In a world brimming with heated blankets, self-starting cars, temperature-controlled showers, life-shortening snack-providing vending machines, endless Netflix marathon opportunities, 80 inch screen TV’s, infinite-scroll social-media feeds, high rise elevators, and 1-minute microwave dinners you would think we’d be in a constant state of amazement at the modern conveniences we’re surrounded by.
Yet this isn’t the case. We complain more than ever.
There’s a peculiar phenomenon at play: the more modern luxuries we have at our disposal, the more opportunities we have for something to misfire. Thus, more opportunities to complain.
Something as simple as the WiFi not working for a few minutes is often more than enough to put us in a miserable mood.
What a disaster, we think. What have I done to deserve this great misfortune?
Or when the television remote stops working and we have a near mental breakdown. Or when the dishwasher malfunctions and we have to wash our plates by hand for two days before it’s fixed – not that we go through the hassle of fixing it, there’s someone to conveniently call for that.
We’re soft. We hate discomfort. We lose our temper and curse the world the moment something goes wrong in our comfy temperature-controlled lives. We don’t even like physical movement. We have machines move us from place to place for most of the day.
We hate the cold.
We hate the heat.
We’re pathetic. Like newborns we cry at essentially nothing. In our big insulated world full of modern luxuries we very rarely have to do what is hard.
And for this reason alone, if you regularly do what is hard you automatically beat 80% of the population at whatever you aim to pursue. Most people don’t read on a regular basis. Most people don’t workout, set up a savings plan, or have any type of voluntary discipline established in their life. Most people just drift from day to day. But they don’t do the drifting themselves, there’s machines for that.
By no means am I opposed to technology. Of course I’d rather move from place to place in a Honda Civic instead of a horse-drawn carriage. I would much prefer to write using a laptop as opposed to ink and quill.
The technological advancements we’ve witnessed over the last century have been amazing. But equally amazing is the level of laziness the average human has reached. Particularly in the financial space. Our willingness to do hard work, voluntarily delay gratification, and develop discipline to save money has never been more abysmal.
A major reason for the laziness and complacency most people dwell in on a daily basis is the rise of consumerism.
Consumerism is the default setting in humans. We naturally crave instant gratification. We want what’s shiny. But while our desire for immediate gratification is the backbone of consumerism, comparison is the gene that drives this behavior to a new level.
Buying new stuff is fun, but only if the things we buy are better than the things our peers buy. This is the nature of comparison, and never in history has it been easier to compare our lives to those around us due to social media.
To lead a life of constant consumption is easy. But to lead a life based on intentional living and thoughtful spending is hard. At least initially.
See, the thing about minimalism, frugality, and intentional living is that the more you embrace it, the easier and more natural it becomes. What appears to be a hard way of living is actually easy.
When you decide to track your expenses, start a side hustle, or pursue financial freedom it can be hard. Shifting your focus from consumerism to intentional living feels unnatural at first. But over time, what was initially hard becomes easier and easier.
Conversely, doing what is easy – spending, spending, spending actually makes life quite hard. Debt and financial chaos are the sneaky best friends of consumerism. Unhappiness typically tags along as well.
Doing what is easy makes for a life that is hard. Doing what is hard makes for a life that is easy.
But I’ll go one step further: Doing what is hard makes for a life filled with freedom.
If you want more freedom, you must do what is hard. But don’t fret. It won’t be hard for long.
Feature photo credit: rocks
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