What a f*cking trip!
Vegas was mental. A night you will never forget and a Colombian cold like no other the day after (confused… look it up). Yosemite was everything you dreamt it would be and Hawaii was nothing short of mind-blowing.
As you board the plane a sadness floods your mind, why? This had just been the greatest month of your life so why the hell are you so sad?
40,000 years ago life was simple.
You were born… well maybe… being dead at birth was pretty common. If you somehow managed to reach adulthood without being eaten alive by a Sabertooth Tiger, succumbing to famine or being trampled to death by a Wooly Mammoth. The remainder of your life would be dedicated to one thing… survival!
Your days would consist of hunting, gathering, reproducing & protecting the young. There was no Netflix. There were no malls. No central heating. No clean water filters. No ovens or stovetops. No doctors & no chance of ordering Uber Eats to your 37th floor apartment.
Life sounds like it was pretty sh*t right?
Why then did our ancestors work so hard day in and day out? How were they able to cope with such harsh living conditions? Why does it seem as if people are sadder now than they might have been 40,000 years ago?
A few reasons come to mind:
1- Our ancestors had strong connections with their communities and family ties were powerful.
2- Expectations were low. The moment our ancestors became conscious of themselves they became acutely aware that they might die that very same day. Food was a blessing and warmth was non-existent.
3- Our ancestors had a purpose! A purpose far greater than themselves or just one lifetime. Our ancestors were charged with the survival of the human race!
Let me say that again… The survival of the Human Race!! Nope there goals and ambitions weren’t to get some bullsh*t pay rise or buy a 400ft yacht and fill it with strippers and cocaine (although that does sound like one hell of a party!). Mate! If you reproduced 40,000 years ago you died a f*cking hero!
It is ludicrous to suggest that human beings were happier 40,000 years ago, although one might argue they were more content with what they had. What I can point out is the growing number of people suffering from anxiety and depression.
You have a house in a fancy neighbourhood, a brand new BMW, a job that pays well over 100K a year and you just booked a trip to Paris. It still isn’t enough, is it? That local farmer you met in India last year had nothing but he seemed so much happier and content than you. Why?
Let’s explore three reasons why it’s never enough & you can decide what needs to change in your life.
‘Work, work, work! Stay busy. Head down. No time to smile… Oh sh*t better post a happy selfie on social media so my image stays strong. Why is this guy looking at me and smiling, what a creep.. Headphones on. Ahhh that’s better. Hmm I feel really sad, I wander how my ex is doing. I hope my sister is happy in London.’
We live in a world dominated by false connection we shy away from conversation because apparently talking to strangers is ‘weird’ nowadays. Instead of smiling at people that walk past us we drop our heads and throw on our headphones.
Instead of having dinner with our best friends we throw on Netflix and order Uber Eats so we can avoid interaction with the outside world. We consider ourselves too busy for connection but are we really that busy or do we just want to appear that way in order to maintain our image?
What are you actually achieving when you are, “So Busy!”
A feeling of belonging and a strong sense of community is key to your happiness (Psychology Today), more happiness results in less of a desire for more & more gratitude for what you have.
Interacting with your strong ties, your family & close friends, daily is proven to increase your day to day happiness but don’t count out weak ties (friends, work colleagues and extended community members) either. Random conversations with people you meet on public transport or a quick yarn with your barista are all proven to help increase your sense of connection to a wider community.
No matter how much we fight it we need each other. Human beings need to feel connected to a community, that sense of belonging will drastically increase your happiness and reduce that constant need for more.
Start simple. Take your headphones off and start smiling at the people you pass on your way to work.
A Related Read - The One Thing we All Want & Need.
If you were kicking it 40,000 years ago you expected very little. If you made it past the ripe old age of 20 then you my friend… you were killing the game! If you have low expectations then it makes sense that you will experience more moments of happiness right?
If you expect to die each day then tomorrow’s sunrise is going to be unbelievably beautiful! If you expect to be starving for the next 5 days then that dead rabbit sitting at the end of your spear is better than sex! Our expectations of life are simply far too high!
We expect that our hard work at university will result in a more fulfilling career. We expect that if we work our asses off chasing our passions then we will be guaranteed success. We expect that more money will mean more happiness. We expect that the more likes and follows we get on social media will result in a stronger sense of self worth. We assume that if we have sex with more random tinder matches we will be happier.
We expect so much and forget to just be pumped with what we have!
Everywhere we look we are bombarded by high expectations; This shirt will make you stand out, this perfume will find you the man of your dreams, this moisturiser will make you ageless… bullsh*t! Your 65, own it!
There is a reason why buddhist monks and Indian holy men are so damn happy and content with life. They have no expectations, if they are breathing then they have already hit the biggest goal of the day.
Expect less and be grateful for what you have. The side effect? You will actually begin to achieve more!
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What is the meaning of it all? Life.. why the bloody hell am I here?
It is a question that we all ask ourselves and is a constant cause for anxiety. In life it is essential to have a good balance of pleasure and purpose (Happiness by Design, Paul Dolan).
A crazy night in Vegas with your best friends, a couple escorts and a mountain of cocaine would be pleasurable for many single men. A fairytale wedding on a sunny summers day surrounded by loving family and friends would be highly pleasurable for many ladies in their late twenties.
Completing an important task in the office would feel purposeful and rewarding. So too would building a well in Africa, allowing children to drink clean water for the first time. Most of us try to fulfil our needs by bouncing between pleasure and purpose but there is another way.
You could combine both in a way that would ensure that you live a life that continuously feels both pleasurable and purposeful. A constant source of happiness. Don’t be naive, you will feel sadness and you will experience deep disappointment. These emotions keep us in check and are essential for our growth and learning.
Find a purpose that is bigger than you! A purpose that brings you pleasure at the same time.
Remember our friends kicking it in their make shift nomadic shelters 40,000 years ago? There purpose was to ensure human survival & it gave them pleasure because… well… they survived another day!
Your purpose doesn’t need to be as lofty as you think. Some of the happiest people I have met meet there grand purpose through the simple act of having children and building a family that has greater opportunities than they did. They die knowing they fulfilled a purpose that is greater than just their life.
To empower people to achieve in life, love & laughter. My purpose is to help others, the more the better and it gives me great satisfaction. On average I work on Massie Bros 40 hours a week; podcasting, writing, photographing and producing. Want to know how much money I earn right now?
I do this because it gives me great pleasure! How the f*ck else could I wake up at 4.45am to write a damn blog!
Your purpose is your own and it is up to you to find what it is that truly sparks you into life. Try new things, find creative outlets that make you smile & test the waters until you find something that clicks.
Dedicate your life to a Purpose that gives you pleasure. A purpose that is much greater than just you. A purpose that contributes.
We put so much pressure on ourselves these days to conform to what is expected of us. We strive so hard to reach goals and objectives that offer no longterm purpose or fulfilment. We aim to earn as much money as possible before we retire and die, but forgo the experiences that make life so damn special.
We barrel through life head first constantly trying to find more but never quite feeling a true sense of fulfilment. It doesn’t have to be that way and the only person stopping you is… well.. YOU!
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Life is Great. Travel is Better.
Paulo & Jacques | Massie Bros.