Typically the term overindulging has negative connotations. It’s too much food or too much drink. Too many trips to the all-you-can-eat buffet. Overindulging in this fashion leads to expanding your waistline and fattening your physique.
If you overindulge a child you risk spoiling them. Many blame overindulging helicopter-parents for the entitled attitudes of millennials in the modern workplace. But I think there are positive aspects to overindulgence (if you’ll indulge me for a moment…)
Can you overindulge a client with customer service so much that she can never be lured away by a competitor? Anticipating needs (a skill which gets better the better you know someone) is a way to spoil a customer by a means too overlooked by the inward focus of most companies.
Can you overindulge a child’s hunger for knowledge to the point of intellectual gluttony? Feed a young mind and get them used to exploring concepts and asking questions to which they are empowered to find their own answers, and you will soon have them taking ever bigger intellectual bites of the fruit from the tree of knowledge.
Can you overindulge in the creative process so that you reach the limits of known concepts? Einstein famously attributes the breakthrough in his theory of relativity happening when he indulged himself in a bit of daydreaming, and pictured himself chasing a beam of light. All standard reasoning and equations left his work stalled. It was until he made a few more trips to his mental buffet did the revelation occur.
It is interesting to note that most people don’t mind finding an excuse to pamper themselves, but think it’s bad to indulge others. Etymologically speaking, pamper is actually derived from Middle Dutch/West Flemish words in the late 14 century which meant “to cram with food“, while indulge came into use earlier in the century and meant “to grant as favor“.
Do yourself a favor and spend a little time overindulging the people in your life in the areas that make sense.
The results could expand your mind and fatten your wallet.