At the root of this kind of willful ignorance, I think, is a dissatisfaction with the mundane. To a man who grew up watching movies and reading books about martial artists who perform superhuman feats, conquer evil forces, and achieve near-clairvoyant states of mind, the prospect of simply training for health and happiness does seem a little underwhelming.
But health and happiness are not small things. And many, many people miss out on health and happiness reaching for other things they consider greater, more noble, or more important.
I was listening to a book on tape last night (Pema Chodron, "From Fear to Fearlessness") -- re-listening, rather, it's one I play a lot, particularly this section where Pema talks about how people can become addicted to "special states of mind", and get caught in the trap of wanting every day to be chock-full of clarity and epiphanies and peak moments and breakthroughs...to be nothing but various kinds of awesome. It seems to me that a lot of martial arts newbies go through a form of that. You know the ones I mean: not the ones who never return after a first class, but the wildly enthusiastic converts who want to eat drink breathe this new practice of theirs, because every day is bringing them something new and exciting. And they want it to stay like that...maybe they're the ones who have the greatest need to believe that the transcendental experience is out there. But the day to day things are, as you say, not exactly small. They're ordinary, but an ordinary blessing is a blessing nonetheless.