It’s a cliché but it seems that sometimes it really is better when things don’t come too easily. Working to attain goals seems to be good for the psyche – when things come too easily we stagnate.
The Economist reports on an interesting experiment that appears to illustrate this effect. In birds.
The birds in question (great tits) rise before dawn and sing their little hearts out to attract mates. It is known that those who rise earliest obtain more mates and are better able to defend their territory.
The experimenters suspected that feeding some birds would make them stronger and enable them to rise earlier than their unfed competitors.
The results however showed that the fed birds became lazy and started rising later than those birds that had to find food the hard way.