This is the latest installation of a 27-part series, featuring my book, Chasing Unicorns. To read the previous installation, CLICK THIS LINK. For the next post in this series, CLICK THIS LINK. To start at the beginning, CLICK THIS LINK. To read the entire book at once, tap the book cover. Thanks for reading!
RECAP: Yesterday we learned from Virgin Investment Theory that we must sacrifice some uniqueness, and the pleasure that comes with it, to experience greater levels of uniqueness and pleasure. Buying low and selling high, or at least buying high and selling higher, is key to improving our happiness.
Uniqueness (It’s One-of-a-Kind), Part 6
Think Unique, and Feel a Thrill
Okay I’m back. SpongeBob SquarePants wasn’t on, so I lost interest and am ready to resume writing. But while I was away sucking down a root beer, it occurred to me that we haven’t yet discussed how your thoughts produce emotions. For instance, when I think about SpongeBob SquarePants, I feel both amused and envious. I feel amused because the way he looks and acts provides quick little tiny episodes of unique experiences for me.
It’s the same way that a good joke works. The first time you hear it, the unique thought it suddenly inspires causes you to feel a sudden spike of enjoyment. You respond by feeling amused, and maybe by involuntarily laughing. But if someone keeps telling you the same joke over and over, familiarity quickly increases, and uniqueness quickly declines. And then, if you’re being polite because it’s your boss who’s telling you the joke, the best you might do is muster some fake laughter.
Oh yeah, SpongeBob SquarePants leaves me feeling envious as well. After all, what red-blooded American male wouldn’t want to live in Bikini Bottom?
But it isn’t SpongeBob himself that makes me feel an emotion. Rather, it’s the thought processes that his character inspires. The way people think determines the emotions that they feel.
Your very thoughts produce mental patterns that can be quite unique. And this uniqueness can be very enjoyable or very painful, depending upon how well you’re buying low and selling high with your focus. If you imagine yourself bathing in a pool of gold coins and hundred dollar bills, you will likely feel pleasure from the uniqueness of this mental image. But if you imagine receiving a certified letter from the IRS, you will likely feel pain, due to the strong focus of worry that this image generates.
The pleasure and pain that our thoughts generate are emotions. We produce our own emotions, just by the way we think. Our brains are veritable drama machines.
Positive emotions are pleasurable, while negative emotions are painful. And what determines whether an emotion will be positive or negative, is the amount of uniqueness produced by your thoughts, versus the amount of natural uniqueness sacrificed through the mental focus you utilize to produce the thoughts.
But you say, “Hey I’ve gotcha now!” Oh, you think you’re so smart. (By the way, thinking you’re real smart ought to generate pleasurable emotions of smugness and pride). You realize there are some thoughts you think that are not very unique, yet still generate feelings of pleasure. For instance, a paycheck is a rather mundane thing—especially if you’ve been working at the same job for the past 20 years. There’s nothing much unique about your paycheck, yet you still like thinking about it. Well first, don’t admit this to your boss or you’ll never get that raise you’ve been pestering for.
Now imagine getting your paycheck every day, rather than every two weeks. Wouldn’t that be nice? Now imagine getting your paycheck every hour of every day. Better still, right? No, not really. If you were rolling in the dough like this, pretty soon you’d start getting rather bored with paychecks. Not that you’d turn down the money. With all that money, you’d probably hire a financial assistant to cultivate the greenery, while you go off and pursue your favorite hobby—like hunting ducks in Argentina or tasting wine in Italy. The last thing you’d want to think about is another paycheck.
Why? Because it would no longer be unique. Uniqueness is what makes a thought exciting. When you only get a paycheck every two weeks, the waiting time between paydays is long enough to maintain a certain high level of uniqueness with each check you receive. Thus the thought of a paycheck is still somewhat pleasurable.
Suppose you listened to your favorite song over and over again, all day long? How long would it take before you started to detest the song, or even the thought of the song? And how hard would you start trying to get the damned tune out of your head? Here again uniqueness is dependent upon familiarity. The more familiar you are with something, the less unique it becomes to your mind. And therefore, the less enjoyable it will be.
I hope you have learned something new here, about uniqueness. If you have, you have probably enjoyed reading this chapter. Because, of course, a unique concept is an enjoyable concept, even when it’s a concept about uniqueness.
So now that you appreciate (hopefully) the one-of-a-kind value of uniqueness, you’re probably wondering how you can add more uniqueness to your life. How exactly do you seek unique, and make your life happier?
Well come along with me, and we’ll find the answer by taking a ride on a unicorn.