Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hedonic Adaptation

Larry lived in an apartment downtown with his wife and his two kids, because he couldn't stand living in the suburb due to the traffic jam.
If he would live in the suburb, he would have to spend around 2-3 hours each day to drive to and from his downtown office.
His current trip time to and from the office is less than 1 hour on average, which means he got to spend more time with his family.

But he have always dreamt to have a big house for his family once he has kids because he believes a big house with a big yard is the best place for his kids to grow up. He could imagine the laugh and happy time that he could enjoy with his kids playing in the yard.

So he decided to buy a big house with a big yard like he always dreamed of, in exchange of 1-2 hours more suffering beating the traffic. He was very happy of his decision to buy the house, so was his wife.

Living in a big house with his family, playing with his kids were all as good as he always dreamed of. It surely was full of laughters and happy times, just like he thought they would if he bought the house in the suburb.
Life was good.


Soon, Larry finds that the additional 1-2 hours trip time is starting to feel unbearable. He starts to get irritated more easily because he couldn't get home as soon as he used to. He begins to wonder if the additional 1-2 hours trip is worth it, because it seems he rarely gets to enjoy his big house and the happy time, he imagined he would have with his family.
He starts to wonder if buying the house in the suburb is the right decision after all.

And this is what experts called "Hedonic Adaptation".
It happens when a person sacrifice something to have more.
When you do it, you always think the sacrifice will bring something more valuable.

It surely is in the short term, but once you settle back into your normal-self without the hype from the expectation.
You might find that the sacrifice is not so worth it anymore.

1 comment:

K said...

the case sounds familar.. hmm..
for some people, the sacrification is worth it.. and perhaps they don't think about it as a sacrification.. :)