You have probably had a moment in your life where you wanted to buy something that would without a doubt change your life for the better and that would allow you to be the next Elon Musk and bring you infinite amounts of joy like that $1000 Productivity Machine of a iPhone.
However, What happened after you bought the iPhone? Did you become a productivity Ninja? Did that new iPhone make you more happy? Are you waking up everyday grateful you have an iPhone 11 Pro instead of a 2 year old iPhone X? The answer is most likely not.
This is due the hedonic treadmill which is a process that reduces the impact of a major or minor life event as humans tend to quickly return to a relative stable level of happiness.
For example, when your pet unfortunately passes away, you might feel terrible and sad for the next couple of days, however after a couple of days you soon return back to your default level of happiness. It is due to this same reason that you probably do not feel happy every morning after a week of getting that new iPhone.
Knowing about the hedonic treadmill can help you to overcome bad situations such as failing your exam due to you knowing that your overall happiness will be normal again and that this is just a learning experience.
This can also help you into justifying new purchases as you can remove the ‘infinite’ happiness benefit of getting that new iPhone and instead focus on other aspects such as that cool new camera which will help you to take great photos of your family and friends.
Hopefully this short post about this hedonic treadmill can help you to value new purchases and deal with short term negative impacts.