Managing My Baseline

As I’ve gained a better understanding of my mind, I’ve made micro changes to improve my daily satisfaction. Most of these changes involve reseting my baseline for expectations.

Two simple examples can be found in my approach to coffee and wine.


I was thrilled when Peet’s Coffee & Tea opened in Boulder. However, I noticed that my baseline quickly reset and drinking coffee elsewhere resulted in disappointment.

My ability to easily access “the best” increased my total dissatisfaction across a month.

What to do?

I switched my morning routine to start with a cup of CostCo brew. It’s a solid brew and gets me rolling.

However, a few months ago, I won coffee-for-a-year from Peet’s and get a pound of beans each month. So I started drinking Peet’s in the morning and everything reset again.

More disappointment resulted when, mid-month, we’d run out.

However, now I see my disappointment as a chance to reset and I anticipate each new month’s shipment.

Anticipation is a key part of pleasure – worth remembering that tip in relationships as well!


My senses of hearing, taste and smell are all below average. It’s an area, like my driving, where my self-assessment is more accurate than most.

When buying wine, I combine my known sensory deficit with a simple heuristic – never pay more than $15 for a bottle of wine.

This makes it easy for my pals to blow me away with their moderate vintages, has me drinking less and reduces my total annual spend on alcohol. All good results.

Like my three-year old son, I try to make myself easy to impress!


That’s Laird, Gabby and family above. My wife follows them on Facebook and mentioned that she thought they were a well-grounded couple.

All I could do was laugh and say, “Laird’s your baseline for a husband?!”

Apparently, Laird’s “a little soft” but that’s OK because he has three kids.

For some reason, Laird appearing soft didn’t make me feel a whole lot better.

Anyhow, exercising makes me happy and, perhaps, my wife was giving me a nudge to train more.


Remember what I said about the coffee and the wine, it applies in every aspect of our lives.

Too much luxury can ruin our appreciation for the beauty of everyday life.

Take time to reset your expectations.