Living The Dream

In William B. Irvine’s book on Stoic philosophy there’s a great passage on happiness:

Most of us are “living the dream” — living, that is, the dream we once had for ourselves. We might be married to the person we once dreamed of marrying, have the children and job we once dreamed of having, and own the car we once dreamed of buying. But thanks to hedonic adaptation, as soon as we find ourselves living the life of our dreams, we start taking that life for granted. Instead of spending our days enjoying our good fortune, we spend them forming and pursuing new, grander dreams for ourselves. As a result, we are never satisfied with our life.

When I first read that last year, I paused and thought for a second. In almost every way I’m “living the dream” for my career that I envisioned eleven years ago when I started writing this blog. I quit my job, I started a successful business, I do challenging and meaningful work, I can work from home whenever I want, I make a comfortable living, I have great partners, we’ve created good quality jobs, we’re active in the community, and on and on.

I think the typical business mindset is to always be wanting more, and while there’s nothing wrong with that in and of itself, it can be a miserable mentality if it’s not balanced out with a healthy dose of appreciation for what you do have, and what you’ve already accomplished.

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