Modern life is demanding and at times, disorienting. The relentless pursuit of and pressure for doing and having more — more money, more fame, more success — can put us on our edge. One approach to responding to all these demands is by doing even more. Pushing ourselves harder and further. But often pushing harder fail to work. Because humans can't scale infinitely. Consequently, we end up burn out or lose interest in living.
One solution to the dizzying degree of demands of modernity is not further speeding up ourselves. Instead, doing the opposite — slowing down. Weighing our options. Substracting instead of adding more stuff to our daily to-do list. Once we slow down, we get a better view of our lives. We can separate redundant from important. Mimetic from real ones.
In an excellent interview with Future Startup, published last year, Academic, Researcher, and Development Strategist Sajid Amit bares open the cost of our pursuit of more from his own life and offers timeless insight into how we should look into the trials and tribulations of our daily life and respond to our mimetic desires for more. Below I pull two questions from the interview pertinent for our discussion. You can revisit the entire interview here.
I used to work way too hard. Day and night. And often burned me out. I used to work hard at the office, read when I was not working, and frankly, was not the best at taking care of my emotional life and wellness. But I have learned to be more balanced.
I travel frequently now, which greatly helps me relax and fuel my motivation when I am back at work.
I make sure I get to sleep at night.
I meditate, enjoy art, fashion, and go to the gym. And last but not certainly not least, I spend a lot of time with my family.
So the advice I would give to my younger self, if I could travel back in time, would be to take more deep breaths and get more sleep!
I think if we work on how we perceive our challenges and frustrations, our reality shifts. First, the shift is the shift in perception, but soon after, the shift is material. Some would argue that perception is as material as anything else that’s material, but haha, I don’t want to sound esoteric. To be more simple, I think all these problems, challenges, frustrations, take care of themselves if you put in some work to overcome them while trying to be present.
Presence is far more rewarding than regretting your past or worrying about the future. It is easier to live in today than living in tomorrow or yesterday. Today is all we have. We can’t change our past or control our future. But we can influence our future with our actions today.
It is not easy to live in the moment. We, humans, are designed to worry and regret. Our headspace is always running and thinking. Practice mindfulness. Pay attention to this very moment. Life is happening now, at this very moment, seize it.