Why We’re Hard-Wired to Be Disgruntled

My wife made me read an article in the Dallas Morning News Points section a couple of weeks ago. She doesn’t make me do this often—but when she does, I’m usually glad about it.

Here’s the article. It is worth reading: Andrés Martinez: Cheer up, life has never been better.

Main point: things really have never been better. As bad as it seems, don’t kid yourself—things are pretty wonderful!

He reminds us:

You see where I’m going with this, don’t you? That’s right: Let’s stop whining already—at least for this holiday season. We’re so spoiled we can’t really relate to how bad previous generations had it.

But, it’s the ending of the article that really grabbed me. Read this, carefully:

So why, if life is better all around, do we whine and complain endlessly as if we live in the worst of times? The answer is: Our success allows us to constantly update our expectations. When my flight is three hours late and the Wi-Fi is busted, I couldn’t care less what it took to cross the country in previous centuries. We are all prima donnas that way. Even in China, young middle-class consumers whine as well, instead of counting their blessings that they didn’t suffer through Mao’s Cultural Revolution.

I’ll concede, very grudgingly, that all this whining can be a good thing. As Yuval Noah Harari, the author of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (to be released in February), writes, we’re hard-wired to be disgruntled. It’s the only way we achieve progress. Evolution requires us to demand more and better.

This explains why we keep following Moore’s Law, shrinking the size and upgrading the capabilities of everything around us, technologically, and otherwise.

What will you/we “demand to be better, and then make, better” in 2015? That’s the personal, and the business question for all of us to ponder for our holiday break.

Randy Mayeux
Contributed by:
Randy Mayeux
Professional Speaker & Writer
Co-founder, First Friday Book Synopsis

2 responses

  1. Thank you for the share! Most of my clients are boomers and sometimes I want to scream when they complain they HAVE to learn technology to grow their business. What do they mean “HAVE TO” – they should be thrilled they “GET TO” use technology. How in the world isn’t every boomer thrilled to live in a world we could only dream about as kids?! I know I am!

    1. That’s a great point! Thank you for your input.

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