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Being desirous of something someone else has that you do not—happiness, money, freedom, a better sounding stereo system, etc.—can at times cause some serious hand wringing.

Over the years, I have been focused on reducing my reaction time to this emotion. Reducing it enough to where I can take a more clinical look at what is on offer and what it is about that offer that interests me.

When, at a restaurant, I make a poor choice in food and the table next to me made the right choice, I am envious. The next task is simple. Envious enough to send mine back and trade up to theirs?

What's the cost? What's the benefit? Is it worth the effort?

When I hear a superior high-end audio system I run myself through the same routine. If the better sounding system looks simpler, more elegantly designed, and carries less baggage than what I am using, then envy turns to a quest for learning and new knowledge. When the opposite happens—the better system is bigger, more complex, harder to build and maintain—I have to ask myself those same three questions.

What's the cost? What's the benefit? Is it worth the effort?

If your friend's high-end system blows yours out of the water and the only difference is (say) the speakers, that's a much easier upgrade path choice then starting over.

Worth considering those three really great question when you're faced with the angst of wanting better.

If the answer to the last question is "yes", then go for it!

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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