Want to Be Happier? Science Says Avoid the Effect of Relative Deprivation on Fulfillment and Satisfaction

Want to Be Happier? Science Says Avoid the Effect of Relative Deprivation on Fulfillment and Satisfaction

via Inc.com by Jeff Haden

My friend “Mark” (not his real name, for reasons that will become obvious) used to run a thriving home health care business. Fourteen million dollars in annual revenue. Enviable profit margins. 

And, not incidentally, happy employees: In an industry where turnover often averages more than 20 percent, over 90 percent of his employees had been with him for more than five years.

Then he spent a day at a boutique equity firm; while he didn’t accept its offer, he did walk away convinced he needed a fancier office to reflect his own success and status.

Then he spent a resort weekend with friends, and came home convinced his family’s semiannual camping trips pretty much sucked in comparison.

Then he joined a CEO Peer Group and realized he was the only member who didn’t have a personal assistant. Why should he have to endure the drudgery of entering his own appointments when his new friends enjoyed admin-free lives?

So he hired an assistant. And an office manager. And an operations manager.

And within six months, his lean, efficient business had become bloated and unproductive. Costs spiraled. For the first time, some of his best employees not only looked for but actually found greener pastures.

And the same equity firm — the one where even the analysts had plush offices — swooped in and purchased his business for a fraction of the firm’s original offer.

Mark didn’t need a fancier office; like most good leaders, he loved spending time where things actually happen. He didn’t need assistants and multiple layers of management; he excelled at giving employees the freedom and authority to make important decisions. 

He didn’t need those things.

But he definitely wanted them. 

Because he fell prey to the phenomenon psychologists call relative deprivation.

British Journal of Social Psychology overview saysrelative deprivation occurs when “persons may feel deprived of some desirable thing relative to their own past, other persons or groups, or some other social category.”

Or in non researcher-speak, relative deprivation occurs when we realize other people have things we don’t … and then start to think we should.

Even if we don’t need them…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE