Why Life is Meant to Be Enjoyed

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Trying to make sense of the world can be difficult, especially when you realize how backwards people’s priorities are.

If you live and breathe in Western culture, I promise that you are being subjected to a socially constructed myth that you’re either “working and paying your dues”, or you’re “being lazy”. There’s no in-between. Enjoyment is greedy, work is good.

When you start to “wake up out of the Matrix”, it becomes apparent that negativity, nihilism, and mental health disorders are the predominant driving forces behind many of the culturally accepted norms, at least in the United States.

The reason so many people in the American workforce are unhappy is because they are being told a lie: getting ahead, scaling the ladder, or making more money are supposed to make you happy.

But this is not true. Any culture with an ounce of wisdom will tell you that what makes you happy are: connections with other people, companionship, new experiences, and discovering yourself. This is why I’ve noticed other, much older countries are more “people oriented” versus being simply career minded.

Americans often assume that other countries, with their midday siestas, month-long vacations and short work-days are therefore lazy and ineffective. Well…

That’s wrong. Data by the World Economic Forum suggests less work-centric European countries are as productive / more productive than Americans.

A Bad Work Philosophy Breeds Artificial Selves

If America is far from the most productive country, yet we work the most, what does this say about ourselves?

For one thing, it indicates people are not enjoying their lives. In place of the things we really need, we’re told status, consumerism, and pleasing our superiors is the gateway to happiness. The importance of marriage and relationships are also reinforced; the remnants of the so-called “nuclear family”, but obviously when unhappy people marry it leads to unhappy marriages, hence our high divorce rates.

People also become less authentic by trying to live up to society’s standards. This is difficult to describe, but you have to travel to distant countries to understand what I mean. Insecurities about things like status or popularity makes a lot of people put on fake fronts in desperate attempts to obtain approval and affection.

The Alternative: Enjoying Life

Fortunately, there is a solution: simply shift priorities. Do the unthinkable and put “getting ahead” and climbing your individual or corporate career ladders on the back-burner. Prioritize meeting people and enjoying life.

If you have a million responsibilities, start mercilessly cutting out anything that’s just extra baggage. Make eliminating stress a much greater priority in your life.

If you work two jobs to sustain your lifestyle, consider what material goods you can give up to cut your work week from 80 hours down to 40 hours.

Find ways to supplement your income and turn your full-time job into a part-time. Spend the rest of your extra hours taking dance classes, cooking food, throwing dinner parties, going out, or just relaxing in nature.

(I highly suggest to “ground” yourself in nature as often as you can; watch what an amazing effect it has on your health and sense of balance in the world).

The reason I know that life is meant to be enjoyed is because it’s what our biology screams at us; and yet we ignore it. Stress and its related hormones drastically damage our health and reduce our life expectancies. This is actually evolution hitting us over the head and yelling, “What are you doing?!”. A high stress, high anxiety life makes you more susceptible to heart disease, cancer and other big killers.

Silly Fears

Finally, a very important point to make is that we become scared that making lifestyle / happiness / low stress a priority over, say, climbing a corporate ladder or working more, is that you’ll end up a “bum”, you won’t have enough saved for “retirement”, maybe your friends will think you’re a loser.

Nope. By leading a more relaxed lifestyle, your performance will go up. Happiness = greater performance. You’re more likely to become a very successful person by cutting the anxiety out of your life, and giving yourself more space for your imagination to flourish into new ideas.

Try it out, and let me know what happens.

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Comments

  1. Really good stuff Cyrus! Now, this is not only American mentality. People work as slaves in other countries too.
    I have noticed that Spain is horrible. People live in scarcity- after all there are no jobs. This is why they turn into slaves. “Por lo menos tengo trabajo- at least I have a job, A job, wow, A job!!! that’s my tag and my label, I am someone!!!”.
    What’s even worse, they have no respect for those who have chosen to follow their passion and to be self-employed or to start their companies.
    I have even heard some people saying: oh you are not working?
    Just because I am working from home and I have time for my hobbies and personal development, I was very often being said that I was not working. (WTF?)
    Which is funny, as to get where I am, I had to work +10 hrs a day. It was fun, I was following my passion and I also have something that works for me now.
    I think that it’s very inspiring what you are doing.
    I have recently written a blog post with a similar message, let me know what you think:

    http://www.holisticwellnessproject.com/blog/coaching/holistic-success/

    I have just subscribed to this blog and I would like to say thanks for the ebook!

  2. Hey Marta, that’s funny — well old fashioned cultures may clash with the idea of working online or especially making passive income from doing stuff we do (like our publishing work). Work must = breaking rocks with pickaxes. It’s just a 19th and 20th century way of looking at the world that still persists.

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