I think we intuitively understand that the grass is always greener. But we do not fully appreciate how that which is forbidden, or slightly out of reach, plays into this.
Perhaps it is easier to see in children than in ourselves?
For a child does not want a toy until their sibling has it. And in this same way, a certain brand of SUV is not lusted for until it becomes a status symbol for a certain group.
I wish I could remember where, but I heard a music promoter say that his biggest goal was to get parents to hate what his bands were doing.
Tell a 16-year-old you can listen to any music but X. And, of course, that’s what they are going to do.
Understand: Contentment, where you are, is the goal.
One Virginia-based study nicely captured the terrible twos style among boys who averaged twenty-four months in age. The boys accompanied their mothers into a room containing two equally attractive toys. The toys were always arranged so that one stood next to a transparent Plexiglas barrier and the other stood behind the barrier. For some of the boys, the Plexiglas sheet was only a foot tall—forming no real barrier to the toy behind, since the boys could easily reach over the top. For the other boys, however, the Plexiglas was two feet tall, effectively blocking the boys’ access to one toy unless they went around the barrier. The researchers wanted to see how quickly the toddlers would make contact with the toys under these conditions. Their findings were clear. When the barrier was too small to restrict access to the toy behind it, the boys showed no special preference for either of the toys; on the average, the toy next to the barrier was touched just as quickly as the one behind. But when the barrier was big enough to be a true obstacle, the boys went directly to the obstructed toy, making contact with it three times faster than with the unobstructed toy. In all, the boys in this study demonstrated the classic terrible twos’ response to a limitation of their freedom: outright defiance.
-Robert Cialdini, Influence