Research shows that extremely positive events can skew perspective so much that everything that follows pales in comparison. Maybe this is why many athletes have trouble staying retired.
As I was watching Michael Phelps receive his 14th gold medal – what a week! – this is what I was thinking: “How could anything in this 23-year old swimmer’s life ever top this?” And: “After he comes down from the high, will he ultimately end up less happy than the rest of us mere mortals?”
This may be a downer question, but it’s not a glib one. Research suggests that an extremely positive event (or “peak experience”) can skew our distribution of life events in such a way that makes everything that follows it pale by comparison.
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