Finding variation in repitition.
Being a business owner, I am constantly hearing about the importance of routine. Find a routine that works for you, get in the groove, and stick with it. Find a schedule and do not veer from its path.
But how beneficial is this idea? Do we never get sick of doing the same way day in and day out?
In psychology, there is a term you may have heard of before - hedonic adaptation - or the hedonic treadmill as it is often referred to. The idea behind this concept is that over time, we adapt to everything in our lives. A new object or event may cause a momentary boost in happiness, but not long after we return to our original set point of contentment. We adapt to the situation.
After understanding hedonic adaption, I could begin to see it everywhere. You get a new car, and it is the best thing that has ever happened to you, but a few months later you adapt. Even marriage. Most marriages exit the honeymoon phase, due to hedonic adaptation, and couples are soon left with a feeling of disappointment, having lost the initial positivity boost of loving feelings.
Most often, we see hedonic adaptation in the climb for more - more success, money, power, things. You get a raise at work, and you quickly adjust your expectations and lifestyle to fit that new level of success. You get another raise, and the same scenario plays over. Again and again, on the hedonic treadmill, always seeking more, but never feeling completely satisfied.
Could hedonic adaptation be a cause for why so many are discontented at their jobs? You may actually find purpose from what you do, but over time you get stagnant and bored, from the lack of challenge and stimulation.
For some, you may never encounter this feeling of discontent. Bust for most of us, we do, and often. Because of this, it is so important for us to mix things up to keep things fresh when it comes to our working lives.
So what does this mean for routine?
This may mean switching jobs every few years, woking for a promotion when given the chance, finding small moments to challenge or push ourselves in the workplace, or simply switching up our routine.
Even if you are in your dream job right now, you still risk adapting to your circumstances just like the rest of us. So how do you avoid this stagnant adaptation? Continue to push yourself in your working life. Find new challenges, and seek new knowledge that will keep you learning, growing and hungry for more.
Routine can cause a stagnation adaptation that can be detrimental to our working lives. We may even stop extracting meaning from something that we once found extremely pleasurable.
So how do we stop the treadmill of adaptation in or daily lives?
Find variation in your repetition.
Repetition is important. That is why so many of us gravitate to the idea of routine. Staying on a consistent, repetitive path to keep us on task and focused. Reputation is how we master skills. But repetition of the same thing over and over, year in and year out, can cause boredom.
So we do not want to rid our lives of routine repetition, but rather very the repetition we are doing.
Focus on different tasks at different times. Find a new challenge, or a new skill within your working day to tackle or learn.
Through varying our reputation, we stay fresh, invigorated, and free of mindless adaptation.
So consider your routine. When was the last time you adjusted your schedule, took on a new challenging task at work, or learned a new skill to make yourself more valuable?
If you are feeling stuck and unfulfilled at your job - before thinking that you need to switch careers or find your true passion - first mix things up. You may find that you do in fact still love your career, you were simply a victim of hedonic adaptation.
Seek out new challenges, learn new skills. Never stop growing. Follow your curiosities and take chances. Life is too beautiful to get stuck on the mindless hamster wheel of adaptation.