The 10th Apple Effect
By Maulik Unadkat,
A hunter once lost his way deep inside the jungle while chasing a deer. He used all his navigation skills but neither did he find any way out of the jungle nor could he find any food to eat for 8 days at a stretch. He started feeling so damn hungry that he could eat an entire elephant at one go. Disappointed, he lost all hope. And that is exactly when an apple tree caught his sight. He collected a dozen apples to feed him for the rest of his search.
As he ate the 1st apple, his joy knew no bounds and he just couldn't stop feeling grateful and blessed. He thanked life. He thanked God. He could not believe his luck when he ate the 1st apple but he was less grateful while having the 2nd apple and even less grateful when he had the 5th apple. Somehow, with each passing apple, the hunger still kept on increasing and the joy kept on reducing drastically. He just could not enjoy the 10th apple. Why? He had already taken for granted the gift of having found an apple tree in the middle of a forest after 8 long days of wandering with hunger. When he took the 10th apple in his hand, he was still very hungry but he just did not feel like having it any more. Economics calls this diminishing marginal utility. I would like to call it diminishing gratitude, in simple words, taking things for granted. Or let’s just call it the 10th apple effect.
The 10th apple did not lack taste, it did not lack the potential to satisfy his hunger but the only thing lacking was his gratitude for finding food in the middle of the jungle.
The hunter represents us. And the apple represents the gifts that life gives us. The 10th apple represents our lack of gratitude for these gifts of life and our ‘take everything for granted’ attitude. As we continue receiving the gifts of life, our hunger, our greed keeps on increasing and the joy we get from these gifts diminishes.
Imagine the joy you get when you deliver a baby and hold your baby in your hands for the first time. The gratitude you have in that moment, for life and for God is unmatched. But what happens as time passes? Do you get the same joy when you look at your child every single day? Do you still find enough happy time to spend with your kids? Never let the 10th apple effect make you feel less grateful for the gift of a child.
There will be no point in shedding tears when you lose your parents if you cannot love them today while they are with you. If your parents now seem to be bothersome to you, the 10th apple effect is getting on you. You are taking for granted all the efforts that they took to raise you up and more importantly you are losing gratitude for the blessing of still having your parents alive.
Our employees, house helpers, maids spend more time with us than their families. They keep your house spick and span. They help you run your business. You are what you are because of them. They work for you as if you were their God and eventually become an extended part of your family. The salary can never pay for their sacrifices and for their love towards you. Just because you may be blessed with many good workers, never let the 10th apple effect make you take them for granted.
Do you remember the joy you used to get from cooking for your family and taking care of your house? It is still the same house, it is still the same family but do you still get the same joy being a homemaker or does it now seem like a boring and daunting task to you? The 10th apple effect is fading away the selfless joy with which you did the same things earlier. You make your house home and there is no greater happiness than that.
On the other hand, the first time that your mom or your wife made your favorite dish, you just couldn't stop appreciating. When they still make the same dish for you, do you feel as happy? Do you still appreciate it? Do not let the 10th apple effect make you take their efforts for granted.
The 10th apple is as sweet as the first apple. If the 10th apple fails to give you as much pleasure as the first one, nothing is wrong with the apple, everything is wrong with you. If you get bored on a dull day, it is not because the day is dull and boring. It is because your gratitude has become dull and boring. The gift of life for another day cannot be taken for granted. The Nth year of life should seem as exciting as the 16th year, as the 25th year, as the 50th year.
Never let the ‘10th apple effect’ make you take these gifts of life for granted. Never let your gratitude for life fade away. Happy life!