Living in a modern “technologically advanced” world we enjoy benefits people living even 50 years ago could not imagine but we have sacrificed our peace of mind along the way. From buying clothes online to simply sending a tweet about what we had for dinner. We are through the power of the Internet, more connected now than humans have ever been in the past. But that is only one part of the story. While most of us agree that this infinite connection to people and information is a good thing. It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have its negatives.
Face to face connection has rapidly decreased, privacy concerns and cyber-bullying have become real issues and digital experiences have numbed our senses to what the real world has to offer. And believe it or not, all of that I have mentioned so far is just about the Internet. When it comes to the entire “modern life” package this is just the tip of this deceptive iceberg.
We are living in uncharted territory. Never in history before has the world moved so quickly. Everything is replaceable, nothing is sacred and it’s all about “what’s next.” Before you are can even enjoy something you buy, its next version is released. Polka dot shirts could be all the rage in December and then next month in January you could be made fun of for wearing the same thing. We have twisted our lives into a constant race and this phenomenon has gotten so extreme, that so much so even relationships are not sacred anymore.
Compared to the past when most people would have one to a maximum of two marital relationships. It is normal for a person living today to have 7 or even 8 partners in their lives because literally “everything” has become replaceable. 50 or so years ago if you were divorced or you took part in “extracurricular activities” outside of marriage you weren’t considered a good match and you would have a tough time getting into a new relationship. But now you could have been with 5, 6 people before and it wouldn’t hurt your chances at all in finding someone new. Rather in some cases, this would even help you, as having “experience” is becoming more desirable.
We have all become addicts and the consumption of “everything” has become our drug.
Our lives have become stuck in this rat’s race and rather than having a larger purpose to life most of us have embraced this endless race to have more. We see singers and rappers throwing money and having new partners every week and we begin to think that this is the purpose of life. Billionaires buying luxury yachts for hundreds of millions of dollars and we make these things into our goals. Our friends buying new products and devices and we mortgage our futures to have them. We think we’re getting closer to our goal of becoming happy but the faster we run the further away it gets.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating becoming an apathetic person. Many of the articles I have written are about becoming successful and becoming wealthy. But my main concern is your purpose. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be wealthy. I personally feel that money is a great motivator and I urge everybody to try his or her best to become as prosperous they can. But it all comes down to, are you doing it for the right reasons?
Don’t make it your goal to become rich just for the sake of being rich. Don’t become rich so you can consume better things at a faster pace (what the consumerist culture promotes). But make it your goal to become rich so you can positively affect your personal life. That you can strengthen your bond between your family and friends and that you can use your money to remove financial constraints that were stopping you from meeting and sharing time with them. And at an even higher rank make it your goal to help those in need. Rather than consuming designer shirts for thousands of dollars make it your goal to clothe the poor and feed the hungry.
Once again, please do not think I’m advocating 100% “consumer celibacy”. You can and should buy things that make you happy. If you can afford a brand new Ferrari and really want one, you should buy it. Just don’t make consumption the only goal. As long as you can keep a good balance and make your purpose bigger than just yourself, you will be okay.
Now with that quick tangent about success, I want to get back to the issue we were talking about. The reason why we feel so empty despite having so much is that we’re always mentally moving to the next big thing. We might have the latest cell phone in our pockets but fixate our attention to the new model as soon as it comes out. This essentially makes our appreciation for what we have goes down. And the sad truth is that this is the foundation of our current society and it regrettably applies to everything and anything we are able to have.
You could be in a relationship and after a few months, you might begin to mentally fixate on the next person. You will begin to focus less on the positives of your current partner and only see the negatives. While you will mentally make the person you don’t have into being perfect. And this is the perfect definition of consumerism and it has regrettably even infiltrated our relationships. But it’s now about what we do about it.
Before we move on, first try to answer these 2 questions for yourself:
- Is it possible for me to be at peace and have peace of mind without giving up my current way of life?
- Is it possible for me to live a life without stress when I am mentally living in the future, always trying to run from the past or completely ignoring the present?
After limiting consumption I feel this is the second most important point you must try to implement in your life. If you want peace of mind and you want to eliminate stress: Live in the present. Live in the NOW. Like right now you are reading this article, live here. Live in this very moment. Don’t live today for tomorrow or for the past but live today for today. Only “now” exists and the future and the past are just in your head. That being said, you should learn from your past and use your present to plan for a better future. In summary, do not let what’s non-existant loom over you.
Nowadays, people are so caught up in controlling their future and changing their past, that they never live in the present. They give themselves unnecessary stress about the future that in reality doesn’t even exist. I mean student suicides are the ones that really get to me. At this moment, I’m talking about suicides over failing exams, EXAMS! Students worldwide take their own lives because they don’t pass certain exams. Essentially, this ONLY means that they may not be able to pursue certain careers.
Now I’m sure you can argue that the students have a lot of family pressure. Certain parents even mortgage their entire futures so that their children can get educated. Coming back to my initial point, individuals commit suicide because they failed, and “were not” able to control their future. To prevent this it is necessary for us to have our priorities in the right place. We should only allow our mind to chew on what it can healthily process without feeling stress: the present.
So with that last point, I hope I was able to make my argument as illustrative as possible. I strongly feel about this issue and I hope you will be positively impacted by these ideas. So on that note, these are the 3 main action points I feel you should focus on. I strongly feel that if you apply even one of these points to your life, you WILL find peace of mind.
Overview (Focus Points To Develop Peace of Mind):
- Don’t be a sheep and blindly follow consumerism culture. Be minimalist in your nature and use and buy what you need. I appreciate the things you have and learn to be thankful. Understand that relationships are not something to replace. You must learn to adapt if you want true love, friendship, and peace of mind.
- Strive for success but only for the right reasons. Don’t try to become rich and wealthy just for the sake of money. Use your money to make a positive difference emotionally in the lives of the people you know and don’t know.
- Live in the Now. Don’t try to control the future and don’t worry about the past. Only the present exists and everything else is just your mind on overdrive. Live THIS very moment the best you can and everything else will work it itself out.
Peace of mind is only a thought away.