Today I rode in a Porsche Boxter. A variant of my favourite Porsche, the 911! A dream come true by many measures. The soft-top roof slides into the boot, allowing you to take in your surroundings undisturbed. While the mid-mounted engine pushes you into the headrest with each press of the accelerator. You just can't help but smile when you experience it; pure bliss washes over you.
As a child, these moments are everywhere. Holding hands with a friend and spinning until the entire world looks like a green and blue blur. The first spoonful of custard at Sunday lunch. Spinning the merry-go-round so fast that your feet can't keep up, then riding it till you're nauseous. Why do these moments fall away as we grow older?
The bar for joy seems to increase as we grow older. This is likely due to the effects of the hedonic treadmill; the human tendency to pursue one pleasure after another. This is because the surge of happiness felt after a positive event is likely to return to a steady personal baseline over time.
What if we could step off of that treadmill? The Danish, who often rank among the happiest people in the world, call it "hygge"; a mood of cosiness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment. That's a mouthful, but this can be distilled to, the appreciation of day-to-day experiences. Imagine the feeling of a cosy pair of socks on a cold day, or the warm embrace from a loved one.
Joy does not need to be something we postpone during the pursuit of our goals. We lose nothing from choosing to find joy in the ordinary. If anything, we gain added capacity to stay the course.
Here is my challenge to you this week: find at least a single thing in your daily life for which you are grateful. Because gratitude and anxiety cannot co-exist in the brain.
See you next week. Be you! Be great!