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> Its far more satisfying to 'impress yourself', ie do better than you did before.

The converse of this is why stagnation feels bad long term (you don't tend to notice short term, that is just a break taking things easy for a while). Knowing you have not learned/done anything new in a long time can be depressing, and fuels many a mid-life crisis.

But that's completely fixable, right? It'w quite easy to start learning something new, or start doing something new.

Completely. But not always easily. If you let the spiral go too far before reacting it can be hard work climbing out of the rut you've dug for yourself. Someone who becomes properly depressed by the matter is going to have a hard time - it can be a difficult mindset to alter because there isn't often a quick win.

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