- September 16, 2020
I bet sometimes you wonder if self-improvement is worth listening to at all, don’t you?
I make no bones about the fact that the vast majority of people will never escape societal prison, even though the prison is almost entirely psychological.
You get hit on two fronts.
First, you have to deal with what society expects from you — the institutions, the media, employers, your family, friends, everything. Alain De Botton described the way the ethos of society permeates in the most perfect way possible. He calls it a “colourless, odourless gas.”
Then, you have to deal with what you expect from you. In many ways, you’re your own worst enemy. The tension between who you currently are and who you know you should be drives you nuts, so you find different ways to deal with this. You can cope and distract or you can try to alleviate that tension with self-improvement. Both involve pain, but one leads to the outcome you want.
So what the hell do you have to do to just do it?
That’s what all self-help boils down to anyway. I’ve said everything there is to say about the subject several dozen times simply because the punchline is most difficult to pull-off.
Put aside your short term feelings to reach your long-term goals and you’ll reach those goals.
The key to delayed gratification is being able to fully see and embrace the rewards before you get them and fully see and embrace the downsides of your stagnation if you fail to change.
This, plus looking around at the general landscape of what you see in society to motivate you to act differently.
Let’s start with the state of society and end with taking a look at what role you want to play in it.
“The masses” are done for and you don’t want to be a part of them
There was a time when being part of the masses might have been the better move. If you could support your entire family on a single income from a labour job, have a healthy retirement with a pension, own a car or two, go on vacation a couple of times a year, and not have to worry all that much, settling wouldn’t be a bad option.
But that’s just not the way things are anymore. I’m not going to dive into a deep economic discussion right now, but being average in today’s society is a losing proposition.
Look at what’s going on right now. Who got caught flat-footed? The average person or the adaptable types who’ve been focusing on things like self-improvement, business, tech, saving up for a rainy day, etc? Exactly.
This isn’t the last time it’s going to happen. And every time something like this happens, the gaps will widen, both circumstantially and mentally. What you see going on right now, especially the outrage is the product of the combination of uncertainty, aimlessness, and shrinking prospects for the average person.
Let me be blunt here. You have no other good option than to save yourself. Politicians won’t save you, they’ll just make things worse — both sides — trust me. I’m not saying living an average life is some tragedy. Not at all. But just know you’re in a position to get caught flat-footed again, and again, and again, and again.
Unless you have the skills, autonomy, and flexibility to be able to handle upcoming shifts, there can come a point where you will lose out big. I’m not saying this to scare you, but to be brutally honest.
Psychologically, things are getting worse for the average person in society, too. The veil is getting lifted and more and more people are starting to understand that no one is coming to save them, that Utopia won’t happen, and that the life they built based on the promises society made to them is a lie.
Perfect example: I saw this video of a woman who talked about the fact that she paid $120,000 on her student loans, only to make a small dent in the principal. I saw her brain break. Maybe her soul, too.
Quite the motivational talk so far, huh?
Pain is motivating.
When you experience pain, usually it’s a signal that something is wrong. The pain in society is a signal to each individual to act, but unfortunately, most people will take the exact wrong take away from what’s happening. They’ll dig their heels in even further, fall deeper into their religious need for a saviour, and move closer to a nihilistic attitude about life.
You don’t want to be a part of this society.
You don’t want to be on this side of the equation, this side of the gap.
You want to be free.
How to find the motivation to be free and escape
You know I’m right. In your bones, you know I’m right.
But are you going to do anything about it?
To find the motivation to change, learn how to see far in the future. What is your like going to look like if you keep bullshitting yourself? What will it look like if you never start that business, switch careers, work on your body, foster those relationships?
You’ll end up in this massive bind and a deep feeling of stuckness. Maybe I’m being dramatic but it’s obvious to see. Far and few are the people who wake up and look forward to the majority of the things they get to do that day.
Again, you won’t necessarily be sad and depressed or anything like that, you’ll just get to live in limbo for the rest of your life. I feel like living in limbo can be worse. You keep thinking you’re going to change and you never do, just having to sit with that until you die.
Don’t live in limbo.
Do the thing.
To do the thing, you just have to understand that most worthwhile pursuits happen in a series of more or less predictable steps. Unless you are trying to conduct literal rocket science, you can pull off basically anything given consistency, time, and yes, luck.
The thing about luck? The first two items I mentioned increase your odds of getting lucky. The more you try things, the higher your odds one of those things will work.
Think to yourself, are you so lacking in talent and motivation that you can’t get your dream to fly? Really?
Are you going to let these doubts and figments of your imagination sack your entire future? Really?
The good news? Once you build a real awareness of how much BS is in the societal narrative and combine it with just enough motivation to get that ‘escape velocity’ you need to make your way out of the rat race, you’re pretty much all the way there.
I’ll write for as long as it takes for you to understand that. Once you do, success is a foregone conclusion.
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