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Silver Place Olympians Aren't Satisfied

Olympic athletes turn down social opportunities in order to go to bed early, get out of bed before the sun comes up, and limit their diets to include the perfect blend of protein, fiber, complex carbohydrates, and nutrients. And why do they do this? The medal. The medal is the dream. The fantasy of winning an Olympic medal is what propels these athletes forward.

But as we know, all medals are not created equal. USA Today cited a report that surveyed the happiness and contentment level of the gold, silver, and bronze medal winners. No surprises, the happiest athletes were the gold medalists. The next result, however, may surprise you. You may think the silver medalists were next on the happiness scale. They weren't. The bronze medalists were happier than the silver medalists.

The silver medalists think, I came so close to winning gold. The bronze medalists think, I almost didn't get a medal—I'm grateful to be on the podium. One reflects on what they have, the other reflects on what they don't have. The third-place athlete is happier than the second-place athlete. Psychologists describe this as counterfactual thinking. It's the "I could have" or "I should have" state of mind.

Sadly, sometimes suffer from this "silver medal syndrome." Though we have the highest standard of living in recorded history, we never quite seem to have enough.

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