“You know, Hitler wanted to be an artist. At eighteen he took his inheritance, seven hundred kronen, and moved to Vienna to live and study… Ever see one of his paintings? Neither have I. Resistance beat him. Call it overstatement but I’ll say it anyway: it was easier for Hitler to start World War II than it was for him to face a blank square of canvas.”
We always talk about the positive aspects of self-improvement and finding your purpose.
There are tons of benefits to finding your purpose in life, obviously, which is why you attempt to pursue it. You catch the inspiration bug from time to time and it genuinely feels like you have what it takes to find and fulfill the said purpose, but life gets in the way, your self-doubts keep you stuck, and the process always seems daunting.
I prefer the harsh approach to self-improvement because it accounts for the tough nature of not just following a dream, but reality itself. When inspiration doesn’t, try desperation.
Today, I’m going to make you feel as desperate as possible. I’m going to share a reason for finding your purpose you might not have ever heard before.
We’re going to look into your future and see what your life looks like without it.
Hopefully, this will make you fed up enough to change.
Find Purpose to Avoid These Pitfalls
“If tomorrow morning by some stroke of magic every dazed and benighted soul woke up with the power to take the first step toward pursuing his or her dreams, every shrink in the directory would be out of business. Prisons would stand empty. The alcohol and tobacco industries would would collapse, along with the junk food, cosmetic, and infotainment businesses, not to mention pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and the medical profession from top to bottom. Domestic abuse would become extinct, as would addiction, migraine headaches, road rage, and dandruff.” — Steven Pressfield
Human beings have a need to find purpose and meaning somewhere. We’re all religious, even if our religion has nothing to do with a supernatural entity like a god.
If you don’t find a purpose for yourself, you’ll casually drift into one and it usually won’t be good. Either that, or you’ll notice the void you have in your life and it’ll manifest itself in strange and negative ways.
Sometimes these consequences are benign. You just live humdrum life and fill the void with distraction, entertainment, and relatively normal vices.
Sometimes these consequences are dire. You cling to counterproductive or evil ideologies because they make you feel like you belong. Why do you think people join gangs?
We’ll dive into this in a bit, but more and more in society, you can see people filling the void in their life with outrage. People aren’t just upset that the power structures didn’t give them what they want materially. They’re also angry that the story they were told about life didn’t fulfill them spiritually.
This nihilist energy grows stronger seemingly every day. Aimless people need somewhere to put their energy and somewhere to find that meaning, regardless of how perverted that sense of meaning is.
To remedy this, you don’t have to become some super successful entrepreneur, change the world, or live the lifestyle sold to you by self-improvement gurus. Nope. Just find something that’s meaningful to you so that you can avoid what sadly happens to most people.
They either fall into a pit of quiet desperation, go into a fit of rage, or fall somewhere in between.
I’m not a genie, but I can make some pretty educated guesses about what might happen to you if you fail to find purpose in life. Let’s go through some of the major themes I’ve been seeing lately.
The Fate Most of Us End Up In
“People are strange: They are constantly angered by trivial things, but on a major matter like totally wasting their lives, they hardly seem to notice.” — Charles Bukowski
I call this most common scenario the tragedy of banality.
Your life isn’t bad, but it’s also not great. You feel mediocre in almost every aspect of your life. Your job is ok, maybe even good, but not great. Maybe you make good money, but you’re not free and you have to give up so much time to get that money.
You have good friends, family, and a decent social life. You get to go to craft fairs on the weekends, or watch football with your buddies, or barbecue, or visit the winery, whatever.
Nothing is technically wrong.
But that’s the tragedy of it all. You only come to the realization that you’re wasting your life when it’s too late. You never experience true tragedy, but your days drip out one by one like Chinese water torture. Each little mundane yet annoying aspect of your life pokes at you constantly until you die.
So, what do you do? You have your vices, your distractions, and whatever coping mechanisms you need to keep you happy. You experience this low level of anxiety and stress that ultimately catches up to you and literally shortens your life span.
Look around at the ‘average person’ in society. They’re not healthy. They don’t have that light in their eyes anymore. Some of them appear soulless. Maybe I’m being dramatic. Or maybe I’m right.
If you’re in this situation, I bet you feel just fine the vast majority of the time. But every once in awhile, you feel like screaming. How could you have let this happen to you? How did you lose all your optimism and settle into such a deep groove?
You had one job — take care of yourself and do whatever is required to succeed — and you couldn’t even do that.
You’re still alive, so you can always turn around the ship. But remember — it gets harder every day. Start now.
A Game With No Winners
“Outrage is like a lot of other things that feel good but over time devour us from the inside out. And it’s even more insidious than most vices because we don’t even consciously acknowledge that it’s a pleasure.” — Tim Kreider
I can’t prove this, but there has to be a correlation with a lack of purpose and vitriolic obsession with politics. It’s depressing and I feel bad for these people.
You see them in the comments section of an article so vehemently arguing for their team when the leaders of their team don’t care about them at all. Yes, political policies impact your life. Duh. Also, though, much, most of politics is theatre. You might as well be watching WWE.
I don’t want the “all police” to come after me, so I’ll say that most politicians are either incompetent, sociopathic, or both. It’s strange. If you ask most people, even people deeply into politics, whether they think politicians are sketchy, they’ll say yes.
Yet, they’ll hand over their entire sense of agency to these people. Why would you ever put your life in the hands of anyone who has the word evil associated with them, even if it’s accompanied by ‘lesser of two’? Doesn’t sound like a winning proposition to me.
People have their minds made up about who they’re going to vote for already, so why all the arguing, bickering, and outrage when the only thing that they can do is vote? Simple. They’re filling a void. Politics is their religion. Pundits are their preachers. The church is social media and cable news. Dogma is God.
I’ve been a student of media manipulation, persuasion, and gaslighting for years. 2020 is the magnum opus for all sides involved. It’s bad. They’re not even pretending to tell the truth anymore.
The veil is gone yet many people still can’t see it. They’re digging their heels in harder and harder, becoming more and more outraged and depressed, and feeding energy into this monster. They have hardened hearts and can no longer see the other side as human.
This leads to not just bickering, but violence. Zero percent of people having late-night wars on the street feel like they have a purpose in life other than tribal warfare.
I fear for the people who continue to fill the void in their life with propaganda, but that train isn’t stopping anytime soon. It’s on you to get off.
The Modern-Day Tragedy
“If you don’t know what you want,” the doorman said, “you end up with a lot you don’t.” — Plutarch
Keeping on our theme of depressing negative outcomes from a lack of purpose, you have the fact that anxiety, suicide, drug abuse, alcoholism, etc seem to be at an all-time high when we live in the most materially abundant society in the history of humankind.
How could this happen?
As the zeitgeist shifts away from purpose and meaning, you get negative outcomes like this. The past wasn’t perfect by any means, obviously, but you can see how people were able to hold themselves together because they had meaning.
People in the past had:
- God — Now he’s dead and we found no suitable replacements
- Pride in Country — Yeah, not going so well right now
- The Ability to Take Care of Their Families — This is one area where the structure of society is responsible. Too much greed at the top has caused a level of inequality where normal folks can’t take care of themselves all that well.
When you have no purpose for your life and you have a nagging sense that there’s a void, drugs work really well to turn that part of your brain off. Of course, you build a tolerance and then need more drugs to sustain the high until you eventually crash and burn.
An idle mind is the devil’s playground, and much of the anxiety we see in society today comes from a lack of focus. When you’re aiming at something worthwhile, you don’t have as much time to sit around and wallow in your existence.
The zeitgeist shifted, and the people at the top did forget about their duty to regular people, not just financially and circumstantial, but mentally and spiritually. I will concede that.
But, guess what? The Ship of Fools is off to sea permanently and they’re not coming back to help you.
So, you must help yourself.
I bet you’re feeling crazy inspired, huh?
Look, I’m not one to lie. You don’t want to become a drifter — Napoleon Hill’s term for people who get their mind’s hi-jacked by evil forces because they have no control over their lives.
You can see the consequences of drifting everywhere you look. The drifting, at least partially, causes all the ills you see in society today.
Keeping with the truth, there will be no massive uprising of self-actualized individuals who are going to build this utopian society. For the collective, things will get much worse.
Your only choice is to escape and stop playing society’s game altogether.
Revert back to the truth that you know deep down already. You know how to handle your life. You know the basics of what it takes to find purpose and meaning. It is possible to build the momentum and discipline needed to do it. You just have to do it.
Once you figure out to emotionally embrace all the self-improvement teachings you logically know, you’ll be ready to aim.
Focus long enough, and you’ll be able to see the system for what it truly is because you’re no longer apart of it.
Escape the matrix before it’s too late.
Build profitable skills with this free checklist — The Ultimate Guide to Discovering Your Natural Talents and Strengths. Wanna keep in touch? Follow me on Instagram here.
Originally published at http://ayotheauthor.com on September 7, 2020.