Today I wanted to bring you one of those concepts that catches your attention and is super curious. Shall we go for it? I present to you the Nova Effect, the tragedy of good luck. A term related to psychology, coined by Richard Wiseman and Daniel Gilbert. It is used to describe the increased restlessness and decreased happiness in a person’s life after experiencing a period of good luck.
To bring the concept into the purest practical reality, let’s look for an obvious example. Imagine that you are preparing for your vacation. You plan it with the utmost enthusiasm, taking into account all the details, developing an exciting expectation. You go on the trip, you discover a spectacular place, you feel you have made the right choice and you have a great time. But as in everything, there comes that end that brings you back to “normality”. You have to adapt, once again, to mundane life.
This is exactly the Nova Effect. A sudden drop in well-being that occurs because we become accustomed to the high level that positive experiences bring us. Then, when they come to an end, we find it difficult to adapt. This also happens with any other situation in which you are doing very well and suddenly everything changes. In other words, individuals become victims of the tragedy of good luck.
Nova effect, the tragedy of good luck
It is all very curious, because those people who are very accustomed to lasting good fortune will be less tolerant of change. They will have a high expectation in life so that nothing will be able to satisfy them.
The tragedy of good luck occurs when individuals cannot adapt to changes in their circumstances. It may happen that, for example, you win a big lottery prize, go through a state of euphoria and feel that your life has been transformed for the better. This monetary illusion can be mentally established over time and, if luck changes by some setback, reinterpreting the return to the previous situation (or even worse) is tremendously painful.
A good antidote to mitigate the Nova effect is to practice a stoic mentality, a mental model that acts as a retaining wall. Stoicism is a philosophical current that appeared in ancient Greece and reached its peak in Roman times. The Stoics believed in living according to reason and virtue. They accepted the events of life with serenity and tranquility, without being carried away by negative emotions.
In Stoic philosophy, happiness is achieved through self-discipline and wisdom, and not through pleasure or material wealth. The Stoics emphasized the importance of virtue, in terms of wisdom, justice, courage and moderation. They also considered that there was interconnectedness of all things and stressed the importance of living in accord with nature.
The Stoics also emphasized the importance of resignation and acceptance of the things we cannot control, and focusing on what we can control, such as our own actions and thoughts.
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