Have you ever noticed that people do stupid things? Of course you have; we’ve all seen it… and been active participants ourselves, from time to time.
How do we sort through the chaos of life to find good decisions? How do we get through the mess of constant OPINION that is trying to influence us in very negative ways?
I think about our fixation on image over fitness/health. It seems like health is often an afterthought… but looking good — now that’s the most worthy aspiration of your life. This perception doesn’t seem to be helping us make better decisions.
I also think about people who don’t go to college when they’re done with high school. Now, I realize some people aren’t college-types (and I hope we will eventually fix some things about the way we work to help balance this out). But I personally know quite a few adults who are now back in school trying to get their bachelor’s degrees while balancing 4.5 kids and a full-time job. This is really, really hard. The fact is that the baseline requirements for jobs has been raised. Unless we want to work at the mall or sell coffee for the rest of our life, chances are good we will need a degree. It’s just the way the world works now.
It seems our “bad” decisions are often tied to the fact that they are EASY. It’s much easier to get cosmetic surgery than go to the gym six days a week. It’s easier not to worry about how to find a boatload of money to pay for a good college. It’s easier to stay living at home in the comfortable bedroom you’ve always slept in, to not pay for rent, insurance, food, or cars. It’s easier to go to keep doing whatever we’re doing than to take a chance on the unknown.
But easy won’t get us where we want to go.
SIMPLE, on the other hand — now, there’s something that can help us.
There’s a big difference between easy and simple. A simple life isn’t the easiest — at least at first. In the past year, I’ve discovered a program to help me organize my finances and another program to help me get fit. Are these things easy? Holy crap, no. But as I’ve slowly and painfully applied myself to these programs, I’ve noticed that the structures are creating a simpler life for me. As counterintuitive as it seems, discipline really does create freedom. I now don’t worry as much about money, and I don’t worry as much about image, because I feel better about myself in both of these areas.
Thinking ahead requires a lot of work, so it’s often not easy (maybe that goes without saying). But if we aspire to live simply and peacefully, it’s worth all the effort in the world.
UPDATE [7-29-12]: Check out this incredible infographic on the amount of money spent on plastic surgery over the last 15 years.
Damn good post.