Hedonic Adaptation: Your Biggest Source Of Unhappiness (and how to fix it)

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this video is about how to be happier for the rest of your life starting today we’re going to cover three common mindsets that lead to unhappiness most people don’t even realize they have these mindsets or if they do they don’t know how to stop them we’ll also discuss some lessons from stoicism so that you can feel more joy every day the first common cause of unhappiness is unmet desire to most people this seems both obvious and unavoidable of course you get unhappy when things aren’t the way you want them to be there are things you want more money Fame a different job a better body a better romantic partner whatever your thing is you think I’ll be happy when I get that that forward phrase I’ll be happy when can make you miserable because when you do get what you want you’ll experience something called hedonic adaptation you’ll feel a very short-lived increase in happiness followed by a quick reset right back to your old Baseline even worse now the bar is raised for what you have to get in order to experience the next little burst of Happiness doubles Aaron explains it well in this clip when I got out of the boot camp I’ll use that as an example I go to Outback Steakhouse I’m going to tent right you now if I go to the best restaurant in the world I mean I’m like maybe like a six or a seven I’m just like satisfied I got Three Chefs like I eat the best food all the time you know what I mean so like that doesn’t make me happy anymore the best food in the world and it’s a six or a seven that’s what hedonic adaptation does now one caveat here is that Dan’s always been Rich he doesn’t know what it’s like to live below the poverty line that would obviously change his perspective right do you feel that you’re happier right now than when you’re broke or not really sometimes it’s a sometime thing but I feel like the way that I have money kind of took away a lot of my happiness it didn’t take a lot of money to make me happy you’re not mad about money before at a certain level of poverty more money can definitely increase your quality of life but the amount you need to be happy is a lot lower than you think for example one of the most famous Stoke philosophers Epictetus was born a slave yet he found joy and inner peace through the mindset that wealth consists not in having great possessions but in having few once now maybe your desire isn’t for material things maybe you just want to achieve your goals that should make you happy right unfortunately if you aren’t careful this will just replace the hedonic hamster wheel with the achievement hamster wheel and you’ll find yourself continuously moving the goal post for what you need to achieve in order to feel like your life is good enough if a success you can never get enough of that I realize that it’s like it doesn’t stop it keeps calling you it’s like a drug this doesn’t mean that going after what you want or getting what you want is destined to make you unhappy but if you can’t be happy while you pursue a goal you won’t be happy when you achieve it in fact you may be really screwed when you achieve it because you can no longer pretend that that thing will make you happy I had bought into the not uncommon notion that when I taste success when I get over there then I’ll be happy but the strangest thing happened as the show got more successful I got more depressed so what’s the solution you learn to be happy today with what you already have one tool for this is the Stoke practice of negative visualization it’s a quick exercise to feel gratitude for your life as it is Sam Harris describes it well here you can think of all the things that could happen to you right that happened and if any one of them happened to you you would consider your prayers answered if you could just be returned to This Moment by spending just five to ten minutes meditating on the ways that your life could be worse you will naturally start to feel more grateful for what you already have another secret to happiness is realizing you have the ability to experience happiness right now without needing anything external to trigger it you are the happiness gatekeeper you are the only person telling yourself that you aren’t allowed to be happy there’s an amazing eight-minute meditation called uncaused joy that can help you learn to tap into this internally generated Joy that’s always available the meditation is on the waking up app that’s something we have no affiliation with we aren’t sponsored they are paying us but I highly recommend it now I wanted you to be able to experience this meditation for free so I hunted down a free trial link for you that link is in the description below in addition to feeling happier if you can accept that you need nothing external to be happy your fear of failure rejection judgment it all basically disappears because you know you can be happy no matter what now on to the next common hack happiness killer that is sure to make you miserable isolated upward comparison this is when you focus on one thing about yourself and then compare it to someone who you think is better than you in that area for example listen to this clip of Alex hormozzi Alex is a brilliant businessman at the time of this clip he was worth about 35 million dollars I’m not Kylie Jenner you know what I mean and Charlie’s younger than me and Wealthy than me which I’ll tell you another one when I found out she was a billionaire and she was younger than me I literally like had a day where I was like I just felt like I felt horrible about myself many of us spend our time envying other people as our life improves we simply find new people to Envy the cure to this happiness killer is again gratitude you have to realize there are many many people who would love to have your life if that’s hard for you to imagine there are two YouTube channels you need to watch special books by special kids and invisible people both do important work bring awareness to people that Society tends to ignore and both can remind you that you have a lot to be grateful for a quick warning for this next flip it’s emotional after we interviewed last year you went into housing you had a house yeah me and my my fiance we had aisles together and she passed away and then you you ended up back outside yeah I was like I can’t be in that house and you had other bad news yeah we got pancreatic cancer stage four they can’t do anything about the authority spread from my pancreas all the way to my right side so I’m looking at a year even when things in your life are hard you still have a lot to be grateful for and if you think your life circumstances are so bad that it’s impossible for you to feel grateful listen to this I’m happy though I am so happy that I met so many people around here Miss Jane I love her with all my heart she always helps people out the volunteers here at Jubilee a lot of people that are on the street that’s what I’m proud of that’s what I’ve had I’ve had a good run 43 years good run it’s all right there is something important to remember when you’re thinking about the people living in tougher conditions than you you are doing this to help you appreciate your life not to negatively judge or feel Superior to other people negatively judging other people is a poison judgmental people don’t know how to feel good about themselves so they tear down other people in their mind to give themselves a temporary feeling of superiority this is extremely self-damaging because the way you think about other people informs the way you think about yourself if you are harsh towards other people then when no one is around your mind will turn that same habit onto you now on the other hand if you get into the habit of thinking kind thoughts about other people showing them compassion and empathy you’re much more likely to do that to yourself too there’s another great tool for recognizing that you are already living the dream life it’s a quick audio titled you’re living the dream life it’s also on that waking up app but for this one I actually found a free link so you can listen to it without even having to sign up to the trial that link is in the description below now there’s one more habit we’ll cover today that almost ever everyone allows to ruin their life expectations one of the quickest ways to make yourself miserable is with the phrase supposed to or alternatively the word should if you have a habit of thinking that someone should have treated you better or things were supposed to go differently in the past you are creating a happiness gap between reality and an imagined reality Epictetus has a lesson that will change your life here if you let it happiness and freedom Begin by understanding one principle some things are in your control and some things are not when you learn to distinguish between what you can and can’t control inner peace and outer Effectiveness become possible this doesn’t mean you have to pretend everything that happened to you was great it simply means it happened you can’t undo it so instead focus on what you can do now sometimes life feels hard when you spend time telling yourself that things should be a different way you don’t make those hard moments easier you just add extra suffering on top of whatever you’re going through the author Byron Katie has a great quote here that I love for this the only time we suffer is when we believe a thought that argues with reality so how can you stop resenting something that has happened to you this isn’t a cure-all but one thing that has personally helped me a lot in tough times is recognizing you don’t know your future there’s a great Chinese Parable that explains this better than I can it’s about a farmer whose only horse runs away his neighbor sees it happen and says to him I’m so sorry that’s a terrible loss and the farmer responds we’ll see a few days later the horse comes back and brings seven wild horses with it his neighbor slams seven horses you’re rich what good luck and the farmer says we’ll see the next day the farmer’s son is trying to tame one of the wild horses and breaks his leg their neighbor comes back to offer condolences that’s just terrible luck and again the farmer response will see and on the last day of this story The Emperor’s men come to the Village to draft all the young men into the army the former son with his broken leg can’t go and when his neighbor congratulates the farmer on his good luck the former responds will see as Roman Emperor and fame stoic Marcus Aurelius said if you are pained by external things it is not that they disturb you but your judgment of them disturbs you and it is in your power to wipe out that judgment you might think that’s easy to say when you’re the most powerful person in the world but this same mindset helped get Epictetus through slavery he taught we suffer not from the events in our lives but from our judgment about them damn this I just want to say thank you so much for watching this video when I do my own gratitude exercises I feel grateful for you the lessons I picked for today have all had a great impact on my own life and I hope they can help you be happier



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  1. How can use "Dan Bilzerian" as an example? Dan is a narcissistic, lying, scam artist, megalomaniac fraud. You are losing all credibility selling us your pseudophilosophy!

  2. I'm so ashamed to admit how depressed and negative I am, when I live a very privileged life. I'm not rich, I'm not in a relationship, the world doesn't know my name, and none of that matters. Thank you God for where I'm at in life, for all of my blessings and for all of my struggles, in Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

  3. The poor fellow at 5:15. On one hand, so sad. On the other hand, 200,000 views and counting, of him still inspiring people from beyond the grave. Sometimes, one's true purpose is after death.

  4. A friend used to say that if you feel yourself falling into unhappiness because of your circumstances, even dire ones, visit a pediatric burn ward and realize the waiting room is filled with people who would change places with you in a heartbeat.

  5. So true. I thought achieving my goals would make me happy. Finally achieving success and stability with wife,4kids. It has not. I still felt inadequate. Almost died 2years ago. Changed my attitude. Still not as happy as I would like…but everyday I try to see and appreciate what I have and be grateful. That keeps me going.

  6. This is fricking gold dude – Sometimes you just need someone to remind you of what there is right now.

    Another aspect is that when you live with people who mostly live by these negative traits you explained here, you probably need to get away from them to get out of the spiral.

  7. Kylie Jenner is richer and younger than me. Well, I say bully for her, and considering how she made her money, how sad for society. She is essentially rich for being famous for who her relatives are. I can hardly give her a hard time for taking advantage of that. I just think it says something bad about a society that rewards that.