It feels like being afraid of heights and having to live at the top floor of a skyscraper.
It also feels like the building is on fire. Burning from the inside out, slowly consuming floor by floor until it reaches you.
It feels as if your only choices are to either jump or accept that you are going to burn. Either way, you’re pretty much out of control.
That’s how I felt for years and years; so long, actually, that it became my own emotional baseline, so I understand quite well the difference between the burning pain of suffering deeply and the general apathy and hopelessness of depression. The emptiness. The lack of interest, joy, passion. I understand the despair, the loneliness, the reluctance to discuss about it all, the very fatiguing job of hiding it all behind a smile, or an “I’m fine” delivered in the worst way possible.
Many years ago, a student asked cultural anthropologist Margaret Meade a simple question; what was, in her opinion, the earliest sign of civilization.
You know, whether it was the discovery of fire, or the invention of the wheel. Or something of the sorts.
Her answer took him by surprise. She said the earliest sign of civilization was “a healed femur.”
You see, in the animal kingdom, where only the fittest survive, if you break your leg, you die. You cannot run from danger, you cannot drink or hunt for food. No creature survives a broken leg long enough for the bone to heal. You are eaten by predators long before that.
In the world of hunter-gatherers, a person with a fractured thigh bone would be thought of as useless and left to die.
But a femur that has healed is evidence that someone had taken the time to stay with the one who was injured, had bound up the wound, had carried the person to safety, and had hunted and gathered food for this injured person until their leg healed.
Someone had to provide care for another who couldn’t care for themselves.
Margaret Meade said that the evidence of compassion was the first sign of civilization.
We are only as strong as the weakest among us. That’s how it’s always been.
Do you know how we became the dominant species on the planet?
One of the most toxic mindsets that we’ve been sucked into is that of desiring completion. This fantasy that, once we reach the top of the mountain, our lives are going to be perfect.
As I am often too fond of quoting, life is pain. And anyone who tells you differently is trying to sell you something. And make no mistake, some folks make quite a bit of money by selling you this idea, by making you waste your time waiting for the weekend, for a vacation, for retirement, or for heaven.
There is no completion. There is no top of the mountain.
You know why?
Because when you reach the top of the mountain, all you see are other mountains that you have to climb.
Happiness is not about making a billion dollars, becoming famous, or finding your soulmate. Happiness is not about reaching some real or imaginary destination. Happiness is about enjoying day to day life, and to be honest with you, that’s what most people get wrong. So, so wrong.
Most people never get to find happiness in their daily lives because they are waiting for someday when the struggle will be over. They are consumed by this lack of completion, and thus they operate out of scarcity.
That’s how most people screw up their lives.
And the best eight ways that people destroy their chance at being happy on a daily basis are…