The Danger of Self Indulgence

I’ve noticed a curious trait in a lot of people – they aren’t excited about anything.

Being an excitable person, I figured I was just an outlier, but the fact is I think this is a typical condition of adult life.

In Australia, we have a curious cultural quirk. We often say something is ‘not bad’ when it is surprisingly good, and describe something as ‘not good’ when it is surprisingly bad.

I think that this is also a great descriptor of adult life in the modern era. We sit halfway between not bad/not good. It’s this sort of grey malaise that makes us feel somehow exhausted.

As we grow from children into adults, there is a period where excitement seems to wane. It seems to happen in the late teenage years when we are told we need to figure out “what to do with our lives”.

At this point we begin describing ourselves as a function rather than as a person who is alive and experiencing. And it’s when we start to lose something.

It seems to me that this happens by degrees. It starts out that we have a passion for something, but life starts to add responsibilities. Soon these start to crowd out of desire to do things that are interesting or meaningful and we lose our way.

And then, we lose our excitement for life.

Recently I met someone interesting. She had recently taken on a new career path, doing charity work, helping improve people’s lives on an Indian Reservation. For me, coming from the world of business and corporate training, this seemed so far removed from reality that I couldn’t fathom doing it.

But I have to admit, it also seemed exciting.

The idea that you could directly influence the well-being of a group of people was life affirming and thrilling.

I think this is a good example of why most people aren’t excited. Our lives become too self indulgent. We work mostly to provide for ourselves and our families, and beyond that concern ourselves only with entertainment.

The idea that we could build something bigger or could contribute to the world is almost a foreign concept. Our heads are so far up our own asses that we don’t even notice that we are actually bored.

And I truly think that boredom is the result of this self-indulgence. We no longer live for anything beyond ourselves, and our current life preservation.

Human beings need a new horizon, we need something to move towards, otherwise we start to wither and die.

The bigger the purpose behind what you are doing, the more energy and excitement you start to feel.


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