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The Tiramisu Problem

Imagine this scenario. You are young and eager to experience all life has to offer. At a restaurant, you order a dessert you have never encountered before—tiramisu. It is pleasant, so, later, at a different restaurant you order the tiramisu again. It is even better than the first time.

Soon, you are on a quest to experience the best tiramisu. You sample it often and find some versions better than others. Inevitably, you have a peak tiramisu experience. The best. After that ultimate, all subsequent tiramisus disappoint.

This isn’t just a dessert problem. This same pattern can happen any time you search for the best—best cheeseburger, best novel, best movie, best whatever. 

I have a crack-pot theory that the reason so many old people are grouchy is that they are coping with the disappointment that comes from living in the shadow of a lifetime of peak experiences. Today is disappointing because it is filled with so many examples of things that are not as good as some previous peak.

Fortunately, there is something you can do to protect yourself from this gloomy fate.

Continuing to quest for superior tiramisu is bound to lead to unhappiness. A better strategy is to recognize how lucky you have been to experience such top-quality tiramisu so early. Declare yourself a winner and then substitute a new quest. Focus on finding really amazing Bananas Foster, Baked Alaska, or Cheesecake.

This same approach works in other areas. Instead of perpetually searching for a better apartment, vacation destination, job, spouse, or home planet, just declare yourself a winner and settle down. With the time and energy that you save you’ll be free to look for superior scotch, chocolate, or pickled onions.

Pittsburgh, August 22, 2018

WARNING: My blogs are intended for entertainment purposes. If you follow my advice and your life gets all screwed up, I don’t take any responsibility for the mess. And I don’t want to hear your complaints.

5 Responses

Robert Proctor

August 24, 2018

Fortunately, I hated that first tiramisu. My life is bliss.

SJ Kurtz

August 24, 2018

Thank you for your timely message. While I know that the perfect tiramisu is still waiting for me to find it, I do appreciate all the other ones along the way. I have learned to make my own tiramisu. I do love it, and frankly, no chocolate/coffee dessert has ever let me down.

So I guess my plate is half full.
There must be more in the kitchen.

I love your work. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Average Jane

August 24, 2018

Excellent advice!


August 23, 2018

As always, perfectly put Don. I was a winner with the perfect leader/boss that no one could compare!

Beth Reasoner

August 23, 2018

These designs are great, Don. Thanks for all of this levity.
Your sense of humor is noticed, and appreciated greatly.
I have purchased a set of 4 mugs, keeping one for myself, and giving the rest away as gifts to the “right people who get it”……(lucky me that I have a son and daughter-in-law that do, as well as a band mate!)
Keep on keepin’ on.
Your Beth Friend

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