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Today I’m going to try to convince you why you need to live.
I want to start by sharing a question I received from a guy who’s obviously worried that trying to put in an effort – trying to make something of his life – is a waste of time. Here’s what he said:
“I need your help, especially when it comes to being in a relationship with someone. Do you think that living a life working to become the best, the strongest, or the most beautiful, is the best thing to go for?
Because remember there will always be someone better than you, so why even try why put yourself through so much pain, and spend so much time building something, for someone to just come in and take it from you?”
So we’ve always got this dilemma of self development: working on your career, building your health, going out there and facing a social anxiety to build relationships – why bother to do this when it’s just so goddamn hard to do and there’s so much working against you (barriers and enemies to your success)?
There’s the argument that there’s always someone better than you. There’s the concern about hypergamy – like no matter how good you are, your partner will leave you for some better deal. There’s the idea that we’re all just going to die anyway, so what’s the point?
Well, today I want to give you 10 reasons why I think you should put some effort into living…
#1 There’s only one life anyway
I get this one from the comedian Ricky Gervais. When he was asked “What is life?” he basically replied, “Life is a vacation from nothing.”
There was before you’re born – no awareness, no sense of time, no sense of anything – and then you’re born and you’re alive, and you’ve got this vacation from nothing. You’re on holiday. And then you die and it goes back to nothing.
If you’re an atheist like me – you don’t believe in an afterlife or a god – this is it. This is the one thing you get to experience, and no matter how shitty it is it’s still the best life you’re ever going to experience.
So the idea that you want to cop out of this, that you can’t be bothered putting an effort in, tells me you don’t understand that this is the only thing you have a chance to put any effort into.
#2 it’s not about self-improvement, it’s about integrity
I do believe ‘self-improvement’ is a waste of time. Developing your integrity, however, is not.
The reason most people feel that their effort is wasted or pointless or too difficult is that they’re going in the wrong direction. They’re trying to get “better,” which is a completely subjective and unmeasurable concept, rather than trying to be real – which is very measurable and much more rewarding.
If you’re finding that your goals and your path in life are ultimately unsatisfying, I guarantee it’s because you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. If you change your reasoning to “How can I have integrity? How can I live by my core values? How can I live in an honorable way? How can I impress myself?” then the difficulty will not only come down but the reward will go way way up.
#3 There is no such thing as better
Carrying on from the last one, there is no objective ‘better’ – especially when it comes to partnerships.
Now the concept of hypergamy – that somebody will leave you for any better deal – only applies when you don’t have a great connection.
People often have this ‘checklist’ in their heads about their ideal partner – there must be this tall or this rich or this funny blah blah blah. They’ll think “That’s what I’m attracted to and that’s what I want.” But the truth is that’s the list they have for somebody they don’t have a great connection with. Those are the kind of qualities and highs they need to get from a poor connection for it to be worth spending any time with them. (Or they’re superficial/psychopathic).
If you can develop a deep and real connection with someone, where your presence takes away all sense of loneliness and being with you makes them feel like they are part of something, that list of criteria goes in the bin. They will not care about the list anymore.
You’ll see evidence of this all the time. You’ll know somebody who had all these high standards and a list and yet the partner they end up with doesn’t meet nearly any of the criteria. Their real partner, whom they are desperately in love with, makes no sense and nobody else can understand why… because they have a connection.
And how do you create a connection? From being real.
Understand that if you’re finding that you don’t seem to be of any value to people, it’s probably because you’re not being real and therefore you now have to meet their checklist criteria, which is almost impossible.
#4 the universe is aware of itself through you
The Sun doesn’t have eyes or ears, the stars and the planets have no sensory perception. Without us, it’s all darkness and nothingness. You can’t have reality without awareness – there must be what is and then something observing what is.
We are the observers.
Even if you have a shitty life, that’s a valuable perspective. It’s a new and unique interpretation of reality. We don’t watch movies that are just about someone having a good time, right? We want to see a hero’s journey through struggle and strife.
If you’re homeless, or if you’re chronically sick, or you’re mentally disabled – that’s still a perspective of value. It’s as valuable as any other perspective. It gives us a fresh, different look at the world.
Even if you don’t really buy the spirituality of being ‘the eyes of the universe’, think about other people and what they gain: the wisdom they develop from hearing your perspective, which is definitely different from every single other person’s out there. You have a fresh view of things that enhances the wisdom of everybody around you.
#5 the earth is dying
A slightly darker point: if you are a believer in science as I am, you’ll have come to the inevitable conclusion that the Earth as we know it is dying, and that we are almost certainly the cause of that death.
This means that we are probably one of the last generations of humans ever! It might be our children or our grandchildren that see the very end of our inevitable doom, and with that in mind, shouldn’t we make the most of it while we still can?
And there’s even the slightest chance of turning it around. To be able to provide for someone that you will not be alive to see – which is the ultimate meaning of life. To be able to create a world for somebody else. We’re in a position right now, where if you can do your part somebody else might be able to experience a life that at this time – unless we change things – is not going to happen. That is the gift you’re capable of providing.
Looming death – extinction – is very real for us now. The science is undeniable on this. It’s coming, and you could be one of the soldiers who fight back.
The greatest evil is the indifference of good people.
Are you going to be someone who sits on the sidelines and watches the others fight (and lose)? Or are you going to throw yourself in there as well and make the best of it?
#6 it will all be worth it soon
When you do find your passion or your purpose, everything that’s ever led up to it will seem worthwhile. The difficulty is that until you find your thing, you won’t believe that story. You won’t believe that the arc of your life has meaning and is valuable to you, because you haven’t arrived at the climax of the point of the story yet. You haven’t discovered the kind of conclusion that it was all leading up to… yet.
I understand that. For the first 25 years of my life, I was a Nice Guy people-pleaser, suffering in silence (oh all right; suffering behind self-deprecating humor). You think I enjoyed that? You think I enjoyed having no woman like me? You think enjoyed being fake and lonely all the time?
It did seem pointless. It didn’t seem worth continuing with. But now I can coach Nice Guys and people-pleasers because of that journey. My purpose has come to me from my pain – it was all leading up to this. And so I can understand why I went through it and it all makes sense to me now, and I wouldn’t change a thing.
If you’re reading this, maybe you’re not quite there yet. Once you are there, it will all make sense, and don’t you want to find out what it is?
#7 you are a warrior
You have a unique set of beliefs / principles / things that you stand for and stand against. This makes you a warrior for a certain cause. You are a soldier in a battle.
If you don’t participate in this battle, the army you fight for will be short one soldier. Right now, odds are that the reason you don’t feel meaning and purpose in your life is you’re not strongly fighting for a cause that you believe in.
For example, I’m fighting for the cause of confidence, and I’m anti-low-confidence. I’m fighting against the people who destroy others’ confidence. I have a clear enemy and I have a clear nation of people whom I’m trying to protect. I have a fight that I will fight to the death for.
You do too – maybe you just haven’t found yours yet. What do you think it might be?
#8 your impact could save a life
I want to share a story I heard.
There was once a suicide note found in San Francisco, in an abandoned apartment, and what it simply said was “I am going to walk towards the Golden Gate Bridge today and jump off, but if anybody smiles at me along the way, I won’t jump.”
Of course, all they found was the note. I assume nobody smiled.
You have no idea the influence you have – the little things you do and the ripple out effect that they have. It’s almost impossible to measure, but maybe you just walking around looking people in the eyes and smiling at them could save a life; could make sure a husband doesn’t abandon a wife; could make sure a child doesn’t feel alone.
There’s so much you can do and yet it takes so little effort. Just get unstuck from your own selfish neediness and look at the huge number of opportunities out there to slightly improve a life, every single day. They’re right in front of you if you can just get out of your own way.
You might think “I don’t really make a difference. I don’t have a huge impact on the world.” Yet you do. Even if you do nothing that has a huge impact… a negative impact.
If you got up every day and thought, “How can I improve one person’s life just a little bit?” you’d be amazed at the plethora of opportunities offered to you.
#9 suffering is training
During the hardest of times is when we have the most doubt. When we’re suffering, when we’re losing, when things are shitty, when our expectations are up and reality is down – that’s when we’re most likely to question “What’s the point of all this?”
But you’re looking at it wrong.
All that suffering is training. It is conditioning. You are being built for something.
I think of it like getting a tattoo. It sucks to get a tattoo. I’ve got a few of them and I have a low threshold of pain… they hurt! It feels like somebody’s dragging a lit cigarette over your skin. But afterwards, you get a neat little picture for the rest of your life.
There’s a period of suffering and then you’re left with something valuable forever.
All suffering is subjective. There was a refugee from Sierra Leone I watched do a talk. He was orphaned from a very young age because both his parents were murdered in front of him. He had the typical Blood Diamond kind of childhood. He ran with orphanage gangs, just trying to scratch a living, with no support or parental guidance or adults helping him. Eventually, he was refugeed to New Zealand.
He told us about how fulfilling it was for him to be able to go into a store and buy himself a sweater. This was something I couldn’t possibly appreciate. I hate shopping. But his background had trained him to have massive gratitude for the smallest of things (by my judgment). Thanks to all that suffering he went through, he ended up in a position where his life has been a hundred times harder than mine and yet he can appreciate life more than I can! That’s what his training lead up to.
Wouldn’t you love to know where you’re being trained for? If you don’t keep struggling to handle your suffering, how are you gonna find out?
#10 shit or get off the pot
I’ve got to be frank with you: either pull your weight or get the out of the way.
The world is overpopulated. We’re destroying the environment. The politicians of the world are greedy and corrupt. We’re being subjugated by businesses who just want to steal your money and control your attention.
So get your ass up and do something about it. Fight for a team – I don’t even care if you’re fighting against me – just fight! Do something with your life. Because if you just sit by, the good people have to die for you.
We need people to get over their insecurities and step up to the plate.
Thank you so much for reading/watching. If you enjoyed this video/post, please subscribe to my YouTube channel, and share it around.
If you want to figure out how to build your integrity and make a difference before it’s too late, email me directly firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll put you on to some resources, or you can even apply for a complimentary coaching session.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to rant and live my purpose, through making little videos by myself with my cellphone that are watched by people on the internet who should be working. I’ll see you all next time