There are two types of people; those who don’t know how to improve their lives, and those who don’t know when to stop.
And people who can improve their lives will always struggle to be around people who can’t.
Personal growth and self improvement is liberating, fulfilling and exciting.
But it’s also a trap that convinces you that you’re an unfinished article who doesn’t need to start enjoying life yet.
One who can defer happiness until you’ve reached a certain level of development.
“I’ll really start living when I’ve finally… mastered this new meditation technique/got to single digit bodyfat/hit 6 figures a year income/bought that new house/read 100 books/grown my channel to 1m subscribers.”
Personal growthers have learned a sacrifice-reward dynamic that is useful in the micro but malignant in the macro.
We teach ourselves that we need to do the tough things first so we can enjoy the fun things later.
And if that’s “go to the gym” before “watch some YouTube”, that’s fine.
But if it’s “complete an arbitrary amount of life-improving” before we “actually feel like we can let ourselves enjoy life”, it’s not fine.
“Deferred Happiness Syndrome is the common feeling that your life has not begun, that your present reality is a mere prelude to some idyllic future.
This idyll is a mirage that’ll fade as you approach, revealing that the prelude you rushed through was in fact the one to your death.” — Gurwinder Bhogal
The perennially difficult balance of the personal growther is between being and becoming.
Between feeling enough and wanting to be better.
Between a desire for more and a satisfaction for what you already have.
You want to leave it all out on the field of play, but you realise that if you’re constantly driven by desiring more, it’s difficult to take time to enjoy the process of playing the game.
It’s tough. This is THE personal growth problem.
My current best solution is from my Sam Harris episode a few months ago:
String together some moments of peace and gratitude wherever you can.
Just spend 30 seconds, 5 times a day really putting your mind where your feet are.
Take a deep breath in, allow your mind to focus on the peripherals of your vision and think about how the things you have now are only once things you dreamed of having.
Think about how insane it would be if you from 5 years ago could see this newly improved texture of your mind, quality of your life and clarity of your thoughts.
Realise that all the striving and pushing and grinding is indeed satisfying, but if you can’t have fun now, you’re never going to.
This week’s upcoming episodes:
Alex O’Connor – can you convince ChatGPT of the existence of God? Why does Peter Hitchens hate Alex? Are people becoming less moral? Lots of good philosophy insights here.
Mike Thurston – why is male body dysmorphia on the rise? Where does genuine confidence come from? Does growing a platform make you more or less at the mercy of other people’s opinions?
Danny Polishchuk – one half of The Boyscast joins me on my trip to NYC. Why did I contribute to Danny’s Instagram getting deleted? Is Britney Spears ok? What’s happened with the Matt Rife fallout? Should we get vasectomy’s to stop climate change?
THINGS I’VE LEARNED
77% of US 17-24 year olds could not join the military.
The American Department of Defense recently did an analysis of 17-24 year olds and found that 77 percent were unqualified to serve in the military.
Due mostly to obesity, drug abuse, physical health, or mental health.
Almost half were disqualified for more than one of those reasons.
So that seems concerning, for multiple reasons.
But looking into it, maybe it’s not as bad as it seems?
35% were disqualified for being overweight.
But the limit for the army (for men) is 20% body fat which is reasonably strict.
24% were disqualified for “drug abuse”.
But that—in theory—includes anyone who has ever used marijuana. — h/t Dynomight
Cynical Genius Illusion.
“Cynical people are seen as smarter, but sizeable research suggests they actually tend to be dumber.
Cynicism is not a sign of intelligence but a substitute for it, a way to shield oneself from betrayal & disappointment without having to actually think.” — Gurwinder Bhogal
The Behavioural Genetics of podcasting.
More than 50% of people still find new podcasts through personal recommendation.
So all the algo hacking and clever titling and fancy thumbnails account for less than 50% of audience growth.
A surprising amount of uproar about this one.
A couple did a sleep study using fitness trackers.
One of the biggest benefits to the woman’s sleep was being in bed with the man.
The single biggest detriment to the man’s sleep was being in bed with the women.
The solution: two duvets.
Sleep scores then both went into the positive for being in bed together. — h/t George Mack
Vegas & LA next week. Insanely huge guests incoming. Modern Wisdom Cinema is back baby.