A little mini-epiphany: to feel more happiness, human flourishing, and joy in life– seek to NEVER STOP CREATING (making stuff), instead of seeking to obtain more stuff.
This is my idea:
1. We feel the most pleasure when we are in the creative act of making something (whether making photos, whether writing, or making any sort of art).
In other words, the process of creation is more enjoyable than enjoying the final product.
For example, I feel more joy in the process of making photos, and the challenge of making the photos, and the process of choosing those photos, than sitting on the laurels of enjoying the final photo.
The final photo (no matter how good it is), sooner or later loses its appeal. Thus, I get impelled to make an even better photograph (or challenge myself more) in the future.
2. Purchasing stuff gives you a momentary high, but soon that pleasure fades.
For example, when I first bought my Leica M9, the pleasure I felt was a 10/10. But after the first month, perhaps it was an 8/10. Then after the first year, it is around a 7/10 (the general joy I feel from any camera I have bought in the past). I can extrapolate and say that the pleasure of buying anything (a fancy car, a fancy watch, a fancy bag, an expensive camera, an expensive phone, expensive laptop, home, etc, will eventually lose its appeal).
Many people try to combat this ‘hedonic treadmill’ by constantly buying more and more expensive and exotic stuffs.
To me, this is a waste of time and money. A better use is to invest your life energy and time to make art.
The basic takeaway is simple: seek to continually make more and more stuff, to make more and more art, to keep innovating, and never be 100% satisfied with your art. Be appreciative of the past art you’ve made, but always strive for more.
And as with stuff– realize that anything you buy will soon lose its charm.
Realize you have a limited life. You will die. You are only given (at best) around 100 years to live on planet earth (most likely you will live to be around 90 years old). You can technically work really really hard, and make a lot of money, and buy a lot of stuff…but will that really be the best use of your time? Will it give you deep satisfaction and fulfillment with your life? I doubt it.
My suggestion: focus your time, energy, attention, and resources to constantly make art in whatever domain you choose, every day, until the day you die.
Never stop innovating,