Do you think we live in a crazy world?
I used to think so. There always seemed to be a constant stream of bad news. From war, to famine, to economic crisis, to environmental catastrophe, the world always seemed to be on the brink of collapse.
Nothing seemed to make much sense and I couldn't see how I fitted in.
I was completely uninspired by the idea that I should go to school, go to college, work until I was 65, then retire and die.
As I've got a little older, a little wiser and with a bit more life experience I've developed more perspective. I can understand why the world appears so crazy and so fucked up, but actually I think the world is a pretty cool place.
Yet a whole generation of young adults are apathetic and feel like they don't fit in. A large part of this stems from the fact that, children are isolated from the adult world for so long. Puberty starts in the early teens but you aren't allowed to actually be an adult until some arbitrary date in your mid-twenties. You are wrapped in cotton wool and kept away from the real world through an extra decade of schooling. You learn about the world from inside a classroom, instead of experiencing it for yourself, learning how it works and learning how to make your own way.
Childhood can be magical. The teenage years can come with a lot of problems but they can also be pretty special as well. The college lifestyle is out of this world awesome. But when the real world comes it hits hard, because it is so unexpected. It freaks people out. I certainly lost my bearings and I know a lot of others who did as well.
The real world is when you realize that you have to make a living to survive and that nothing in life is free. When it comes it feels like the end of your freedom. It's not acutally that bad, delaying it is what makes it worse.
The idea of working hard used to bother me because I felt entitled to an enjoyable and materially comfortable life with minimal effort on my part. Because up until the point I hit the job market it had come with minimal effort.
It's not that I was born with a silver spoon. I come from a middle class family with divorced parents. Comfortable enough, but not rolling in it.
It's the years of schooling and college that insulate young adults from the way the world really works - that you are entitled to nothing and that to get something of value, you have to be able to provide something of value.
At first I didn't have anything of value to give. I, like many, finished my college years with a wonderful academic education but very limited useful skills and a mountain of debt. Staring down the barrel of 40+ years of work made me want to puke. I saw work as an arduous chore that had to be endured, rather than a way for me to contribute to the world.
I went through a phase of romanticized visions of getting back to nature and going and living somewhere in the wilderness, Henry Thoreau style.
Eventually after working hard and realizing it isn't so bad, reading a lot of philosophy and just good old growing up, I learned to feel a lot more comfortable in this crazy world.
While the world has many problems and our generation is inheriting the problems from previous generations, the world isn't actually a bad place. In fact, now that I understand it better and how it works, I quite like it.
These are my tips on how you can live in this crazy world.
Make Peace With The World
The first step in learning to live happily is to make peace with the world. I used to feel burdened by all the world's problems and unhappy that I had been born into an era of history where things seemed to be so tragic.
Don't get me wrong, there are serious problems in the world, but
it's not all doom and gloom. A lot of the negativity is essentially
propaganda, because in the media, fear sells. The world is in fact a
wonderful place with a lot of opportunity where great things are
happening. Focus on the opportunities rather than the problems.
You have no control over where or when you are born. It's a waste of time losing sleep over something that is out of your hands. You are not responsible for the problems of the past, nor is it your responsibility to fix everything.
This is actually a pretty awesome era in history to be living and it's much more enjoyable to be grateful for the good than despondent about the bad.
Learn About How The World Works
I've always been a naturally curious person who wanted to understand how the world works. That's what got me so unhappy in the first place because I bought into all the propaganda about the world being this terrible place perpetually on the edge of a major crisis.
When you learn how the world works and you realize it isn't this
evil terrible place but rather a place where billions of people are
just trying to make a living, get by and enjoy life, things get easier.
Studying history and economics helps you to figure out why the world is the way that it is. Studying business and personal finance helps you make a contribution to the world and to improve your own circumstances. It doesn't necessarily mean formally studying them at college, you just have to pick up a book or read online. Slowly you will figure out why things are the way they are.
Understanding what drives the world, will put you at ease. You won't be so shocked or outraged when bad things happen and if you are ahead of the curve you can protect yourself.
Realize It's Not Your Responsibility To Change The World
Do you have grand dreams of changing the world? Do you feel responsible for changing the world? A desire to make a positive change is awesome. Feeling responsible is a burden.
Do what you can to make a contribution but understand that it's not your responsibility to fix everything. Your own life and your own happiness is the priority.
Whichever direction you want to change things, there are people with different views pulling in the other direction. There is a long history of competing ideas all working to shape the world in their own image. You can take part in that battle and contribute to pushing things in the direction you think is best, but realize that you are but a small cog in a much bigger machine.
This isn't to disempower you. Rather it is to recognize that there are powerful forces of ideas shaping the world. You can particiapte in the shaping of those forces but you can't control them or override them.
You can make a positive change in the world. It might be small or it might be of Gandhi like proportions. But it's not a responsibility and it shouldn't be a burden. You don't have to fulfill this mission before you allow yourself to be happy.
Realize You Don't Have To Wait To Be Happy
I've always wanted to be happy. Who hasn't right? But when I was growing up, I used to feel like I couldn't be happy until all was right in the world. Everything had to be perfect and then I'd be happy. Not just in my own life but everywhere.
How could I be happy when others in the world were suffering?
It's a noble thought but an impossible way to live. The world will never be perfect. You don't do anybody any favors by being miserable. In fact by choosing happiness you actually make things ever so slightly better because there will be one more happy person in the world.
You just have to get on with life and decide to be happy in the present despite all the imperfection. Otherwise you will be waiting for happiness your entire life.
Accept Others And Respect Their Views
You have probably been through that phase of being a newly converted zealot. It doesn't matter what it is, but when you have experienced something life changing and profound you just want to share it with everybody. You know it will change their life the way it changed yours.
The problem is, no one else seems to care.
Other people's seemingly ignorant opinions need not bother you. Everybody is on their own journey of discovery. You can put your ideas out into the world in a peaceful way, and people can pick them up if they want. But there is no need to shove it down their throats.
Other people can think what they think, it's not your problem or your responsibility.
Accept That You Are Entitled To Nothing
You are born into this world naked and you take nothing with you when you die.
The world doesn't owe you a thing.
Your natural productivity is whatever you can build with your hands and your immediate surroundings. Anything else in life you have to earn.
It's a simple concept but incredibly liberating. We are mollycoddled through school when we should be taught to harden up. We are conditioned to disdain manual labour and productive enterprises such as farming and mining in favor of intellectual pursuits that produce nothing.
Understanding this basic concept freed me from being a snotty, self inflated, entitled holder of a college education who was afraid of hard work. It turned me into someone willing to get his hands dirty and put in the hard yards to get what I wanted out of life. I stopped expecting things to fall in my lap and went out and made things happen.
You can either sit back and wait for things to happen to you and complain when the world isn't delivering. Or you can go out and take life by the scruff of the neck and create what you desire.
Focus On Improving Yourself
Once you get over complaining about the world and get over the need to save it, you can start prioritizing yourself.
Start focusing on how to get the most out of life. You may have wasted many years being a grumpy, whining complainer and now you need to shift into becoming a successful, positive and active doer.
Commit to serious personal development. Decide who you want to be and what you want to achieve in life. Then implement the right habits that will get you there.
For me it is diet and fitness, business and investments. I want to be healthy, I want to work hard and make money and I want to grow that money.
You may have different priorities, but whatever they are, stop making excuses and start making them happen.
Imagine What You Would Do If Your Life Was Perfect
Here is a good thought exercise that you can do on a regular basis. Imagine your life if the world were perfectly the way you wanted it, and you had an unlimited amount of time and money. Daydream about what you would do and how you would spend your days.
Then make sure that you prioritize those things in your life. You don't have to wait for a perfect world. You can do those things right now that make you happy.
For me these are things like:
- Enjoying good food.
- Exercising and playing sport.
- Traveling and exploring new places.
- Spending quality time with friends and family.
- Spending time with my significant other and building our relationship.
Love Deeply Regardless Of Your Circumstances
The last item on this list is one of the most important. Regardless of how crazy you think the world is, or what your personal circumstances are, love is always there.
Humans have been pairing up since the beginning of time. In times of prosperity and times and famine, in times of war and in times of peace, in times of joy and in times of sadness, people have dedicated their lives to one another because of love.
It is one of life's greatest and simplest of pleasures. You need nothing else to experience love other than the two of you.
No matter where you are in the world or the circumstances you live in, this precious and beautiful human experience is available to you.
It is a constant that you can hold onto in times of turbulence.
The nature of love is that it is imperfect. Bring two imperfect people together and that is the inevitable result.
There is no perfect woman for you. Instead you have to find a woman who is mostly perfect for you and then work hard on the rest of it. Mark Manson calls this the 85% perfect girl. It's the closest you will ever get, the last 15% of perfection is created in the space between you.
This liberates you from the idea that you have to keep trading up to a better girl and allows you to get on with the hard but rewarding job of loving another human being.
You can't wait for the world to be perfect, your life to be perfect or for the perfect person to arrive before you start to love. You just have to start loving and create your own version of perfection as you go.
We live in what can be a crazy world at times. There is plenty to dislike about it, but also there is plenty to get excited about.
If you can make peace with the world, you take a huge burden off your shoulders and you give yourself permission to live with your happiness in mind.
You can't wait for the world to be perfect before you start enjoying life. You can't wait for your circumstances to be perfect before you start enjoying life. You can't wait for the perfect girl before you start enjoying life. You just have to start enjoying and making the most out of life right now.
When you stop trying to change everybody else and start worrying about changing yourself, suddenly it becomes very possible to live the life of your dreams.
- How To Take Responsibility For Your Life
- A Success Mindset And Badass Attitude Affect All Areas Of Life
- How To Become A Man In The Modern World
- Stop Making Excuses For Yourself