Chasing the dream has left us stressed, tired, and unhappy.
Life is good. We can fly through the air at hundreds of miles an hour, covering a distance that would have taken our ancestors weeks or months. We can sit at home in our climate controlled homes and watch 24/7 entertainment on 40-inch televisions. We can communicate instantly with people on the other side of the world.
And yet… people are more stressed than ever.
We’ve never had it easier, but the modern world has tricked us to believe otherwise. Furthermore, we believe everyone else, from our co-workers to our neighbors, has it better.
In my view, this is the No. 1 cause of stress in the First world: Comparison Syndrome.
Everyone wants it a little better. The guy with the brand new Ford F-150 XL wants the Ford F-150 Limited. The woman with 10 pairs of shoes wants an 11th. The employee with the $5,000 raise wants $7,500. Nothing is ever good enough.
But it’s not our fault. The real villain is the media. The NY Times preaching mindfulness and philanthropy but advertising $10,000 watches and handbags. Al Gore swearing to environmentalism while owning 10,000-square-foot houses and flying hundreds of thousands of miles per year. He has a size 17 carbon footprint.
Celebrities Instagram their make-up free looks, while starring in magazine ads selling you the latest costly cosmetics. And while they’ve lined their pockets with endorsement deals, you’ve emptied yours. So you are forced to work longer hours, commute more miles, and sacrifice more of what matters. And why? Because comparison means we never have enough.
From NYC to Sydney, Rio to Tokyo, “No one has enough,” is the message of the new world.
But there’s a way to fight back.
There is ONE thing you can have more of than wants.
When you have discipline, you have more time, more focus, and more love.
You see, discipline is love. And real love is enjoyed by the people who take control over their hours, who own their days, and who master their time.
This is the one victory you are guaranteed over the world. This is the one battle where the fight is fair.
Our celebrities, our society, our television shows, they all taught us that we had to go deeper into the comparison trap if we wanted freedom.
Work, work, work, and one day you’ll have it all. But it’s a lie. A fake values system, with its focus on artificial happiness, quick hits of pleasure, and scientifically-designed addictiveness.
There is no true freedom in having it all.
The promises will never stop. The temptations will never cease. The comparison trap will be satisfied.
There is only one way out.
Through knowing what matters and what doesn’t. Ancient philosophers knew this over two millennia ago. Yes, the comparison trap is timeless. It’s a beast that can never rest.
That leaves you with a decision.
There are two types of people in life, and each chooses a separate road. One is in reactive mode, bound to struggle, sentenced to suffer. This is the path more travelled, and it is the one you do not want to take.
But then there is the other road. You can choose to be proactive.
This road takes you on a steeper, more difficult climb and the payoff is a lot further away, but it is the one true and clear path to what you truly desire.
What your soul desires is love, impact, legacy, people, and memories.
You don’t need more money or stuff. These are the sugar-filled, nutritionally devoid goodies that rot the heart.
If you’re reactively chasing material goods it’s because you lack discipline and focus. It’s because you haven’t proactively and carefully created a vision of what truly matters in your life.
This is why you’re stressed all the time. This why you look at major miracles as minor annoyances.
You cannot achieve satisfaction through consumption. True contentment is not available if all we do is try to take from life. That’s an undisciplined approach, not much different than that of a greedy child at a birthday party that tries to horde the cake and toys.
And so the media, the talking heads, and the self-proclaimed thought leaders can do their hypocritical best in telling you how to live one type of life. But you, seeking to be fulfilled, can turn inwards. Summon your discipline. Seek out the wisdom that has passed the test of time.
Discipline is your chance to wake up and take back control of your life, to vanquish the stress, and own your days.
You are left with two choices:
Remain reactive, struggling with stress. Or proactively take the road less traveled. Climb the steep path marked “Discipline” and attain fulfillment on the journey.
Where do you start?
By creating rules for your life.
Rules give you the discipline to live truly free.
Read this article for the 12 rules everyone needs to set right now.