With every inch of material advancement, we seem to be adding a mile of psychological derangement. Despite our material progress, or perhaps because of it, modernity is producing more-and-more chronic anxiety and mental tension. It is as if our species’ very success pulls us into wasting our lives on the wrong things — makes us forget the simplicity of the good life. Victims of our own success, we are suckered by illusions.
Hypnotised by Hollywood dreams of achievement, we often run after things in the distance that are only mirages. Such that we are chasing and chasing, but never really finding the good life. We search for an oasis, but only find a barren desert that looks the same as where we came from. Are we running faster and faster just to stand still?
But, the good life is perhaps much simpler and more within your grasp than you think. What if it has nothing to do with validating yourself through the achievement of status benchmarks? What if the good life is much more about an experience found in each unfolding moment?
Simplicity of the good life
The pandemic has made me notice and appreciate the simple components of the good life even more:
1) Love someone with all your heart
2) Love something with all your heart (e.g. a craft, skill)
3) Love the process not the destination
The first is self-explanatory and speaks to the depth and beauty of human relationships, so I am not going to dwell on it. Two — loving something with all your heart involves finding a craft, skill or vocation you can throw yourself into wholeheartedly. Something where time just stands still and where you revel in the activity for its own sake. Not for some other achievement that it will give you. Your motivation for doing it, is immersion in the activity itself!
The third component of the good life— focus on the process not the destination, is very related to the second. For, you are much more likely to allow yourself to focus on the process if you love the thing. If you enjoy engaging in it for the hell of it! And, it is such engagement that, perhaps counterintuitively, becomes the basis for developing real skill. Mastery is a by-product of a love of the process!
How you relate
The simplicity of the good life is then very much about the wonder of the unfolding experience. It is not about things “out there” — it is about how you relate to yourself and to the world. It is about the quality of your inner state.
The good life is already within your reach if only you dare to see it.
Harsha is a 1:1 coach and independent thinker based in London. He empowers people to find more clarity, confidence and focus in their lives — to cut through the noise, in a world so full of it. Harsha’s new book, Machine Ego: Tragedy of the Modern Mind, is now available in paperback and Kindle through Amazon.