A deer is peacefully eating grass in the jungle. All of a sudden, it hears a loud noise. Well, that’s the signal- a warning.
So with its natural instincts, the deer start running away from the source of the noise, only to get killed by an accident with a truck.
That’s the natural instinct of any animal born on earth – to run away from any danger.
Even we do the same.
On the first signal of danger, we try running away from it.
But maybe we shouldn’t.
We are not the same as deer or other animals. Humans are an advanced species.
We can take a moment, analyze, and think of a solution.
But being rational isn’t our survival skill.
This natural instinct is just one of the 7 enemies we carry with us throughout our lives.
So here I enlist 7 enemies of our lives.
Humans are emotional fools. Most of the relationship and social problems we face are due to our inability to deal rationally with situations.
We let emotions creep into every aspect of our life.
Rational thinking is an antidote to emotions.
This doesn’t mean you suppress your emotions. Suppressing your emotions are a straight getaway to therapy.
So how do you not let emotions rule your thought process in the crucial times?
Real strength lies in the domestication of one’s emotions. (~Nassim Taleb)
Ask yourself the same question Marcus Aurelius used to ask himself:
“Does what happened to you keep you from acting with justice, generosity, self-control, sanity, prudence, honesty, humility, straightforwardness?”
Stoicism is a lifestyle philosophy that promotes practices revolving around logic, nature, and rational thinking.
One of the primary principles of stoicism is looking into any situation and categorizing it in two ways:
Can I do something about it?
- If yes, I’ll do my duty and make it happen.
- If I can’t do anything about it, what’s the point of giving this situation any of my attention?
Social Media Influence
Oh dear lord! How can we not talk about social media, when we are discussing the biggest enemies of humans in the current age?
Let’s not delve into how Instagram is promoting fake and superficial features of our body, i.e looks, body, etc.
Instead, let’s talk about Medium and Quora.
People often write how they are deactivating their Facebook and Instagram accounts, to focus more on using Medium and Quora. And these platforms only boost the self-help of the reader momentarily.
What’s the point of reading all the motivation crap if you they don’t help you grow in life?
Aspiring is the first step. And somehow reading all the self-help crap keeps us at the first step only.
We keep on learning and learning, and then one day, we die.
There’s the second step to this journey too. It’s action.
We need to act right now.
And if you need to hear this, let me repeat it once again for you:No social media is good or bad - it's your use of the platform that makes it either good or bad. Click To Tweet
So before blaming social media, question yourself every time you check Instagram or Facebook: “How can I use social media for good reasons?“
What if I get X amount of money tomorrow? What’d I do? How’d I spent it?
Or maybe what if I achieve X? How’d that make my parents feel?
See, there’s no problem in watching dreams. In fact, you can’t achieve more, if you don’t dream more.
The fatal flaw lies in not acting.
We dream and dream and keep on dreaming, and we never make a plan to get to that dream.
In a way, we idolize our dream- like it’s something we can never do.
What’s the solution to this?
Consider this scenario- You want to write a book. It’s a whole process. If we break it, it’d be a journey from A to Z.
You’re standing at step A – the first step – where you’d have to draft a plot and conceptualize about your book.
Step B would be to start researching your book.
Step C- Write the first draft of the book.
Step D – Edit and rewrite the first draft.
Next steps would be – Hire an editor and edit your final draft, contact a book publisher, hire a marketing team or invest your time and efforts in marketing yourself.
These are the different steps involved in writing and publishing a book.
How do you achieve your dreams?
Take a look at the final step, and start breaking it down in various milestones. Work on those steps one by one in chronological order.
I was beating myself up for not creating good content. At least I don’t consider my content is good enough.
That’s how every writer considers himself.
This might be a universal problem for the artists.
I consulted my mentor and she ended the conversation with “Dipanshu, I wish you’d never be satisfied with your writings!”
That sounded quite awkward. But I let it go for a while, instead of reacting to it.
A few days later, once I was re-reading the whole conversation, I realized what she meant.
Being satisfied is the death of an artist. Click To Tweet
Being satisfied is the death of an artist.
You stop pushing yourself when you get satisfied with what you are creating.
Yes, you need to be satisfied with your efforts – that you’re doing your part of the job.
But satisfaction is a tricky emotion. It can boost up or screw your future arts based on its usage.
Paying attention to useless stuff
At any given time, we have a limited amount of things we can keep in our mind. If we keep giving space to the things that matter least to us, or worse, that doesn’t matter at all in the long run, we are going to ignore the things that truly matter.
In the words of Mark Manson:
“Whether you realize it or not, you are always choosing what to give a fuck about. The key is to focus only on the things that matter.”
Also, we get an important lesson regarding the same from the book essentialism:
“When we don’t purposely and deliberately choose where to focus our energies and time, other people – our bosses, our colleagues, our clients, and even our families – will choose for us, and before long we’ll have lost sight of everything that is meaningful and important.”
Ego is generally considered to be a person’s sense of self-esteem.
The ego we see most commonly goes by a more casual definition: an unhealthy belief in our own importance. Arrogance. Self-centered ambition. (~Ego is the Enemy, Ryan Holiday)
While writing about ego, I couldn’t help but remember the dialogue by Kevin Spacey in the movie The Usual Suspects-
The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.
Like all the other enemies, even our ego is a tricky factor. It can boost your career, or flame down the empire you’ve been building.
But how’d you see through your ego?
Do you even realize that you have ego problems?
Well, certainly I do. And when you start exploring why you do everything the way you do, you’ll definitely see it too.
The only solution to the ego problem is to be self-aware of why you do everything the way you do.
I started a little practice a couple of days ago.
The idea is to write 1 incident where I let my ego dominate my decision power.
It’s extremely hard to be honest with yourself because your ‘self’ is the easiest person you can fool.
But it’s a really cool practice, and maybe you need to try this too.
Thinking that you’re exceptional
No, you’re not.
You are just an average person like everyone else. Or like your sibling.
You are ordinary. Accept that!
And you are going to die like everyone else. Maybe even sooner than others.
You never know.
The sooner we make peace with our existence and mortality, the better we’d be getting at doing work that truly matters.
Memento Mori is an ancient practice of meditating on your mortality. Memento Mori means – ‘remember, you’re gonna die’.
Yes, you are going to die. Create something that won’t.
Here’s a valuable mortality reminder for you by Marcus Aurelius,
“You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.”
What are your top enemies of life? Anything you want me to add in this list, please let me know in the comments below.