In case you missed it, you can go and read part one of this post here.
Now onto the myth of greatness and how it's messing with us.
The Myth Of What ‘Greatness’ Is
Next, it’s totally possible and likely that for *most* people a life of purpose and meaning looks incredibly ‘normal’ and mundane.
Greatness by societal standards is NOT a prerequisite for feeling like you lived a life of purpose.
Greatness by society's standards, is NOT a prerequisite for feeling like you lived a life of purpose.
Because what our society deems as great is incredibly narrow, often times shallow, and not something that *most* of us are ever going to be able to aspire to or that most of us would even WANT to aspire to - in the sense that actually DOING what would be required or achieve this ‘life of greatness’ would be too painful, hard, unrewarding or otherwise just not what we care about enough to make the sacrifices worth it. It’s also simply impractical for every person on the planet to be living some GREAT life - again by the definition of society currently - because if all of us wanted to be great inventors, system disruptors, entertainers, artists, scientists or whatever it is that is currently most thought of as being ‘great’ - society as we know it would collapse.
There are too many jobs, too many roles, too many things that need to be done for all of us to be doing something ‘world changing’.
Society and life itself is structured in a way where MOST of us are going to live a rather ‘regular’ life, and that’s going to be what’s actually BEST for all of humanity. This isn’t a bad thing at all. This is again, how life works. It’s something we need to embrace rather than looking to change.
The truth is, our definitions of a ‘great’ or ‘purposeful’ life need to change to match actual reality. If we can start to re-evaluate what it is that we deem ‘purposeful’, I believe THIS will make us feel a whole lot better about the way things are, and the way things are going to stay. If we could learn to celebrate the fact that we are alive, that we’re doing what we do in order to keep that life going, that we’re part of what is the perpetual forward momentum of humanity and the life experiences that are possible for us as we improve our technologies, understandings, distribution and production of resources and so on - and realize that THIS - whatever it is that we’re doing IS purposeful because WE are doing it - I believe we can start to find some truth in this discussion of purpose.
I believe if we can start to understand that to have a life one could call ‘normal’ by Western standards - where we have reasonable access to food, water, safety, some form of work, some people to help us and to help, reasonable infrastructure and a general quality of life - we’ve won the lottery. As far as the human condition goes, this kind of ‘normal’ life that the self help industry is always telling us we need to be seeking to transcend is incredibly miraculous.
A ‘normal’ life, with a ‘normal’ job, with a ‘normal’ family - is a result of so much evolution, understanding, technology and resource production and distribution as to be basically unimaginable by pretty much ALL of our ancestors.
It’s a life that many people on our planet will never dream of actually having.
A ‘normal’ life is an incredibly GOOD life in the context of our experience as humans - and the fact that we’re always being told that we must be striving for more in order to be living a life that ‘s worth something is incredibly short sighted and in a state of denial.
Next, we have to understand that of COURSE we want to continue to shift the way things are so that MORE people have access to the kind of reality we call ‘normal.’ We’re still working to make our developed nation ‘normal’ reality a BASIC life expectation - and right now, this is far from the case. Right now, there are more people on this planet who would trade lives with someone having a ‘mundane’ experience in a heartbeat than there are people who could reasonably transcend ‘normal’.
We’re not taking a step back and appreciating just how lucky we are to be living a ‘normal’ life. We’re not understanding that this ‘normal’ life is one of the BEST life experiences a human can have right now, and how exceedingly RARE it is in terms of how many people alive today actually get to experience it, and even more so when we look at how many humans who have come before us.
This is to say, we aren’t appreciating that if the ‘normal’ life we are living, when we ask ourselves what WE value, what WE care about, and how WE feel - feels FINE - and the only reason we feel that we should be ‘shooting for more’ is because the self help/personal growth world is telling us that we SHOULD - that THIS is your sign - no. You don’t have to. What you’re doing is enough.
You’re allowed to enjoy your life as it is, if it’s working for you on a reasonable level.
You’re allowed to make small adjustments to improve your experience without feeling like you have to live some RADICAL lifestyle to be ‘doing it right.’
You’re allowed to ENJOY your normal if your normal is working for you.
People selling self help/personal growth/spirituality who demonize working ‘normal jobs’, having a normal family, living for simple pleasures and just doing what humans do aren’t living in reality.
If they are making you feel ANY level of shame, guilt, lack, unworthiness or like you’re not doing what you ‘should’ be doing when they talk about a ‘normal’ experience being less than - stop listening. It’s their clouded view, not yours.
Next, we have to understand that if normal IS hurting you - it’s not necessarily because you’re not ‘doing something great.’ Rather, most of the time it’s because the systems of normal are set up in such a way that the people who we DEPEND on to keep society running - our maintenance workers, our tech workers, our delivery truck drivers and so on - aren’t being given a reasonable quality of life because of the SHITTY structure of the system.
Not because these jobs are inherently without purpose. Not because people aren’t reaching for their potential. Not because they need to become moguls or C.E.O’s
The reason normal life sucks, is because all of the wealth and privilege that has been generated by our technological advancements is being hoarded by those who ‘own’ the means of production - at the expense of everyone who is keeping the system running.
This is MANUFACTURED discontent - and it’s not going to be solved by people ‘finding their greatness.’ It’s going to be solved by a system overhaul.
Manufactured Discontent And How It Fucks With Us
We have to recognize that so much of our economy functions off of the idea that we constantly feel insecure, not enough, not good enough and like we aren’t ok as we are/going to be ok.
Right now, the spirituality/self help/personal growth INDUSTRY - that’s right, it’s an industry not a safe place on the internet where everyone is 100% simply trying to show up to help people feel better in their lives - is capitalizing on the fact that we’re all so easily convinced that our normal lives aren’t enough. They are raking in BILLIONS of dollars every year through programs, seminars, masterminds, groups, coaching and so on all designed to tap into people's deep fear that they aren’t enough and therefore are going to be rejected because they aren’t ‘living a life of purpose.’
They are using the fact that in many ways the current economy and societal structures actually DO make large groups of people legitimately unsafe - and they are telling them that the REASON they feel that way is because they aren’t living their purpose.
They aren’t striving for more.
They aren’t increasing their ‘market value’ or aren’t offering their soul gifts to the world.
They are straight up telling people that wealth, luxury, community and provision is a direct result of finding what you’re ‘meant to do in this world’ and doing it.
Which again, is just a blatant ignorant stance when we understand that life only ‘works’ to the degree that it does right now because SO many people do the mundane, boring, ‘normal’ tasks that we all rely upon every day. To think that all of us are going to find some GREAT THING that we’re here to do that will make us wealthy/safe in this world is a lie.
The real issue that we’re facing is that our systems are set up to support the wealthy at the expense of the masses. THIS Is the main reason MOST people in developed nations suffer.
They suffer because working conditions, pay and work-life balance within the ‘working class’ is so poor, due to the fact that it’s set up to pool profits at the top.
We’ve been brainwashed into believing that a poor quality of life or even that a NORMAL quality of life is a sign of OUR weakness/not doing enough/unworthiness - when in real reality it's a sign that our system is unfair and imbalanced.
Again, the REAL solution to MOST people’s pain in developed nations is a more fair system. Is a societal structure where more of the wealth is distributed among the workers so that there’s less needless suffering, going without and insecurity.
This WOULD cut into the profits of shareholders and those who own the means of production. It would cost them much more than they are currently paying to pay their workers, AND it would cost them their capacity to SELL us things we don’t need based on our insecurities. It would mean they could no longer tap into the fear that we’re all walking around with that the ground is going to fall out from under us - telling us that this fear is rooted in our lack of capacity to fit in, go with trends, be of value to society and that the solution is more consumer goods or working harder for less to prove your worth - and it would mean we would all have to be more realistic about where the insecurity is ACTUALLY coming from.
Again, a system that’s unbalanced and causes SO many people to suffer needlessly.
It’s not a lack of purpose that is causing the suffering of MOST people in developed nations. It’s the fact that our systems aren’t set up to provide a basic standard of living to the working class, and it’s because we’re constantly being TOLD that a normal life isn’t good enough. That we DESERVE to suffer because we aren’t ‘working hard enough’ even though most people who work normal jobs to keep society going work HARDER with less resources and help than most of the ‘great’ people we admire so much.
Personal growth/self help/spirituality gurus are just as guilty for selling us false solutions to real problems as any corporation. We need to start to wake up to the fact that these people are enriching themselves at the expense of those they profess to be there to help. THEY are certainly giving themselves lives that seem extraordinary. They are certainly manifesting wealth. They are certainly making people FEEL like they’re being given the keys to the kingdom of a phenomenal life. But they are doing this, a lot of the time, by selling a lie.
MOST people who go to self help conferences, who pay for this purpose coaching, who join the groups, who buy the journals and listen to the sermons are NEVER going to become something ‘extraordinary’ by society's standards.
They are again, not suffering because of this fact.
They are convinced that THEY are the root of their own problems and pain - and that it’s THEIR lack of motivation/drive/purpose/commitment/greatness that is what’s holding them back from a reasonable life where they can feel safe. When in reality, they don’t feel safe because our system is inherently unsafe.
They are susceptible to believing that THEY are the problem and therefore fixing themselves is the SOLUTION - because at the end of the day that’s the message they’ve been handed by society forever - society is fine, if you aren’t getting what you want it’s because of YOU, NEVER because of the system.
We’re also vulnerable to the message that our pain is all our fault, because if this is true, we have total control over the resolution of our problem. We just have to change ourselves! If the actual cause isn’t rooted in us, that’s a much harder battle, and one we don’t want to look at most of the time.
So we buy into the fact that our pain is a personal failure, and self help/personal growth swoops in to make a shit tonne of money off of that false idea.
People are in pain, and they go to these workshops, seminars, coaching groups and they pay these gurus to align their chakras and share with them all their personal secrets to high flying success looking for answers - and rather than finding them, they get these massive dopamine hits as the content is perfectly curated to hit on peoples ‘pain points’ and then to obfuscate the system we live in, so that they can convince people that ‘personal choice’ and ‘growing into your highest self’ is all that is required for feeling good.
They make the answer ALL a PERSONAL thing, which is exactly what people are primed to want to hear, and this traps them further when the answer isn’t actually a personal problem.
Let's take another break and I'll see you for part three next week!
Remember, you don't have to do this self love path all alone.
Figuring out how to support ourselves, how to be on our own side, how to figure out what our emotions are saying, how to problem solve so we can build lives that work for us - it can be confusing.
That's why I've built the Mystery School - a three year self study program designed to take the guess-work out of this path, so you can start to really connect to who YOU are, what YOU need, and how to create a life that supports that.
It's a program designed to help you begin thinking in 'systems' so you can be a part of the positive change we need to see on this planet.
It's all about finding compassion and working with curiosity so we can understand ourselves and life in general better, and so we can use that understanding to create BETTER models for LIFE!
I’d love to have you as part of the community - remember we also meet as a group once a month for an exclusive live chat where we address whatever's most pertinent for everyone at the time. The course itself is self-paced so you can work through it at whatever speed works for you - starting whenever you like!