On the mundane aspects of life
August 1st 2022 on Dušan's blog
Fame, fortune, success, achievements... If you don't find those attractive and desirable there must be something wrong with you. The pursuit of happiness is our biggest inalienable right after all. But who defines what happiness is? Or more importantly, who decides that happiness is to be associated with the aforementioned things?
Everyone's made out to be a big shot. And, of course, the people who don't make it didn't try hard enough. This obsession with the extraordinary puts a lot of pressure onto people who might as well be well adjusted in the mundane. I am one of those people and, at least this time, I'll play Devil's advocate for the rest of us.
The ordinary is not to be feared, but indulged
There's beauty in the regular. For what one sees as boring and uninspired, the other finds solace and peace in. In fact I'd argue that the very insistence on the contrary detracts from the experience. People become so single minded on achieving their goals in life that they seldom pause to actually live it. Our culture is totally to blame for this. It puts way too much emphasis on the traditional interpretation of success. This is not to say that pursuing success is bad in of itself, but rather that too much focus on it leads to feelings of inadequacy and a seeming lack of purpose.
The solution? Pause, reflect, take time to truly appreciate the painfully short experience that is life. If you're like me, you're not inclined to place a lot of value on the extraordinary. Despite what you've probably been told, this feeling is totally normal. To illustrate my point, here's an incomplete list of completely ordinary things that enrich my life on a daily basis.
- Daily rituals like drinking coffee or reading the news.
- Going out to the same coffee shop with friends to chat.
- Watching my favourite TV shows and movies.
- Reading an awesome book.
- Writing software.
- Learning about things I find interesting.
- Spending time with family.
- Going to work every weekday.
These things are invaluable to my well-being. No amount of success and fame could ever replace them, yet they're just about the most mundane and universal things you could imagine. Indulgence in these daily activities is my definition of happiness. It is thus not to be feared or avoided.
Hustling is the reason for your dissatisfaction
As you can tell there's been no shortage of criticism towards hustle culture on my part. As mentioned, it usually leads to feelings of inferiority and inadequacy. But why is it so? Because, my dear reader, hustle culture is nothing more than a sham. It's the fatal flaw of thinking that you just need to try hard enough to find success and wealth. When these endeavours almost invariably fail, a person is overcome with feelings of guilt and dissatisfaction. It's a way to shift the blame to the individual. It's a flaw on our part too. It's the flaw of letting others define what constitutes success in the first place.
Let me reassure you, there's nothing wrong with who you already are and it's okay to find purpose and meaning in just that alone. The desire for progress, while not bad in of itself, should come from your own mind instead of some other impersonal entity. If there is something that, in your own opinion, warrants a change, so be it, but let no other coerce you into change against your own will.