Project 313 – Post No. 171

I’m going to write a dedicated post to the following but wanted to get the ball rolling by pointing out a curiosity about human nature: the loss/reward balance is never even. 

For example, say you find $10. You’re just walking along and you spot the money on the ground. The bill is slightly bent and a breeze is rocking it gently. Your heart rate kicks up a bit and you look around and keep an eye on the bill as you approach, fearful the wind will rob you of your newfound treasure or some mendicant might also have spotted it and you’ll have to fight them for it. 

What’s that? You wouldn’t fight them for it? OK, fine; make it $20. Anyway, you get ever closer and . . . 

. . . and then, it’s yours. No one looks like they just lost $10 . . . er . . . $20. Nonchalantly, you pick it up. It looks real enough . . . you look around one more time, ensuring no one has noticed your good fortune and might be now tempted to rob you of your treasure. You slip it in your pocket and continue on, a little extra bounce in your step. You feel good. You’re happy.

Now, say you’re about to go out; you grab a couple of $20 bills from your drug money stash. You slip them in your pocket and head out. Sometimes later, you reach for your money and there’s only one bill . . .

Tragedy has struck your life! You lost a $20 bill! You frantically search your other pockets even as you know it can’t possibly be there. As you do, you also look back at the way you came and mentally play back your actions in a vain hope of determining how and when your life went oh, so wrong. 

Because, here’s the thing . . . studies have shown that commensurate amounts of good or bad fortune do not result in commensurate amounts of happiness or unhappiness. We humans — at least most of us — feel losses more strongly than we feel gains. The amount of money ($20) might be the same and the fiscal impact on our life might be the same but losing $20 is more traumatic . . . even if it’s the same $20 you previously found.

There’s some interesting research on this subject and I’ll explore it in a future post just so I can get my own thoughts in order as to how we measure and experience happiness and unhappiness. 

And now, the photo:

Project 313 171

Wow . . . that’s one hundred more than them Spartans of long ago. 

There’s a measure of satisfaction when we accomplish something by means of our own efforts, especially when that something isn’t in your wheelhouse. Meaning, most people feel a bit more proud of something they did if they had little expertise in it (say, for instance, fixing a fence) versus something they know how to do quite well (say, for instance, wiping one’s bu . . . er . . . I mean, using a bottle opener). 

Understand, it’s not how easy or difficult it is; it’s whether or not we know how to accomplish a task. 

I know I can wipe my own bu . . . er . . . I mean, open a bottle with a bottle opener, but what id I don’t have one handy (a bottle opener)? If I can adapt something else to the same task, all of a sudden the act gains a measure of respectability in my eyes; I done did something that might be common and inconsequential but I did it a new way (for me). I augmented the minor triumph of opening a bottle. 

Of course, one has to know one’s limitations . . . 

For instance, a plumber often gets business because someone tried to do something on their own and royally screwed it up; it’s not always a matter of “knowing the theory” of something. Many things require practical knowledge because the theory is only a guide and it’s experience that hones one’s skill.

For instance, I might know how a chainsaw works, but safely cutting down a tree — and I don’t mean a giant Sequoia; I mean the six-inch Maple in the backyard — involves more than knowing how to turn on a chainsaw. 

. . . that’s why I prefer snapping them with my bare hands. 

Sometimes, naming doodles is easy . . . Ran Out Of Dots Before Running Out Of Open Space.

Ran Out Of Dots Before Running Out Of Open Space

And . . . that’s it

Some of these posts will likely be longer as the mood hits me, but most will be thus; short, uninteresting, bland, and relentless.

You can read about Project 313 HERE.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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