Relative deprivation chain of thought

Randomly reminded of Beverly Hills 90210 while reading about relative deprivation

Their environment looked amazing. Always sunny, they drove amazing cars, live in amazing houses and were mostly beautiful, wealthy and healthy. They basically seemed to live in heaven. Why were they so often sad and frustrated? I’d have traded drizzly Dartmoor in a tiny terrace council house, and not being able to drive until 17 in an instant. Relative to them I was in deprivation. 

This took me back to the Dan Gilbert: The surprising science of happiness TED talk from 2004. He shares evidence that suggests a lottery winner and a paraplegic are equally as happy, one year after the events which led to their situations.

This in turn reminds me of my thinking that Mac users have higher baseline expectations of the UI that PC users and so when disappointment happens, they have further to fall and so experience a greater frustration delta (based only on the experience of PC user friends never seeming to moan about the amount of virus protection and blue screens and DOS faffing they had to deal with, vs a myself and Mac friends being utterly pissed off at the smallest of challenges). 

The same applies for any outstanding service. When inevitably it does suffer a fault, the users can seem more annoyed than poor service customers ever would. The paradox of providing good service. The better you are the more angry a minority might one day become. 

And finally, for this slightly random chain of thought association, all these things lead to difficulties for education, learning and creativity. If you only know what is around you, or you based your expectations only on what you’ve experienced before, how can you productively strive for more. Or even know that you could. Or teach an audience that doesn’t know how good or bad their lot in life is. Imagine teaching people in poverty about the interior design process for luxury apartments. Or teaching rich kids of Instagram about, well, about doing anything for themselves without their parents money. 

Oh, one more that all this has just reminded me of. This lady from Humans of New York found as a screen shot on Reddit but sourced back to their Instagram after a mammoth scroll down the archive:

“I had a child when I was sixteen. I got kicked out of high school because of all the absences. My family and community pretty much wrote me off. But right away I got a job at a sporting goods store. Soon I was able to get a job as a receptionist at a tax company, and they gave me enough responsibilities that I learned how to do taxes. Eventually I learned enough to become an associate. Then I got offered a job at a smaller company, and even though it was a pay cut, they offered me responsibility over all the books– accounts payable, accounts receivable, everything. It was less money but I wanted that experience so I took the risk. And I’m so glad I did, because six months later, the controller of that company left and I was given that position. They told me they couldn’t officially call me the controller because I didn’t have a college degree. So I finished my degree 5 months ago– just to make it official! So after having a child at sixteen, I made it all the way to controller of a company, without even having a college degree. Can you believe that? Honestly, I’ve been waiting to tell that story so long that I told it to a customer service representative on the phone last week. She was nice about it and pretended to care.”

A photo posted by Humans of New York (@humansofny) on Jun 30, 2014 at 8:01am PDT