Defying the Law of Diminishing Returns

I took a bunch of economics classes in college and one of the few things that I actually remember is the Law of Diminshing Returns.  The Law of Diminishing Returns basically says that the more of something that you have the less marginal return you get from each individual unit added.  Economists use the law a lot to figure out production schedules and it sounds complicated but it’s not.   Here is an oversimplified way of thinking about it:  Your absolutely starving.  I mean you literally can’t think of anything except food, and not just any food but PIZZA.  You want pizza and you want it now!  When you finally get that pizza, that first bite is INCREDIBLE!  I mean knock your socks off incredible.  After about 3 seconds you’ve scarfed down that first piece, and you would rank it at the top of your list of all time greatest pizzas.  You go on and eat your second piece, and it is great too, but not quite as “knock your socks off “as the first piece.  You continue eating and eating and by the time you’ve gotten to that eighth piece of pizza, the pizza has lost all of the “greatness” that was in that first piece.  The marginal return has decreased to almost nothing and now you are just working on expanding your waist band.


A quick search on wikipedia shows that the “Law of Diminishing Returns” is one of the most famous laws in all of economics.  So it has some serious street cred, and I would imagine that economists coddle the law like the holy grail.


If you think about your life and your experiences they typically follow suite with the Law of Diminishing Returns.  Your first time doing something or seeing something is pretty magical, but after you’ve done it a couple of times that magic seems to wear off.  Not that it can’t still be great but it just doesn’t have that flare like it did the first time.  In the many hours that I have spent staring through a windshield and thinking about my own life, I have found that there are also things that actually defy this great Law.  Yes there are actually things that retain that magic, no matter how many times you experience them.  Please allow me to present my findings:


  • Rainbows: Don’t even try telling me that you’re too old or too cool to appreciate a rainbow.  Rainbows are badass!!  Rainbows are those things that you only see every once in a while, and when you do spot one you always feel compelled to tell whoever is around you.  Rainbows are one of those crazy things that always make you feel better.  Not sure why, but they do.  I don’t even know what a rainbow is.  I’m sure I could find out by doing a quick Google search, but I choose not to, as I think it would kind of take all the magic out of them. 

  • Slow motion sequences in movies with cool music: This one is pretty self explanatory, but having someone walk or do something in slow motion while cool music is playing NEVER gets old.  That is cool stuff!!  It can literally be a scene where someone blows their nose, but if done in slow motion, with a little Dave Matthews playing in the background, BING, BAM, BOOM….instantly cool! 

  • Sunrises: – Sunrises are absolutely magical things that I have never grown tired of seeing. Sunrises are full of possibilities, full of hope, and full of faith for all the incredible things that might happen that day.   Those incredible things don’t always happen as the day plays out, but sunrises surely point to the idea that they could.  While it is sort of hard to roll out of bed on some days, I have never once regretted being up early enough to see a sunrise (it also helps if you have a cup of coffee in hand).

  • America’s Funniest Home Videos: I’m sorry but I can’t get enough of people wiping out, doing stupid stuff, and of course the often seen baseball shot to the privates.  You know you like it!  Now I will admit the voiceovers usually get a little tiring, but the clips themselves never seem to get old.  The show has been on the air for more than 20 years, and since it still cracks me up, I say in your face Law of Diminishing Returns!

  • Doing a 360 slam dunk over someone: Ok I have to admit I have never done this one (you probably guessed that), or really even come close, as I basically have the “ups” of a turtle.  But can you imagine being able to do that?!  That would never get old!!  I imagine Michael Jordan doing that constantly at his house, even with the simplest of tasks.  360 over his wife to put his dishes in the sink, 360 over the dog to take the trash out.  You get the idea. 

  • Passionate People: I am highly addicted to passionate people.  I don’t even care what they are passionate about.  In fact more often then not, they are passionate about things, that to be honest, I don’t really care about.  I think when people are passionate about something, it is akin to them following their heart.  Following your heart seems to give off an energy that becomes infectious.  In order to get my fix of passionate people, I watch a lot of documentaries on Netflix, (which I understand also puts me in the Nerd Category).   Check out “Exit Through the Gift Shop” if your looking for a good one. 


  • Trump Card: Now it should be noted that of all these things there is one thing that trumps all the others.  One thing that will never lose it’s value, no matter how many times I see it, (and hopefully I see it A LOT).  That is the happiness and joy of my family.  As you will soon find out on this blog, my family means the absolute world to me (as I’m sure your does to you).  There will never be anything better than seeing my kids laughing or smiling about something.  Nothing better than seeing my wife so excited about something that she becomes a kid herself.


  • More random findings: Doing “the impossible”…..Successful execution of a whoopie cushion……Having a street named after you…..Finding a secret treasure map……Having someone laugh at your joke…..Seeing the underdog win…..The Macarena (just kidding, wanted to see if your still paying attention)…..New car smell…..Having someone leave a comment on your blog (hint, hint)……Suprising someone with an awesome gift…..Laughing……….Having your kids think your cool


For the most part these are small things, not peak experiences, not things that I will remember in great detail years from now, but things nonetheless that add value to my life.  It makes me realize that life is really just made up of gazillions of small things.  Small things that I can choose to find value in or not.  On the surface they look like random experiences, but when I look at them collectively I see that they all bring a joy to my life, and joy is the ultimate thing that will never lose value or diminish it’s returns.


What are things that never lose value for you?



  1. Wow!!! What more can I say? Wow! I would also add (under more random findings) the smell of a bookstore. It combines the delightful smell of books and the delicious smell of coffee. Well done friend!

  2. I love your blog! I’m so glad that you started this. I can relate to the “Law of Diminishing Returns” because just living life can start feeling like that law can turn into a just a state of being going into infinity. Your words and blog is a huge rejection of that notion. Keep at it!

  3. Love this! Great words and good reminder to always count your blessings. For me, hooting owls never get old. I always hush anyone around and make the kids run to the nearest door to listen. Also, my kids’ belly laughs. Usually brought on by the previously mentioned AFV. Thanks for sharing Rich!

  4. Hey Rich,
    Fantastic piece of writing. Quite a nice transition from talking about the law of diminishing returns to things that never diminish in value. Here is my list:

    1. People with a positive attitude – I don’t need to explain that, should I.

    2. People with who you can be yourself without any pretensions.

    3. Holding your partner’s hands

    4. Listening to your favorite songs

  5. Hey Rich,
    Fantastic piece of writing. Quite a nice transition from talking about the law of diminishing returns to things that never diminish in value. Here is my list:

    1. People with a positive attitude – I don’t need to explain that, should I.

    2. People with who you can be yourself without any pretensions.

    3. Holding your partner’s hands

    4. Listening to your favorite songs

  6. Love the Blog. From another generation—-what make me the happiest now is getting to spend time with my grandkids and hearing them say “I Love You, Dee Dee”

  7. Rich,
    Finally, I’ve been waiting for you to put all of your thoughts down for us to read–all of the creative and practical ramblings of your mind. Thanks for letting us in.

    My contributions are:

    1. Waterfalls
    2. Flowers
    3. Seeing wildlife
    4. Genuine people
    5. Coffee
    6. My family, including my dog (sometimes).

  8. So happy that you have found an outlet for your creativity and wonderful attitude on life!! As always, I am proud of you in everything that you do!! For me top of my list is seeing you with our children!!

  9. Your first offering was so fabulous….you are a truly gifted man and your family is very lucky to have you and so are we all….Gran

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