“Am I happy enough?” This question inevitably whittles away another word until I am left with: “Am I enough?” Which is, of course, ridiculous. Quantifying emotion is about as fruitful as trying to weigh the ocean or measure my cat’s hatred for everything on the planet. It simply can’t be done.
Yet still, we ask the question: “Am I enough?”
I think marketers have recognized this desperation, this cry for validation. Almost every advertisement I see today has this promise: “If you only had _____, you would be _____ enough.”
If you only had Slimfast, you would be thin enough.
If you only had Jeep, you would be adventurous enough.
If you only had Nike, you would be athletic enough.
If you only had Scottrade, you would be rich enough.
It’s the same song with different verses. Fill in the first blank with the product, the second with the deepest desire of your target demographic, and BANG, there’s your business. Bonus points if you throw in a beautiful woman.
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We are particularly bad at portraying romantic relationships in this light. Like she or he could make you enough. It’s very dangerous.
I will say this — no product or person has ever filled the gap indefinitely. But here’s how I stay…
Here’s my weird habit. Almost every day, I open up my Moleskine and write the date. Just the date. After a while, I have a page that looks like a crazy person’s journal.
This nearly obsessive attention to the date reminds me how precious each one is. Today is July 25th, 2017. You will never get another July 25th, 2017 again. I try not to miss what’s happening. After all, I only get to see it once.
“You have to stay niche as a blogger. Otherwise you’ll be lost in the noise.”
You’ve probably heard this one before. And then, if you’re anything like me, you tried that for about a week, got terribly bored and, then sprinted off into the woods to do something like grow an impressive beard and wonder if you could actually spend your life among the trees.
But no more. Routine desensitizes; variety rejuvenates. Do what interests you, and then find the themes later. In a world where specialization is billed as king, you are allowed to be more than one thing. I promise.
… Stressed Enough
So commonplace is chronic stress these days that we now want nothing to do with the word. Approximately $300 billion dollars in America were spent on “stress related health care and missed work.” 30 percent of us say we are “always” or “often” stressed at our jobs.
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I’m always a bit skeptical of random statistics I find on the internet. Taking the tape to ‘missed work’ for hundreds of billions makes me a little wary. Still, no matter how you cut it — chronic stress is a problem. It’s easy to see how we want to avoid the physical stress reactions as much as possible.
There’s just one issue. Humans were made to experience stress, at least on some level. Cortisol, the hormone largely responsible for stress, has been demonized in several reputable publications, but we largely ignore the benefits — weight loss, improved immune system, reduced inflammation.
IF (admittedly a big if) stress is managed, it’s beneficial.
I dare you to scare you. Do something which makes your heart race. In my experience, that’s where all the good stuff happens.
By turning off the news. I can find out what happened around the globe in about 15 minutes. This is opposed to camping out on CNN for 4 hours.
There are real problems in the world. Murder is happening. Injustice is happening. Stupidity is happening. I can’t and won’t get lost in that world. Negativity is heavy. The second I forget being alive is generally a good thing is the second I am unable to impact the world in any way.
I’ve said this before, but I still think it’s useful.
The best way to stay healthy, for most people, is to do these things:
None of those things require calculation of net calories, macro- or micronutrients, or saturated fats. When my guts were about to fall out of my stomach, I was overwhelmed. Now, I pretty much focus on those four things. It’s working. I can tell because I no longer spend days on the bathroom floor.
<.h2>… Bored Enough
I think this is critical for all creative people (read: all people).
In a culture where we tote busy around like a status symbol and schedule every waking second of our day, we miss out on the downtime to think. Or breathe. Or dream.
To tell you the truth, I am awful at this. Measuring my life by output is my go-to move. Then, when I’m forced to mow the yard and think about nothing, I come up with about 10 good ideas.
Instead of writing 1,000 words about feeling like you belong, I’ll reduce this section to 23 from one of my favorite philosophers:
“Really Hagrid, if you are holding out for universal popularity, I’m afraid you will be in this cabin for a very long time” — Albus Dumbledore
Instead of longing for a following of 400,000, I’ve been trying to focus on 4. I figure if 4 people are bawling at my funeral, I nailed it. Focus on 4.
So far, that’s been enough.
This essay was written by Todd Brison, author of The Creative's Curse. It originally appeared on Medium.com.
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