I heard a segment on BBC World Service the other day about how EHS (Excessive Happiness Syndrome) leads to a CBB (Can’t Be Bothered) problem in some young people. If one is content with his lot in life, then where is the motivation to work any harder than necessary? Working hard is hard work, after all.
“Why slog for an ‘A’ when you could get the next best thing, a ‘B’, for just a fraction of the effort?”
An acquaintance boasts at every opportunity about how he is making more money than the peers who had outscored him at academic examinations. “I barely scraped through my examinations, but now they are working under me!”
He reminds me of bald men who grow goatees or shaggy long beards. Petite girls with loud personalities (‘chili padi’ – small but fiery hot). Overweight guys with a keenly developed sense of humour. Slouching giants. Nouveau riche who drip with diamonds.
One top insurance agency in Singapore has a policy of refusing to hire recruits who live in landed properties. They say material comfort drains the motivation out of people, which is the number one (and some say, only) ingredient for success in the cut-throat world of commissions-only sales.
They are probably correct. Why bother with sophisticated and costly occupational selection psychometric instruments when all you need is an address?
They also say that buying things you can’t afford is the best motivator. Burn your bridges and the only way left is forward.
In our own way, we are all compensating for something. “Lack of” is the hardest taskmaster we’ll ever meet. Which means ironically that the more we achieve, the less we want to achieve.
I wonder why we are driven and pushed by negative emotions of fear, greed, and insecurity. Why can’t our dreams be given impetus by joy, satisfaction, and happiness?