As a kid when you earn your first $1 or get your first paycheck, it is incredibly meaningful to you because you realize so many things. You realize you have the ability to earn money, you realize all the things you can buy with the money, you realize the potential of what you can earn in the future. As a child $1 is a lot, because you don’t have abundance. As you get older and you earn more, maybe $100, or $1,000, that $1 doesn’t hold nearly as much value because you now have 100 or 1,000 of them.
The first time you fly on a plane it is an amazing experience. Everything is new – the feeling of lifting, the sensation of turbulence, the force of the planes engines accelerating the plane and the inertia causing the plane seat to push into your back on takeoff. These are all incredible experiences the first time, or the first few times. However, the 100th time you fly, while the sensations are still there, you don’t value them anymore. They are normal, they’re expected, and they’re familiar. The overall excitement is much lower because you’re used to it.
The first time you eat out at a nice restaurant is a unique experience. You see all the intricacies of the restaurant like how the staff works, how the tables are laid out, how the food is displayed, how it tastes, and how the menus look. You pay attention to every bite thinking the experience is incredible. However, the 1,000th time you’ve done this, it is normal, so you no longer hold much value to it, whether that is because you’re used to it or because you know you can have it again.
There are countless examples of where abundance of anything causes us to hold less value in each individual piece of the abundance. This is expected because our minds quickly adapt to what we see as available and to what we’re familiar and used to. Experiences change as we have more of them, and it is natural. But it also leads to use losing gratitude, being less conscious of our actions, and not enjoying things as much as we used to.
I think there are certainly things we can do, though quite counterintuitive, which help prevent us from de-valuing virtually all of the abundance we have in the world, whether it be love*, friendships*, experiences, food, money, or otherwise.
So, how do we solve this? How do we prevent things that bring enjoyment and meaning from losing that value of enjoyment and meaning? I’ll share my thoughts in a future post.
* I’m not suggesting love is necessarily abundant, but the feeling of love is. The first time you wake up next to someone you love is different than the 1,000th. I’m also not saying all friendships are abundant, but meeting and spending time with people can be abundant. The first time you spend time with a best friend in years is extra special because of scarcity, not abundance. If you saw that friend all the time there would be abundance and the de-value affect of each encounter as described here in this post.