false cause when we’re looking at our dissatisfactions in life - we think that “we actually have it really f*cking amazing” and it’s only because we’re getting lazy, or losing our excitement that we’re unhappy in life.
When all of our efforts are spent on an obvious trend of increasing unhappiness… we get into subtle fight flight or freeze mode.
And what do we do then? Fight ourselves and work harder. Or fight the environment and start burning relationships. We run away from our responsibilities and relationships. Or we start acquiring little addictions that help us run away from the downward trending reality. Or we get stuck - freeze up, stuck in our feelings and circling thoughts, and stop making any kind of progress… which in our fast paced world means regressing. Or we ice out the people around us.
Hedonic adaptation is a fact of life. It’s going to happen. So you actually shouldn’t even worry about it. Welcome it. Because if you welcome it, then you can enjoy everything you’ve got fully without worrying - and then when you’re ready for something fresh, you are paying attention to the signals and can make the moves you need to make to enjoy your life.
Obviously gratitude is an incredible way to seriously reduce hedonic adaptation - or if you’re a zen master you could wipe it completely, with the sight of tea leaves blowing your mind every morning.
Thing about being a zen master is though, that you realize that in life there is nothing BUT change. There is no such thing as constant. No such thing as this or that. Everything is everything and everything is always in flux and the only thing you truly have is awareness which has no preferences and is purse bliss. Hedonic adaptation doesn’t exist in that space.
If you’re not a zen master, though, (even if you are, you’ll still need this next bit to go all the way) and you want to be able to not get stuck in life, and burn your inner joy to the ground, you’ll need a set of these, and you’ll need to update them constantly:
FROM PLEASURE, TO PAIN, TO POWER AND PEACE
Sounds like something they’d have you do in some good-feels-highschool-course that everyone has to take…
But it’s the bedrock of living an incredible, progressing, deeply satisfied, connected life that can handle anything life throws at it.
Your goals come easily out of them x the landscape of your life x your creativity.
Your major decisions in life come from them and can fall on them.
It’s your compass and map. It’s what lets you know, when you’ve been sick of your life for too many days, that you’re actually living off the mark from what really matters to you in life.
If you want a cool ass guide on building your own values - here’s a great article by Mark Manson
Because there’s nothing shitter than enduring a painful life when you don’t have to, and actually just shouldn’t - get your values straight and you can save yourself from a ton of pain, frustration and angst.
Not to mention give yourself the upsides of the subtle joy of alignment, excitement of growth and challenge in areas you care about and the satisfaction of enjoying the fruits you’ve dreamed of harvesting one day.
Start today. And refresh often.