The #1 thing that holds people back from living an OverJOYed life, a life where you look forward to waking up, because you feel great, live with purpose and connect with other people in meaningful ways, is…
ENTITLEMENT! (A big, nasty word for: A complete lack of gratitude).
You can have all the money and achievements in the world. But, if you feel entitled to the things you have and are grateful for nothing, no matter what money you make or work you do, life simply will feel like it is “NOT ENOUGH”. Without gratitude to save us from our entitled attitudes and perspectives everything falls into the black hole of things we take for granted.
This is one of the reasons why we end up always striving for more in our lives. More friends, more money, more prestige, more power, more status. Because how can you ever have enough if you have no appreciation for those things you already have? I think that’s a deep shame. Especially when most of us (in the Western world) should apologize for our lack of appreciation of all we have.
As human beings we adapt, or get used to things very easily. We take our everyday luxuries for granted. We take the nice paved streets we walk on for granted. We take our clean water running from our faucets for granted. We take our legs, eyes and ears for granted, and even too much of the time, we even take love for granted.
I named this phenomenon the Maui Syndrome. When I got to go to Maui for the first time it was so beautiful I cried standing on the beach watching the sunset. Seven days later, same beach, same water, same palm trees blowing in the wind, same sunset, same beauty but no tears. In seven short days I had already acclimated. No matter what it is that causes you happy tears, you can get bored of it as you acclimate to it. This is because of a “hedonic adaptation.Psychologists call this concept ‘hedonic adaptation’, I actually like my Maui Syndrome name better, but what ever you call it, it will steal your joy faster than you can imagine. Like a haboob in the desert, it is all over you, blinding you to the exceptional qualities of all that has grown common to you.
But you know what is saddest about being blinded to what has grown common to us? That if we don’t remember the feelings of wonder, awe and gratitude we first felt, we throw away our ability to appreciate them and with that, we have begun the death of that which we so loved and enjoyed.
The most powerful way I’ve found to overcome entitlement and hedonic adaption is to remember how beautiful, valuable and awe inspiring they are so that we can be actively grateful for them.
So I invite you to step out of the hedonic haboob that attempts to cloud and cover with feelings of entitlement the wonders life has given you. Every day challenge yourself to remember and revere you gifts and blessings and then bring on your joy by expressing your gratitude.
Thank someone. Thank everyone. Jot down 3-5 things you’re grateful for before you get out of bed and then again before you go to sleep.
Look deeply into your children’s eyes, celebrate their laughter knowing that these moments will not last forever. Let this knowledge transform into a mindfulness that allows you to be fully present and grateful. Remember the awe you felt when you first met your beloved. Remember how they made your heart leap and their voice was music written just for your pleasure.
Let’s create a new relational phenomenon. We can call it simply: Remembering.
Right here. Right now. If you are with me, simply take a moment to remember, then write down 3 things you feel grateful for.
Great. Go forward and spread the secrets to living an OverJOYed LIFE.