List of observations about us (work in progress).

1. Why We Don’t Do Certain Things?

We all have a list of things to do (either in writing or in our minds) that’ll make us happy and feel better. We so badly want to get those experiences ourselves at least once (or more, depends on the item) and unsurprisingly, the list is all about ourselves.

It can have our dream travel destinations, personal goals, and aspirations. You typically won’t see, I want to feed at least 1000 people or plant 100 trees or something similar. I’ve spent months in the pursuit of learning what makes people happier in general. On all the research papers and studies — charity and giving back to the community always top the list.

If giving back can make us happier, why most of us don’t have it on our list? Why we don’t engage in such activities anywhere nearly as often as we engage in leisure activities (say, going out for a movie)?

It’s the mimetic theory in play.

You literally build your wish list based on what you see and what people around you experience (social media apps extended the circle).

This is something I’ve been seeing a lot lately. When I strike a conversation with any of my friends and colleagues, I tend to ask what’s on their wishlist. Not surprisingly, the answers are quite different from one another (there are some common themes of course). But when I shift the question to “why you have ‘X’ or ‘Y’ on your list, the answer is almost always the same. They’ve absorbed it from somewhere.

So, if there are no people doing something for the community or giving back in some way, then you won’t imagine doing it yourself or add it to your wishlist. An important note is we should also consider:

a) Who’s doing it: You won’t add “planting 100 trees” to your list if you see a friend of a friend doing it. You need to see and feel it from someone close.

b) Number matters: If you see just one person doing it, it’s not enough. We need to hit a certain no. of. ppl to mobilize the others.