Don’t Lose The Sense of WOW
January 13, 2021
About 20 years back, I watched an Indian Bollywood film called Lagaan, and I remember falling in love with this movie.
Everything about this movie was perfect, and WOW-The script was powerful, the music was fabulous, the characters were so well etched out, the storytelling was intense, and the acting spontaneous. I remember thinking to myself and telling all my friends and family; this must be the best movie ever made. I watched the movie a couple of times in the theatres. That was not enough. I loved the movie so much that when the DVD version was released, I bought it. And, over the years, I saw this movie a few more times.
As I began to see the movie many times, I started noticing flaws and faults that were not evident to me earlier. I started feeling that acting in a few places was over the top. Some of the scenes and settings were contrived. The editing was sloppy.
Over the years, my belief that this was the best movie ever changed. Today, the sense of WOW and wonderment that I had when I first saw the film is no longer there. And, I feel a disappointment in this.
The irony is that the movie in itself has not changed. The film was the same when I saw it the first time and the sixth time. What has changed is my impression and my feelings about the movie.
One of the laws of our life is that familiarity breeds contempt. The more you get exposed to something, the less pleasure and satisfaction you derive and the more flaws, faults, and problems you observe. Two other examples come to mind.
- The first time I used Uber, the thrill of seeing the taxi arrive out of nowhere in front of the doorstep based on an app on the phone- that was WoW. Today, the Grab driver takes the same time to come, but somehow my mind is impatient, tracking the seconds. I think the driver is late, or the car is not smelling fresh. An attitude of dissatisfaction has replaced the WOW.
- In my first job, when I got a raise of 15%, the satisfaction was incredible. It felt like that raise was the result of my hard work and contribution. The feeling was WOW. The same raise 5 or 10 years down the line became an entitlement. The WOW was gone. I developed a feeling that no one is doing me a favor. If anything, I deserved a 20% raise !! A sense of gripe replaced The WOW.
Our experiences, most times, remain similar. It is our perception that keeps shifting based on the familiarity that we have with those experiences. We start noticing faults and issues when the sense of wonder and thrill starts waning.
There is no magic pill to solve this predicament.
I am writing about it to remind ourselves that our satisfaction is our mind’s making, and it has an inbuilt flaw. Sometimes, what appears good and WOW one day becomes ordinary and deficient some other day, because of constant exposure. We see this play out in our self-perception, relationships, work, assets, and other aspects of our daily lives.
If we could retain the sense of WOW that comes from anything new we experience, and savor that feeling every other time, would it not be amazing?