Why you are never going to be satisfied with life!

Fascinating article about why most people can’t be satisfied with life.

It really made me laugh how some people would rather give themselves electric shocks that just sit with themselves for 15 minutes. :smiley: How much inner poverty must people be in that they do that out of their volition?

Personally, i sit and meditate for over an hour and a half every day… It changed my life.

Why You’re Never Going to Be Satisfied With Life | Psychology Today United Kingdom

" Why are we perpetually restless and unsatisfied? We live in the safest, healthiest, most well-educated, most democratic time in history—and yet, some part of the human psyche causes us to look for an escape from things stirring inside us constantly.

As the eighteenth-century poet Samuel Johnson said, “My life is one long escape from myself.” Me too, brother. Me too.

The truth is, we’re not wired to feel content or satisfied. Ever.

There’s a simple reason for that: as expressed by researchers for the Review of General Psychology, “If satisfaction and pleasure were permanent, there might be little incentive to continue seeking further benefits or advances.”

In other words, feeling contented wasn’t good for the species.

Our ancestors worked harder and strove further because they evolved to be perpetually perturbed, and so we remain today.

The Four Components of Dissatisfaction

Four psychological factors make satisfaction temporary.

The first is boredom. The lengths people will go to avoid boredom are shocking. Literally.

A 2014 study published in Science observed participants who were asked to sit in a room and think for fifteen minutes. The room was empty except for a device that allowed participants to mildly but painfully electrocute themselves.

“Why would anyone want to do that?” you might ask.

When asked beforehand, every participant in the study said they would pay money to avoid being shocked. However, when left alone in the room with the machine and nothing else to do, 67 percent of men and 25 percent of women shocked themselves. Many did so multiple times

The study demonstrated that people dislike being alone with their thoughts so much that they’ll prefer to do anything else, even if that activity is negative.

It’s no surprise, therefore, that most of the top twenty-five websites in America sell escape from our daily drudgery, whether through shopping, celebrity gossip, or bite-sized doses of social interaction.

The second psychological factor driving us is negativity bias.

It’s been defined as “a phenomenon in which negative events are more salient and demand attention more powerfully than neutral or positive events.”

As the author of one study concluded, “It appears to be a basic, pervasive fact of psychology that bad is stronger than good.”

Such pessimism begins very early in life. Babies begin to show signs of negativity bias starting at just seven months of age, suggesting this tendency is inborn.

Researchers also believe that we tend to have an easier time recalling bad memories than good ones. Studies have found people are more likely to recall unhappy moments in their childhood, even if they would describe their upbringing as generally happy.

Negativity bias almost certainly gave us an evolutionary edge. Good things are nice, but bad things can kill you. That’s why we pay attention to the bad stuff first and remember it better. Useful for the species—but what a bummer!

The third factor is rumination, our tendency to keep thinking about bad experiences.

If you’ve ever chewed on something that you did or that someone did to you, over and over again, then you’ve experienced rumination.

This “passive comparison of one’s current situation with some unachieved standard” (citation) can manifest in self-critical thoughts such as, “Why can’t I handle things better?”

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As one study notes, “By reflecting on what went wrong and how to rectify it, people may be able to discover sources of error or alternative strategies, ultimately leading to not repeating mistakes and possibly doing better in the future.” That’s another potentially useful process—but boy, can it make us miserable.

A fourth factor may be the cruelest of all. It’s hedonic adaptation, the tendency to quickly return to a baseline level of satisfaction no matter what happens to us in life.

Hedonic adaptation is Mother Nature’s bait-and-switch. All sorts of life events we think would make us happier actually don’t—or at least, not for long.

As David Myers writes in The Pursuit of Happiness, “Every desirable experience—passionate love, a spiritual high, the pleasure of a new possession, the exhilaration of success—is transitory.”

Of course, as with boredom, negativity bias, and rumination, there are evolutionary benefits to hedonic adaptation.

As the author of one study explains, as “new goals continually capture one’s attention, one constantly strives to be happy without realizing that in the long run, such efforts are futile.”

Taken together, these four components add up to a lot of dissatisfaction in life, even if your circumstances are truly great.

Humans may be wired to pursue happiness, but we’re not too well equipped to experience it.

Can we cue the sad trombone music now? Is futility our fate? No.

Dissatisfaction Is Not Defeat

If you find yourself feeling unhappy with life, that doesn’t mean you’ve been defeated.

The takeaway here is that if you’re unhappy, you’re normal.

Dissatisfaction is responsible for our species’ advancements, and if you never felt it, you’d be at a serious disadvantage. Discontent is not a reason to give up on success. Rather, it’s a reason to introduce the opportunity for frequent and meaningful victories into your life.

It’s important to understand that struggle and hard times are just part of being human.

High achievers push themselves through the discomfort and discontent rather than trying to escape it with distraction.

Every day is a chance to live according to your values, which I define as attributes of the person you want to be. Living out your values means spending your time purposefully on the things that you decide are important.

You can do this—very concretely—if you build your values into your calendar. That means scheduling time for what matters most.

At the end of the day, you can look at what you intended to do, compare it to what you ended up doing, and celebrate your victory when you stayed on track.

When you live up to your values, instead of distracting yourself from feeling discomfort and discontent, you become indistractable."


Thank you! I really hate that song “the way we were” and the way it downplays good memories by saying we only remember the good stuff. Bull crap! We remember bad stuff very easily. Sometimes, there were good memories in the past, for crying out loud!

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I agree with everything you say, but I am an exception to the rule. I’ve built a life out solitude and rumination. It’s what I’ve gotten used to. It’s what I prefer. Most people are working eight hour days, with an hour commute each way, if they’re lucky. Both husband and wife work these days, and many people are opting out of having kids. After they come home they probably eat pre-prepared food because they’re too tired to cook. People probably get varying degrees of happiness in their lives, determined as much by their temperament as their external circumstances. Life is a grind for most people, but it is so much better today than it was in the past. Life in the past was a living hell for most people. Hopefully life can continue to improve for everyone.


the brain always needs something to think about… it is like a computer that constantly needs data. or a circuit that needs some components and resistance to stay active.

maybe it is because of the nature of electricity, once it is turned on, it must produce a current or in case of the brain a pattern of thought… if there are no thoughts we lose consciousness, so maybe that is why boredom is frightening for the brain. If there are no impulses, the brain can create its own false impulses. a lack of stimuli may result in recollection of memories, so that the brain has something to keep itself busy, so we ruminate just to keep the connections going. I don’t know, it’s weird.


I don’t really agree that life was a living hell in the past for most people

I think normal 100 ,200 years ago was whatever accepted at the time

People always look back and say how did we manage without…such
But it was what was normal and accepted


Ive always mulled in my own head space. Im introverted, if you took a bunch of extroverts and had them spend time like me for hours of solitude. Its not surprising they couldn’t cope haha


I don’t know. There were so many dirty, dangerous jobs back then. Tens of thousands of coal miners died from black lung. One in eleven men died working in the steel mills. Child labor was brutal. Children regularly got their fingers torn off working in factories. In England on the Thames River children were sent out a low tide to collect anything of worth. They were dumping raw sewage into the Thames, so if a child got a cut or abrasion it was a death sentence. The great majority of the population lived and worked in squalid situations. It was also rough for the aristocrats at the top of society, though not as rough. Medicine was catastrophically bad. They bled people to fix their ailments.
They didn’t learn about sanitation until the nineteenth century. Up to the mid 20th century life was quite a bit worse than it is now. No air conditioning. Polio was rampant. Medicine, while having improved since the nineteenth century, was still far behind what it is today. People worked harder, but they were also more bigoted. If a girl got pregnant she was ruined. There was very little access to abortions. Life is improving greatly today. We need to take especial care that we keep things moving forward, so that life if good for everyone.

Mountain biking is like meditation for me. Its very relaxing :relieved:

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No one ever sends me these memos. Apparently I spent the morning drinking tea on my deck feeling serene and wrecked things for you.



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This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

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Mediation master – you ascended to potato and egg. Even the Ancients in the Stargate universe couldn’t do that!



@labratmat Question. Do you try to convince everyone that there not satisfied with there life because deep down you are not satisfied?

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i try to evoke soul searching and one’s conditioning.

I am pretty content, even given my scenario. :slight_smile:

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IDK. We have had this discussion before. Just because medication corrects something that is not right in your brain, doesn’t mean its not real. It’s a bit like saying riding a bike isn’t exercise because it’s natural to walk. Bikes are not something you were born with. IMO anyway.


I read a book a long time ago called the happyness trap.

Lifes full of ups and downs and everything in between. Being comfortable with the range of states of mind and emotion is a skill.


Perhaps, if i take an ecstasy pill everyday I will feel love for everyone. Does it mean I love them all? What happens if i stop taking it? Was my love real?


I took ecstasy pills when i was younger. I didnt love anyone :sob: but I did hallucinate a ladder going up into the sky :rofl:

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I haz air conditioning.

And lemon bluberry scones.


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Perhaps I should just stop taking diabetes meds as well and lose a foot as well. After all, this is the “real” outcome of life. Anything other outcome is artificial.

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Pointing out people having fake emotions that they have as a result of taking drugs and maintaining your physical prowess are quite different.

Your counterattack would be to say that the ADs are keeping him alive. Which no doubt is true, but to be flagged for pointing out it is all a mask and fake still remains true.