Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Biggest Letdown: Wanting Is Not The Same As Having

"I would be so happy if only...." 

You tend base your goals upon what you believe to be your desires. In fact, one of the basic premises of economics is that people know their own likes and dislikes. But we often find out that what we thought we wanted before we got it is no longer what we really want once we have it.

Just as people adapt rapidly to drastic events like winning the lottery or becoming paralyzed, we get used to almost anything we are frequently exposed to. That’s why the money we spend on big purchases gives us such a perishable pleasure. 

To put a twist on the Rolling Stones lyric, you can’t always want what you get. Take that new SUV. When you first drive it off the lot, it glistens like a gigantic jewel and feels just as fast and safe and soft and roomy as you had dreamed. Becoming an owner is even better than you imagined. But soon, being one turns out to be worse. In a couple of weeks the last race of new car smell is gone. In a month or two, the exterior is scarred with little dings and scratches, while the interior is splattered with coffee, Gatorade, and goodness knows what else. It’s hard to park and every time you pull out of a gas station you leave at least $50 behind. 

With each passing day, the contrast between your vision of what ownership would be and the reality of what it has turned out to be will become more glaring. Therefore, while you might not be quite willing to renounce your new SUV, it will probably give you much less pleasure than you were sure you would get from it. 

Same goes for the beautiful new suit or shoes (they’ll get stained or go out of style too soon) or the kitchen you just remodeled (the counter top gets chipped, the floor tiles get scratched, and somehow the fridge still isn’t big enough). 

Big capital expenditures can give us a great deal of pleasure when we imagine the results ahead of time. Unfortunately, the vision pales by comparison when it collides with the reality. You are left weighing what you got against what you dreamed you would have and the results can feel flawed and a little dirty compared with your dream. 

Because those original dreams remain so vivid, you often come to the wrong conclusion. Instead of realizing that big spending will probably never make you happy, you conclude that you simply spend your bundle on the wrong thing: “Next time I’m getting a Lexus instead of this doggone SUV/Acura/Camry/Cadillac.” Then if the Lexus lets you down, you wish for a BMW/Audi/Infiniti and so on—condemning yourself to an unending cycle of buildups and letdowns.

George Bernard Shaw was right when he wrote, “There are two tragedies in life: one is to lose your heart’s desire. The other is to gain it.”

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Healthy Compassion: Bringing the 10 Commandments Into the 21st Century

These days, shouts go back and forth among certain religious and non religious groups about whether or not one can be moral without religion or a belief in a separate, supreme deity.

In their latest book,  Atheist Mind, Humanist Heart: Rewriting the Ten Commandments for the Twenty-first Century, authors Lex Bayer and John Figdor held a contest in which atheists were asked to offer up to date alternatives to the biblical Ten Commandments.

Here are the winners:

1. Be open-minded and be willing to alter your beliefs with new evidence.
2. Strive to understand what is most likely to be true, not to believe what you wish to be true.
3. The scientific method is the most reliable way of understanding the natural world.
4. Every person has the right to control of their body.
5. God is not necessary to be a good person or to live a full and meaningful life.
6. Be mindful of the consequences of all your actions and recognize that you must take responsibility for them.
7. Treat others as you would want them to treat you, and can reasonably expect them to want to be treated. Think about their perspective.
8. We have the responsibility to consider others, including future generations
9. There is no one right way to live.
10. Leave the world a better place than you found it.

I offer no opinions on the list; I'm just a messenger. Still, it might be worth the effort to consider the possibility that no one has the Final Answer to anything.
Just a thought...

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Monday, December 15, 2014

Hey! You, Too, Can Be More Spiritual Than Your Friends!

This video can help us all fall off our spiritual high horses, no matter our religious convictions. Funny, witty, and spot on. Enjoy!

'And god said, Let there be light. I there I stood, lit.'

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Give Yourself To Love!

Even when you're lonely, a happy tune can help clear the head, the heart, the spirit!!!