Embrace the magic of the mundane
Think back to the last time you spent a lot of money on something. Chances are, you thought that new TV, or that expensive dinner, or those front-row tickets would make you happy.
And they may have. For a while.
But to your surprise, the pleasure was short-lived. If it weren’t for the pictures you posted on Instagram, you’d barely remember it at all.
The pleasure from your next major purchase will be even more fleeting. We spend a disproportionate amount of time focusing on that future acquisition because we overestimate how happy it will make us.
Meanwhile, we underestimate how much the most mundane aspects of our lives affect our happiness. We forget how much we enjoy a good burger until we bite into one. We forget how much we hate getting stuck in traffic until it happens unexpectedly.
It’s nearly impossible to predict how much anything will affect our lives, in either direction. A doctor’s visit you’ve been dreading may result in unexpected good news, while a vacation you’ve meticulously planned could be a major disappointment.
You just never know.
The best defense against unhappiness is to open yourself up to joy, to allow yourself to be blown away by the beauty of a garden or stand in awe of a natural landmark.
You’ll never regret the time you don’t spend chasing those shiny, pretty, expensive things.
– Jonathan Goodman