I’m an enthusiastic guy. If you ask me, “How excited are you on a scale from 1 to 10?” about any given topic, the first thing I will tell you is how super awesome your scale is. That’s how enthusiastic I am about things.
But recently I noticed something strange. I was on Crete for a vacation with my girlfriend and her parents. A friend told me before how much he likes Crete and how beautiful it is. He showed me lots of Instagram pictures from a location close to where I was going to spend my holidays.
The pictures looked awesome and got me hyped. I saw myself running along the sea, mountains in the back, and the sun in my face.
When we got there, I went for a run. It was a beautiful place, and exactly how I imagined it. It looked every bit like the pictures my friend showed me.
That was kind of the problem. It felt like I’ve already been there. I saw too many pictures before, I did too much research upfront. And I wasn’t as
“Wow”ed as I thought I would be.
From childlike excitement to “I have seen it all”
When we were little kids, countless moments left us amazed and speechless. Do you remember what it felt like to go to the circus for the first time? Or to the zoo? To stand at the sea on your first vacation, waves breaking in front of you?
Seeing little kids experiencing stuff they have never experienced before — honest amazement in their eyes — I sometimes wonder what happens to us growing up.
Some people get hyped easier and faster, some less. But few preserve the childlike enthusiasm when experiencing new things.
I think social media and other digital platforms are part of the problem.
No matter what we see or where we travel, we’ve seen it all before. A friend showed us on Instagram. We watched five YouTube videos about the top sightseeing spots of a place. We saw Google evaluations about a show.
We rarely explore entirely on our own anymore. We gather so much information upfront, it becomes almost impossible to make up our own minds about something or be surprised. That takes away a little magic when something new is finally in front of you.
The “Wow” might not be gone. But it’s a little less intense.
We compare our lives too much
A never-enough-attitude characterizes today’s society. We feel the urge to jump from adventure to adventure because others show us there is so much to do. We are never fully content and always need more.
Seeing people on Instagram experiencing great stuff and traveling, while we are sitting at home on the couch emphasizes the feeling.
Several studies by now link the use of social media to mental health issues such as depression, loneliness, and anxiety. We always compare our lives to others. Every bit of it. This can reinforce depression feelings because our own life feels dull compared to the awesomeness everybody else seems (!) to enjoy daily. Depression symptoms can be accompanied by a lack of happiness hormones like dopamine or serotonin. A lack of happiness hormones can inhibit the joy and excitement we feel.
That keeps us further from enjoying and soaking in the “Wow” moments.
How can we turn around such development and preserve a part of our enthusiasm? Here are four tips on how to get back a little more “Wow” moments.
Get your mindset right, celebrate the little things and be adventurous
1 Most important is our mindset. When you scroll through your Insta next time, remind yourself people rarely show the downsides of their lives.
I’m not saying, “remind yourself other peoples’ lives are shitty sometimes, too, and be happy about it.” But see the pictures for what they are: snapshots of brief happy moments.
We’re all in the same boat dealing with the same problems. We all struggle trying to live up to our own expectations and build happiness. Stop comparing your life to others. No one is perfect, and no one has to be.
2 When you find yourself in a moment that amazes you, don’t grab your phone to take a picture for your followers. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, open your eyes again, and soak in everything you see. Enjoy the wonder in front of you, and be thankful you are privileged enough to be there.
3 Next time before you travel to a new city or country, don’t extensively research where to go and what to do. Get a rough idea of the must-dos and what you want to see. Then stop the Google mania. Be adventurous and let your destination surprise you.
4 Never take anything for granted. Celebrate the big moments, but also the little things. Always be thankful.