“You Shouldn’t Believe Everything People Tell You” – Abraham Lincoln
No-one really knows what’s best for you – and most don’t care either. Make your own best guess to what will provide you long-term happiness.
How so? Here’s the long explanation;
The world is constantly speeding up faster and faster.
Manual labor jobs are being automatized and/or replaced by robots, IT-work is being outsourced to low-cost developing countries, retail stores have to slim down or cut costs to compete with the ever-growing array of e-commerce stores like amazon.com, alibaba.com and many more to come.
The world isn’t going to be the same place as it has always been.
It’s going fast and it’s going hard, leaving many behind.
I don’t think anybody really knows and we’re all just making our most educated guess for the future (me included)
So today I stopped and wondered if we’re going in the right direction and what you can do to be more prepared for what’s coming in order to maximize life quality.
From what I’ve seen we’re not doing that great overall;
- Rising rates of obesity & other related health issues
- Rising unemployment rates
- Economic inequality
- Lack of direction/meaning resulting in escapism-type behaviors (alcohol, video games, partying, tv, fastfood, travel …) (in excessive quantities off course)
Doesn’t sound all that great, right? Life quality could be (a lot?) better IMO.
To say my generation is lost, might be an overstatement, but not that far from the truth in my eyes. I’ve seen an absence of firm identity in many peers, a misguided direction in adults and policies, leading to destructive behavior in the long-term.
And frankly? there’s not really much being done about it.
I’ve found it troublesome.
Anyway, we can go the hippy tree-hugging route of wanting to change the world and its policy…
but on second thought, let’s not.
The point I’m going to be addressing in this post will be our un-adapted education model for this “new” future and what you
can “should” be doing/focusing on in preparation.
Where are we going at the moment?
The focus we’re having at the moment (on a big scale) is to increase the welfare of our individual countries.
Welfare, mmm… Sounds great right?
If that’s our long-term focus how come we’re not seeing the desired results? The life quality we all are looking for?
I believe it’s in the way we measure it.
At the moment we’re measuring the welfare of a country in GDP (gross domestic product).
(Not to be confused with G4P)
Basically this is just a measuring stick for the overall economy of a country.
By focusing on this GDP as measuring stick for “welfare” – as a result, government policy is directed towards increasing this value.
Cual es el problema with this?
“When we take money as the sole indicator for progress all our actions will be geared towards that”
IMO, the GDP is a lousy indicator for welfare. After your basic needs have been taken care off (security, food, shelter, …) it doesn’t add any relative change anymore to life quality.
And in our current modernized, westernized, societies; do we have a serious lack in these basic needs?
I – for the most part – believe not and therefore our focus should be re-directed to a better measurement stick for welfare (at least for more developed countries)
A study done by Daniel Kahneman concluded that “high income improves evaluation of life but not emotional well-being beyond a certain point”
“When plotted against log income, life evaluation rises steadily. Emotional well-being also rises with log income, but there is no further progress beyond an annual income of ~$75,000.
Low income exacerbates the emotional pain associated with such misfortunes as divorce, ill health, and being alone.
We conclude that high income buys life satisfaction but not happiness, and that low income is associated both with low life evaluation and low emotional well-being.”
Beyond the overall point of 75 000$/year (6250$ month) we don’t see an increase in emotional well-being nor life evaluation .
The point I’m trying to make in this part is this; Beyond the point that our basic needs are provided for, we’re not seeing a rise in life satisfaction for increased income (Easterlin Paradox).
Measuring our “welfare” based on GDP is therefore inaccurate or even irrelevant.
The story of the Mexican fisher is a great illustration of the vanity of mere money-seeking in the pursuit of higher life quality.
So, what should we measure welfare in?
Where should we be going?
I’ve recently been introduced to a concept called the GNH ( Gross National Happiness) which measures progress of a country based on an expanded array of metrics instead of solely relying on increasing the GDP
(It’s about the concept not the actual content of the video ;))
By including additional different qualitative and quantitative metrics like consumer debt, purchasing power, health, pollution, surveys of social contentment and so-on, we’re able to change our focus (and in turn change our policies) to get an actual rise in life quality .
But that’s mostly just speculation.
Point being; Our focus is off which makes our policy off and the biggest problem I’ve seen with this is in our education.
We’re preparing our youth for a future in which they can work and increase the GDP (like we’ve always been doing), since our whole policy revolves around that.
It used to be somewhat relevant for its previous function; creating order-taking, obedient workers to accommodate the industrial revolution.
As Alvin Toffler put it;
Built on the factory model, mass education taught basic reading,
writing, and arithmetic, a bit of history and other subjects. This was the “overt curriculum.”
But beneath it lay an invisible or “covert curriculum” that was far more basic.
It consisted—and still does in most industrial nations—of three courses: one in punctuality, one in obedience, and
one in rote, repetitive work. Factory labor demanded workers who showed up on time, especially assembly-line hands. It demanded workers who would take orders from a management hierarchy without questioning.
And it demanded men and women prepared to slave away at machines or in offices, performing brutally repetitious
But now? With the current trends it has become obsolete for the future (more so than ever)
So my conclusion of our current policy and adjacent educational system?
- It is NOT focused on your individual happiness/life quality (never been either)
- It is NOT focused on your long-term economic stability (we no longer need “obedient workers” nor will they thrive economically)
I believe a drastic change is needed in the way we start to think about our own life in the future.
First up: Take more responsible choices for your own life quality instead of following covert curriculum from people who – frankly – don’t care all that much about you.
Don’t fall for the trap that people who are older and “more experienced” than you know what’s best for your life. Most of the time they don’t have a clue either.
Second: Don’t slave away the best years of your life to fulfill obsolete policies in undersized cubicles. Make your own financial judgments for long-term happiness. Having a ” secure job” is a thing of the past.
(Although for many this has become a key structural element in their life – a conditioned psychological “need”)
“For many people, a job is crucial psychologically, over and above the paycheck. By making clear demands on their time and energy, it provides an element of structure around which the rest of their lives can be organized” – Alvin Toffler
MIND YOUR OWN DAMN BUSINESS!
How To Mind Your Own Business And Be Happy
School “prepares” youth for a future that won’t exist anymore at the speed at which things are going.
Mind your own business by meeting the requirements for your own happiness.
From what I’ve read so far I conclude there are five main pillars for long-term happiness you should be striving for.
- Mindset (High self-esteem and a positive outlook in life)
- Basic Needs (A baseline of health, wealth & social life)
- Meaning (Making positive impact on others trough work or communication)
- Flow (An activity you can lose yourself in, a “passion”)
- Growth (Consecutive setting and achieving of personal goals)
Make your best educated guess to what roads will lead you to those destinations. Here’s how I am tackling/have tackled each;
We shape our life by the paradigms we choose to look trough.
By persistently visualizing the person you want to become and conditioning your desired beliefs, you’ll rewire the default state of your brain and – over time – become the person you’ve envisioned.
2) Basic Needs
Get a baseline of your essential needs and steadily maintain each to ensure you can focus on more important things.
Everyone has different standards for what they define as “healthy”. I’d say: experiment and build on your own conclusions. Achieve a baseline you see as acceptable (meaning you aren’t in a state of constant pain/malfunctioning because of health issues)
I do however believe that my post on the 6 laws of a healthy life will help any individual tremendously and would be a great guideline for anyone looking to get started,
Like I already stated above: Excess money does not make you happier but a shortage does buy you unhappiness. I believe everyone should have a baseline of wealth that provides them financial independence.
We’re living in a continuously growing information economy (and even attention economy). The person who is knowledgeable AND stands out is capable of creating for himself opportunities to generate vast amounts of wealth.
Let’s face it: A job where you trade your time for money is never going to make you even remotely free (financial independent). I believe you should find/create an opportunity where you can start getting paid for the results of your work and control all the variables (platform, working hours, pricing, conversion, …) yourself.
- First up: Find your natural strengths and see how you can build upon them to create value for others – in a self-controlled setting where you are being paid for your results.
- Secondly: Don’t spend the income you make on material possessions until you’ve built a revenue generating asset column (businesses, brands, cash flows, notes, intellectual properties, rental services, licenses, real estate, inventions, …) that can support your living expenses until these regular incomes have outgrown your monthly expenses and you’ve become financially independent. To many people simply increase their expenses when their income rises, leading to an endless loop.
Find a baseline of social contact that will make you stop feeling lonely. This is defined as; “a quantitative and/or qualitative lack of social contact”
I believe this baseline is different for everyone. Some people need very little whilst others need it daily. I can go without people for quite a while but I’ve found that 2-3 close friends with whom I meet up weekly add a lot more substance to my life.
Psychology has found that the two most important factors to maintain friendships are openness (talking about stuff that actually matters vs. superficial crap – duh) and engagement (putting in the effort to meet-up – showing you actually care to maintain the relationship)
If you want the friendship in your life, be sure to abide by these two simple rules.
For your love life I believe every man would benefit greatly from reading “The way of the superior man” and watching any video by Owen Cook. After you’ve become better at the skill of relating with and attracting women, then settle for one cute, sexy, funny, whatever girl that can satisfy your needs and go from there.
I don’t think it’s a good idea to waste your time endlessly chasing tail. When you meet a “keeper”, don’t let your penis mess up what could be a great relationship.
However – If you have a high sex drive and you’re tempted to have sex with other women, just tell her that you want to keep seeing/dating other women and be clear about your mutual expectations. Biologically it’s perfectly normal for a man to desire more than one woman (procreation instinct). Some women are cool with this, some are not.
Just make it clear from the start and DON’T make promises you won’t be able to keep. Hold true to character at all times.
Meaning in your life can be found by making positive impact on others trough work you do. (Or by reading my post on finding purpose in life ;))
Ask yourself the following: What do you consider to be the most valuable thing you have to offer the world? What’s your “gift”?
Not to get whole mellow in this post – but it does make your life a whole lot more worthwhile when you know you’re making a dent in the world, leaving somewhat of a mark at least.
For me at the moment I derive meaning in my life from maintaining this blog and writing about things I believe are important to improve my & your life quality. The same thing I’m trying to communicate to others who engage in escapism-type behaviors.
We all have our unique activities in which we can “lose ourself”. The point in which we are totally immersed in the task at hand and where we lose track of time. Our “passions” so to speak.
From these moments we derive a high sense of satisfaction and emotional well-being.
There are many “follow-your-passion-guru’s” out there that say you should try to make money by doing what you love, I think it’s horrible advice. People pay for having their (perceived) needs satisfied, not what you love to do.
Get the basic financial independence in check like I talked about and THEN focus on what you find meaningful (IF you’re lucky you can combine both – great. But make the financial independence your main objective first and your meaningful activity your part-time hobby)
Now you have your roots deeply planted in the character ethic, you’ve established a positive outlook on life, your basic needs have been taken care off, you’ve found meaningful work to contribute to the world and you spend a lot of time indulging in your passion(s).
Now you’re pretty much left with only one thing to be happy; Keep growing!
Meaning goal setting in all areas of life.
Keep the story of the beggar’s bowl in your mind; human desire is endless, meaning you’ll never “get there”. Happiness isn’t measured in absolutes but relatively – moment to moment progression over time is what’ll provide you long-term happiness.
(although I believe you need the baseline described above in which you aren’t constantly experiencing emotional/physical pain)
The only way to measure relative progression is by continuous growth.
Anyway, that’s the way I’m approaching my life at the moment, but you might opt for different turns in the road..
The point I’m trying to make is this:
Fill in the blanks to meet the five requirements for your long-term happiness. It’ll make you feel more responsible for your circumstances instead of complaining why the world is not devoting itself to making you happy.
As you go along, adjust and improve your direction by self-education. It allows you to “stand on the shoulders of giants” by learning from the mistakes of others.
I don’t think anyone really knows what they’re doing with their life but impose their confused truths on others to affirm what’s working for them (and prove where you – clearly – are going wrong)
Mind your own business I’d say..;
- Global focus – and therefore policy – is misdirected, leading to lower life quality in the long-term. Don’t rely on what others tell you to provide a stable future, they don’t really care.
- Mind your own business by meeting the long-term requirements of happiness;
- Mindset (high self esteem + positive outlook)
- Basic Needs (baseline of health, wealth & social)
- Meaning (find meaningful work to provide value for others)
- Flow (find an activity in which you can lose yourself)
- Growth (consecutive achievement of personal goals)
- Use self-education to adjust your direction, become a polymath
Which Of The Five Pillars Are You Struggling With The Most?