The older I get, the more I find myself questioning the status quo. Truth be told, I’ve always been a questioner but I have definitely ticked it up a notch. Not in a rebel sort of way, but more in an inquisitive way wondering why things are the way they are. Questioning the side of the majority more often than not.
You may have noticed over the past year or so that I’ve written more and more about desiring simplicity rather than more. I mean “more” as a general term. Whether I need more stuff, more money, a bigger business, nicer cars, or whatever. I’ll gleefully admit I don’t struggle with those too much since I know (materially) what it takes to make me happy and it’s not much. I’m thankful for that.
Where I do struggle is with the idea of self-improvement. Basically an insatiable desire to get better both in my eyes and in the eyes of the world. I’ve begun to question that assumption regularly. There’s a podcast called Hurry Slowly created by Jocelyn K. Glei where she ended an episode as follows:
We’ve been culturally conditioned to think of self-betterment as an unadulterated good. That we are not sufficient just as we are. And thus to improve ourselves, we must be more informed, exercise more, adopt a new diet or new skills, digest more ideas and on and on on a never ending treadmill of self-improvement where at some point in the vanishing future I will be improved enough to…what?…take a break and rest? Just be ourselves? We are constantly consuming other people’s content and ideas rather than leaving space for our own ideas to seed and grow and expand. And unfortunately, insight and change will almost certainly not arrive if we can’t even hear ourselves thinking.
(My apologies for anything that wasn’t accurately recorded.)
That last insight hit me like a ton of bricks. At what point does this stop? Ever? I’ve realized that I am constantly consuming, consuming, consuming and I rarely take time to just sit and think. To actually internalize the ideas I’ve read and make them my own. To keep what means something to me and discard what doesn’t. I need to do better at that.
Much of this realization has come as I’ve cleared the clutter since the holiday season. Long story short, I am a work in progress.
The main article I want to share this week is from Mark Manson titled The Disease of More. If you can overlook the language in the post, the article is packed with wisdom on questioning this self-improvement treadmill. I’ve read it dozens of times over the past few years as a reminder to center myself. I hope you enjoy it.
- The Disease of More from Mark Manson
Other Recommended Reading:
- Why Market Timing Can Be So Appealing from Nick Maggiulli
- Talk Less. Listen More. Here’s How. from Kate Murphy
- This Has Been the Best Year Ever from Nicholas Kristof
- Here’s Why Getting a Raise Can Actually Hurt Your Retirement from Greg Iacurci
- Life is Short from Paul Graham
- Clickbait: When a Man Took a Joke in a Pepsi Ad Seriously, Chaos Ensued from Matt Parker
From the Archives:
Thanks for reading!
This post is not advice. Please see additional disclaimers.