Pleasure vs. satisfaction

I’m all for pleasure. Eating, drinking, playing, relaxing. Popcorn and a movie. But satisfaction is something else entirely. Pleasure comes and goes, there for the moment and then largely forgotten. But satisfaction stays with you. That’s because it comes from true accomplishment, from a job well done. That’s why I love building things.

I enjoy the zen of a project, the way you get lost in the problem-solving and the rhythm of the step-by-step. But what I really love is the satisfaction that comes at the end, when you look at what you’ve accomplished. A room transformed, a deck built, a piece of furniture made, whatever it is.

And that satisfaction never really fades. Because that newly painted room, or new patio, or outdoor bench becomes part of your life. If you do a halfway decent job, the project stays with you for a very long time, decades even, reminding you that you did this.

Learning new skills brings satisfaction, too. Once you know how to really sharpen a chisel, or lay tile, or use clip pedals on your bike, it stays with you. There is something about accomplishing something in the physical world, with real materials, that hits us all down in our DNA.

My friends who paint pictures, or restore cars, or knit socks (greatest gift in the world: hand-knit socks)–they feel the same way. They are addicted to the feeling. They could tell you something about every object they’ve built or created.

You can rehab a camper van and make memories driving it down the coast, or build a treehouse and watch your kids play in it. I could go on. Real is real.

I feel bad for my friends who don’t build stuff. Some like to veg out with video games. I get it. Turn off your mind and rack up points. It’s fun to talk shit with my friends while we kill bad guys. But when we power off the Playstation, we feel nothing. Maybe a stomach ache from all the Doritos we just scarfed.

When I leave my workshop, coated with sawdust, the first thing I do is get one of my family members to see how far I’ve gotten on my latest project. That’s satisfaction, Holmes, and it’s free.

I say dive in and build something. You’ll see.

dogpatio
I felt tired but happy when I finally finished this big patio. The dog and cat were pretty impressed.
pipe
I grab a cup of coffee, put on some music in my garage, and let the project happen. This one is from my blog on making projects from plumbing hardware.
beauty
The best part about building stuff is how the results become part of your life. Maybe that’s why the satisfaction lasts, too.
finish
Building teaches you to stay present also, doing each step as best you can.
desk
Then suddenly you are done, and the bragging begins! This is from my blog on working with natural-edged wood slabs.

 

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