Pleasure, Progress and Pain

“The final moment of success is often no more thrilling than taking off a heavy backpack at the end of a long hike. If you went on the hike only to feel that pleasure, you are a fool. Yet people sometimes do just this. They work hard at a task and expect some special euphoria at the end. But when they achieve success and find only moderate and short-lived pleasure, they ask is that all there is? They devalue their accomplishments as a striving after wind. We can call this the progress principle: Pleasure comes more from making progress toward goals than from achieving them.” —Jonathan Haidt, The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom, 2005

Ese’s weekly Shoot & Quote event has challenged us with a delightfully wicked topic this week: Pleasure.

Photo © Allan G. Smorra, All Rights Reserved

Photo © Allan G. Smorra, All Rights Reserved

Ese’s Weekly Shoot & Quote Challenge

  8 comments for “Pleasure, Progress and Pain

  1. April 30, 2014 at 2:39 PM

    Thank you for this. I love the straightforwardness of this quote, the realism. I think we hear this all the time, that it’s all about the journey not the destination, that we’ve probably become desensitized. But I like this take on it because we do tend to expect a lot as people, especially in this age of entitlement. As a writer I know that it’s not about hurrying up and writing the story, the poem, or the books, hurrying these up would surely cause them to fail. The process needs to run its course.

    Looking back on putting my poetry book together there’s a lot I remember about the experience, the ups and downs. Actually receiving physical copies of my book was surreal, more than a moment of glory it was a moment of, “Wow, okay, what now?” It was a mile marker along my writing road. And as you see here when I talk about my book it’s so much more than yeah here it is. Besides, if you only read a story for its ending well then, it’s probably not all that interesting.

    Thanks Allan, great topic to think on.

    Like

    • April 30, 2014 at 5:30 PM

      I like the straightforwardness of the quote also. Thanks for sharing your experience with it in your writing and poetry, you make some good points.

      Sent from my iPhone

      >

      Like

  2. April 29, 2014 at 9:32 AM

    Very good Allan, very true also. Great message.

    Like

  3. April 28, 2014 at 9:39 AM

    Sometimes, in day-to-day life, it’s so hard to remember this. Yet it’s so important that we remember to try to do so, otherwise, it’s all just so much spinning wheels.
    Cheers, Bill

    Like

    • April 28, 2014 at 9:47 AM

      You hit another home run with that one, Bill. Thanks for your insights.

      Like

  4. April 28, 2014 at 9:27 AM

    Very cool, Allan and I agree. It’s the journey that’s exciting, more so at times that the destination. Love your header pic, btw.

    Like

    • April 28, 2014 at 9:33 AM

      Thank you, Bridgette. Mick Jagger told us that “You can’t always get what you want.” My problem was that I didn’t always want what I got.

      One day I realized that if Mick Jagger can’t get what he wants, a guy like me stands no chance—so I started enjoying what I had and eventually realized that “I’ve got what I need.”

      Like

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