Then how would we measure the overall quality/quantity of satisfaction felt by different individuals? Or more simply, how would I measure my own overall satisfaction?
We might be able to tap into traditional methods to quantify “customer satisfaction.” Here is the definition:
Customer satisfaction: a measure of how products and services supplied by a company meet or surpass the customer’s expectation.
It turns out that “customer satisfaction” is geared toward quantifying satisfaction at a very micro and local level: per product/service basis, and probably per event/use basis. If that’s the case, could you simply sum satisfaction experienced by using each and every product/service you own, in order to quantify your overall satisfaction? When you do so, how would quantity/quality come into play?
Clearly, accumulating products/services does not necessarily contribute to one’s overall satisfaction. At least there is no simple and proportional correlation.
Then why do we have to keep acquiring stuff? One of the problems is that we don’t have reliable tools to quantify overall satisfaction. If simple math of summation does not work, what alternatives do we have?
Remember the Yerkes-Dodson curve that we reviewed so many times in “Zero Narrative.” Instead of assuming satisfaction as a straight line that grows infinitely, “Zero” assumes a bell curve for satisfaction. Now you apply the amount of stuff you own, as a straight line. We can easily see where the optimal satisfaction level meets the amount of stuff we own – at least theoretically. The people who found “life-changing magic” in tidying up might have found their own optimal level by experimenting with drastic subtraction.