Sunday, January 23, 2022

Life Lately: On Happiness and Lifestyle Inflation

Remember how I wrote that I’m trying to write longer (and more in-depth) essays this year? Well, I’ve been working on one and I look forward to sharing it soon. Today, I’m sharing two quick things – something I wrote about happiness and a quote from Oliver Burkeman about lifestyle inflation.


I don’t want there to be civil war in Nigeria; there isn’t. I don’t want a huge pimple on my nose; I don’t have one. I don’t want to be kept up at night by the noise of generators; I am not – (instead I am kept up at night by screeching seagulls).

When we think about the things that make us happy, the things we are grateful for, we tend to focus on the things we want and have. Good memories of departed family members. Family and friends who are still here. Our jobs or businesses. Holidays – past and future. Money in the bank.

We don’t often think about the things we don’t want and don’t have, things that contribute to our happiness by their continued absence in our lives. I don’t have a list, but I would expect the list of things I don’t want and don’t have is even longer than the list of things I want and have.

It is very human to focus on the reds – the things we want and don’t have and the things we have but don’t want. In fact, some reds are good for us. They can propel us to act and create a future where we have more of the things that we want.

But, next time you’re in need of a quick happiness fix, remember the universe of things you don’t want and don’t have.


And on lifestyle inflation, Oliver Burkeman writes:

It turns out that when people make enough money to meet their needs, they just find new things to need and new lifestyles to aspire to; they never quite manage to keep up with the Joneses, because whenever they’re in danger of getting close, they nominate new and better Joneses with whom to try to keep up. As a result, they work harder and harder, and soon busyness becomes an emblem of prestige. Which is clearly completely absurd: for almost the whole of history, the entire point of being rich was not having to work so much.

You should really fight lifestyle inflation as much as you can!


What I’m currently reading: I quite liked this profile of Andy Jassy, Amazon’s CEO, by Nick Bilton for Vanity Fair. This was one of my favourite bits of it: “When it comes to Jassy, though, I couldn’t find one person who could—or would?—say a bad thing about him. (And trust me, I tried.) All anyone would say was how nice and unpretentious he is.” Nice guys can lead global companies too.

What I’m currently listening to: Is Uber over? “The firm once hailed as the future of city transport is battling a driver shortage, post-pandemic demand and rising fares, leaving some disgruntled passengers waiting on the pavement. So, is this the end of the road?” I don’t think so. What do you think?


Have a nice week! 

No comments:

Post a Comment