(Stick with this it will really end up almost on topic)
The current fascination people have with the Tiger Woods is interesting because the image he projects is perfect, he is a gifted athlete, smart, well spoken, respected, rich, married to a super model, his life is perfect in every way. Yet we learn that at some level he is not satisfied with what he has.
Jaycee Dugard is captured as a little girl raped and held captive for 18 years, yet we read that she had adjusted to her life and even felt some attachment to the monster that did this to her.
Un-happiness in the perfect life and happiness in the horrible life, whats going on?
I think its human nature to adjust your expectations to your situation. Last year my business had the best year ever, I had the time and budget to pursue the LLC dream and work on a really interesting project, I was truly fortunate to have that. It was a great year. In the Month after the contest I've not yet come to grips with the fact that the economy is in the pits and I really can't afford to work on the rockets for awhile. I've got to go work really hard to maintain the business in this climate rather than seeing it grow. (We're down 36% year to date yet we have not laid anyone off) My personal setpoint had adjusted to the thrill and success and its really depressing to try and adjust it back. The vast majority of humanity would be ecstatic to trade places with me, yet I'm depressed about it. 5 years ago I'd be ecstatic, I think we really only react to the changes, not the absolute level of things in our life.
When I stop and ponder this I come it an interesting question. What is the natural state of humans? From an evolutionary standpoint I can see that sit in the corner depressed is not effective and would be selected out of the gene pool. However I can also see that a slight unease or paranoia could have benefits. If one group of humans is satisfied and happy and settles in for the winter, they would be at a disadvantage to another group the was just a little bit uneasy and focused that energy at being more productive and gathering a few more nuts and animal skins for the winter. So what is the natural state of the most productive humans?
What drives productive motivation? Is motivation bordering on obsession good or bad for production? Should I just rest and relax for awhile, or shoudl I try and get fired up to work on the things I can actually do, like clean the workshop, develop a simulator, do a peper design for a nanosat vehicle? What purpose does recharge and satisfaction setpoint "reset" have in the process? My wife has studyied a lot of Buddhist philosophy, IE live in the now and be happy with what you have. Any really productive Buddhist scientists and engineers? Is society better served by the hedonist pursuing things in the free market where he is driven to create value so he can have pleasure? I've always though Maslow's hierarchy of needs was a better gage that pure hedonism. The happiest times in my life have been associated with creating something , or bringing an idea to realization. I've posed a lot of hard questions all much less clear than the rocket equation, yet more important when trying to accomplish things in the world.