Diminishing returns

Certain emotional needs seem to be governed by a law of diminishing returns. The more I value comfort, for example, the less comfortable I tend to be.  The more I crave safety, the less likely I am to feel safe. The more I need to feel in control, the less in control I’m going to feel.  And the more desperately I chase after happiness, the further away happiness seems.

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2 responses to “Diminishing returns

  • Clare Flourish

    And- the more I value intelligence, the more I kick myself for being unintelligent, perhaps the more sharp I stay. We do well at what we value, because of being driven.

    • Steve Hauptman

      Maybe so, but that’s not the point I was making. My experience is that in some areas of emotional life, drivenness — aka desperation — tends to be counterproductive, taking us further away from our goal. That sometimes less is more.

      I also think intelligence is one of those areas. Maybe self-abuse works differently for you. But I never found beating myself up made me smarter about anything. All it usually does is divert my energies into anxiety, self-consciousness and guilt.

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