Why do people hit a mid life crisis? Why are there so many people in life who just never get to live their life to the fullest? How come so many people live a mediocre life? The answer is surprisingly simple. Very few people actually have the ability to control their own lives. Very few take charge and systematically break down tasks to achieve optimal performance or maximum value. Why does this happen?
Unfortunately, most people live a very passive life. They just go through life doing things they have to. They get sent to school and are pressured by everyone to do well. During their time in school, they will meet a few friends and might play some sports with them. If they have strikingly amazing results at that sport or activity, it’ll reinforce them to continue.
They don’t have any active method or strategy of improving, they just continue to participate passively. Next, they finish school and are pressured into making money because that’s pushed as a socially responsible behavior and it’s reinforced by a lot of factors. Parents calling children lazy, the children wanting money for things, etc. So they just apply to a lot of different places until they land something. After that, they’re pressured into college because it’s very popular and respected among their peers and family. Once they get in college, they usually end up switching majors a few times until they settle for something that’s manageable.
Finally, said person finishes school and moves onto to job searching again in his field. Once they find a job, nothing has really changed. They’re doing the same thing, but just making more money. Their lives haven’t really changed. Their life revolves around work and they try to squeeze in as much entertainment as possible over the weekend with friends until the work week starts again. Whether at a bar or in the office, they might run into a female that shows some interest in them so they are delighted that someone likes them. They hang out with them and eventually develop a relationship.
They get married because that’s what people are suppose to do and then they have kids. Now the process starts all over again by them reinforcing the same values onto their children.
Was there any example above of being in control of your life?
You are NOT in Control of your Life
People like to think they’re in control of their lives because they feel like they’re making decisions on their own. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. People are more often led into passively following popular trends and becoming self appointed guardians of those trends. Think about the language you speak, the music you like and the clothing you wear. Do you think they have the same taste in China as they do in Brazil?
You may think that you are choosing what you like, but the general picture is painted here. We are adaptive creatures and we do it really well. We adapt well to the environment we live in. I’m sure women in the middle east love covering their hair. They’re keeping up with that standard and want to reinforce their own values. Meanwhile in the USA, we might see that as abnormal or an extreme gesture.
So is there really nothing we can do? Are we just robot zombies with no free will? Not quite
Taking back Control of your Life
While it is true that our environment and current culture does heavily influence our behaviors and perceptions, it’s only part of the picture. Unlike other animals, humans have the ability to actively solve problems and create things. The single greatest invention to humanity was the scientific method. It gave us a systematic approach for collecting data and drawing accurate conclusions. Using this methodology, humans have been able to narrow down information and solidify their answers a little more than previously.
Systems are important because it gives us structure and direction. Most people at a young age fall into the habit of just following the flow. Just keep doing the things you like and you’ll get better, work harder and you’ll get a better job, just keep going along with what’s happening to you. The problem is, very few people end up successful that way.
Let me make one thing clear…….Successful people don’t sit there and wait for things to happen to them, they get out there and create opportunities for themselves.
If you want to be successful, you have to break out of the passive habit of just going along for the ride. Take the wheel, pull out the map and map your own route based on traffic information, weather conditions and terrain. You’ve got to ask yourself questions about what you’re doing and if what you’re doing is going to give you the maximum results.
- Is this career path the best way to maximize my earnings while reducing my overall work load?
- Am I just settling for the first girl who is interested in me or am I going to learn the principles and values to build attraction off of?
- Is there a better way to lose weight than eating less? Is there actual hardcore data about the optimal way to be healthy?
- Is there something I need to focus on and practice in my sport/hobby? Do I schedule time to work on my flaws in a mindful way?
- Am I making any long-term investments in myself that will prevent me from having a crisis in the near future?
- Am I progressing towards anything that will advance my lifestyle within the next few years?
These are some examples of questions we should all be asking ourselves. Very few of us ever actually ask ourselves these important questions. We have grown tired of thinking. School makes us think and it sucks. But please, don’t think of this as homework, but as a necessary investment to yourself and those around you who care.
One of the biggest challenges we have to get over is entropy. To learn more about entropy and why it’s so important to know what it is, please see this article by James Clear titled “Entropy: Why Life Always Seems to Get More Complicated“