Are your goals making you unhappy?

Becoming a published author is a power move.

It confers status, brings "press accolades" and shows the world that you can do hard things.

But the journey is never straightforward.

It starts with a childhood dream.

Then turns into the emotional roller coaster of landing that first book deal.

And then the “meh” of publishing your next book.

The process dredges up the complexities of ambition, the nature of happiness and the influence of childhood experiences on self-worth.

This week on The Examined Life Podcast, we’re joined by author, public speaker and James Beard award winner Geraldine DeRuiter.

We ask the question:

How do you get off the hedonic treadmill?

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My top 3 takeaways

There’s nothing “unpure” about commercial success

For many creatives, commercial success means you sold out. Or that you created something just so it would sell, rather than for artistic purity. But for someone else to access your work, it needs to be attainable and viable.

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Success can feel so fleeting

How often have you reached a goal, only to immediately move on to the next one? Without thoughtfulness and reflection, your goal posts will have wheels on them. And your contentment will continue to be fleeting.

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What are your core beliefs?

Core beliefs, those assumptions about ourselves we hold deeply, can help or hurt us. They can impact friendships, relationships and everyday interactions. Could reshaping a negative core belief be a life unlock?

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My favorite quote: The path to enough

It's hard for me to be like, I am not good enough, or I don't think I'm good enough. And that's why I wrote another book. And even though it's doing really well, and people are leaving beautiful reviews, I still don't think I'm good enough. And it's nice to have people who see it and are like, you're being a lot right now and maybe you need to take a beat and appreciate that you're not a terrible person and you've done amazing things.

Why this episode matters to me

I’ve been fighting the hedonic treadmill for most of my life.

I love the chase of the next goal.

It was promotions, the “number” and even "waves surfed."

But just like booze — the highs felt less exciting with time.

And the hangovers came with greater inner angst.

Things really started to change when I went from the question:

Is this it?

To the statement:

THIS is it!

I hope you can do the same.

If you want to dig deeper

The hedonic treadmill is fueled by the when-then trap. And I had to escape both to walk away from a $2 million salary. This level of change is often accompanied by an identity quake.

Love letters from our fans

"Loved hearing your story about surfing Khe."

Hope you enjoy the episode,


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