Let’s get meta for a bit. I’ve never been the kind of person who finds a ton of value in self-help books or motivational speakers. My ultra-cynical college self would have thought people who were super into that lifestyle were pansies who lacked the self-awareness to figure their problems out on their own. But my more mature adult self admires those people and respects their ability to constantly seek self-improvement.
Unless you’re on some anti-depressants, the world is a pretty sad place most of the time. Whether you’re living in general fear because everything is scary, or you feel inadequate because it seems like everyone around you is better at life than you are, it can be difficult to stay positive and cheery. So sometimes it helps to look at life a little differently. For example…
3. Time Gets Shorter the Longer You Live
Of course I don’t mean the phenomenon where you’re like, “Wow, where did the time go? It feels like it was January yesterday and now it’s the middle of summer.” (The reality of that is much more depressing). Instead, I mean that periods of your life, especially periods that sucked, don’t seem to have as great of an impact on you as time goes on. Let’s say, for example, you were in an abusive, awful relationship for 5 years from ages 15-20. By the time the relationship ends, it’s made up 25% of your life. If said relationship completely destroyed your happiness and self-esteem, a full quarter of your life seems like a lot of time. And if you compartmentalize your life into periods like that, it can make things much worse.
But by the time you turn 30, that percentage drops to 16%. Sure that 5 years is still a lot, but if you think about how the percentage shrinks just a bit at the end of each day, it doesn’t seem so bad. Also, the other 84% of your life wasn’t so bad. In fact, you probably don’t even remember the first 5 years of your life so you’ve got a little bonus. So maybe right now you’re dealing with something that sucks. But just remember that at the end of each day, each hour, each minute, whatever crappy thing you went through becomes a less significant part of your life.
2. Everyone Around You Is Building Their Own Empire
You’re probably never going to reach the top of the world. You’ll never be as cool or as famous or as adored as Beyonce. But that’s okay because neither is most anyone you ever come in contact with. Even more, no one’s really going to care about what you do after you die. At best, if you have grandkids, they’ll know of the life you built and then that’s it. Two generations after you and then your legacy is forgotten. If you were a terrible child molesting, murderous drug dealer, that’s great news for you. If you’re a philanthropic saint, not so much.
Now I know what you’re thinking, “How is this supposed to make me feel better?” After all, I’m pretty much saying that everything you do is meaningless so why not just kill yourself now? Well, don’t. Because even if no one else on this planet outside of your family really cares about what you do (ME!), you can still compete with yourself to see what you can build. That’s what everyone around you is doing. No one really cares how many marathons you run, how many stamps you collect, or how cool your website is (my website is cool, right?). What makes you happy may not benefit anyone else in the long run, and even if it does, it only goes so far.
The point is to do whatever makes you happy. See what you can build. Life is what you make it and all that other self-motivational crap.
1. Everything Might Be a Simulation
Elon Musk, who somehow has a ton of money for a lot of failed projects and technology that no one is allowed to use, has said that the odds of us living in a simulated reality are almost a certainty. Basically, he took our advancement of virtual reality from Atari to the present day and said that if we were able to advance that far in roughly 40 years, it likely means there’s a simulation going on right now where that very same process is playing out with us. In other words, we’re a giant game of Sims.
If this were true, it would change how we perceive everything. Would God be real? Or maybe our idea of God is whoever is running the simulation. What if, then, God is some old obese 40 year old living in his mom’s basement who has been playing Sims for years?
What happens when the guy running the simulation finds out we’ve become self-aware and living in a simulation? Is the game over? Is he even able to keep track of what 7 billion people are doing? Does he know I’m writing about his simulation right now? What if he stops playing the game? What if he uninstalls it? Are there copies of the simulation being run by other people? Are our characters the same in other simulations, like we’re Donkey Kong or Mario?
Also, what would happen when we die? Do we restart at another point in the simulation, or do we start our lives over again and run through the simulation again? My brain hurts.