(• Reading Time: 3 minutes •)
You think you’re special, but you’re not.
No one cares. Well, your mom does but most likely because she’s afraid you’d do something crazy. Your boss cares too because they need to plan ahead and prep themselves for a replacement, if necessary.
Oh and of course, your partner cares because… if you push it too much they just might leave.
Or maybe you’ll leave.
Why we love to obsess
There’s some sort of weird joy in obsessing about something, even if it’s negative. But you and I are not unique. Millions of people have had the same problem for decades and we didn’t know about them.
In the same way no one will know about your problem or mine.
But it’s not all BS
What problems did you have this time last month?
What about last year?
5 years ago?
You don’t remember specifics. I don’t. No one does. Well, unless you’re keeping scores against someone. Then you remember everything.
In Behavioral Economics, it’s simply the peak-end rule: we remember only the major themes in life because it occurred at the peak of the event or at the end.
If you re-live your problems constantly, you’ll end up with recurring negative themes.
Your peak is negative; your end is even more negative.
- By this time next month
- This time next year
- This time 5 years
Will you still be complaining about the same things?
Give me attention, please
When one obsesses about a problem, their focus shifts to negative things.
And where your focus lies, goes your energy.
All that time, mental energy, repeating the same thing over and over again in your head—my problems, my issues, my challenges— because you at least have something to hold on to.
Nature abhors vacuum.
So we’d rather hold on to our personal, unique problems, than to remain empty.
There’s another option. But nope, our minds prefer to hold on to the attention our problem brings. Me. Mine. My problems.
At least I’m not boring around others
Problems give you something to talk about. Because you can never run out of what to say:
“Let me tell you about my horrible boss.”
“Uggh, my relationship sucks because...”,
“I can’t workout considering...”
But. No One Cares.
You’re not special. I’m not. We’re not.
Thanks for reading
Are you on Twitter? Follow @LifeTechPsych to get tips on Life (Philosophy), Technology and Behavioral Psychology.
- FREE Cheatsheet: I help new programmers and junior devs focus on what matters instead of endless trial and error. If you're interested in boosting your confidence and skills, checkout our free cheatsheet.
- Follow on Twitter: Have a question, I'm most active on Twitter – feel free to reach out to me. My DM is open.
Heads Up - I love research so I tend to back my advice and approach with concepts from Behavioral Psychology and Neuroscience.