Do you know who are you? Have you ever asked yourself this question and came up with an answer?
I never lived in the medieval times, nor I know someone who did, but I have this image in my head. Imagine a medieval blacksmith. He has this small, two story house. He lives with his wife and two kids on the second floor, while the first floor is converted to be his shop. He crafts swords here. He has some livestock. Cows that they milk. Sheep that they grow. Horse that he uses to go to the nearby friend of his - a miner, from which he buys his steel in order to craft his swords and later sell them to warriors of his village.
This blacksmith doesn’t compare his house to the house of his miner friend. He doesn’t compare his horse to the horse of his neighbor - the alchemist. And yet - he lives a happy life.
We’ve lost our true self
We, on the other hand, do compare ourselves. Who dresses better, who drives a better car. Some of us compare themselves to others, while some show-off their “superiority” by attracting attention to their material possession - A Turquoise Louis Vuitton T-Shirt that costs 470 Euro or revving the engine of their Lamborghini. And on top of all this, we are being bombarded by brands, through advertisement, that we must get that new and shiny pair of sneakers.
And hence, we’ve lost ourselves. We no longer know who we are and what our values are. And it seems like every person is better than us at something. He is a better photographer, she is a better stylist, they have a better house. And we want all of it.
I’m too busy for that
One of the reasons I think that the blacksmith from my story is happy with what he has, is because he is doing the craft the likes. He doesn’t have time to think about that alchemist neighbor of his, there is a fucking war coming and he needs to craft his best swords, because he is the best blacksmith in town.
We, on the other hand, are, what I call, pseudo-busy. We never have time for anything. Always working hard. Nah man, too busy this week, let’s try in 3 months I might have a window of 27 minutes in there. And yet, procrastination is flourishing, escapism from day to day job is rising. Everybody wishes to be on an a tropical island instead of their office cubicle. We are - pseudo busy. We try to look busy, because busyness is associated with business. And business is cool.
But we are not really busy. Or not in the sense of being in the flow and doing what we like and enjoy the most. Hence we procrastinate, escape in our mind to our next vacation, while simultaneously scrolling through social media - to eventually realize that its the end of the day already, I barely did anything today and yet I had no to time to call my friends or family, nor buy any groceries. Jeez, I was sooo busy today.
There is too much information
The other reasons I think my blacksmith is happy, is because he probably didn’t choose this life. He was born to a blacksmith, inherited the shop together with horse and sheep, added second floor to the house with materials he could afford and probably never seen anything outside his village.
We, on the other hand, have access to the entire knowledge of humanity. Even if we’ve never been to a specific country - we can Google how it looks, find whats their traditional food, see images of their landscape and architecture. Even if we can afford to buy Toyota Corolla, we still see a lot of BMWs and Mercedeses around us. We always see people who are more successful. They dress better, have better cars, have better houses, nicer jobs, eat fresher food, have more money. There are endless number of professions. Our culture is also focused on fast. Fast food, fast movies, fast reading. While on a plane to our home we already plan the next vacation. We read reviews instead of reading the book. We express ourselves in 280 characters because ain’t no body got time to read that essay I’m writing. And on top of all that, we are being told to look for that mysterious passion.
Its too much to handle. Too much to choose from. So we try to have it all. We envy people who have big houses even if we don’t give a damn about big houses. We envy people who drive BMW even if we don’t care for driving. We are jealous of people who dress in brands even if we care only about minimalist, sustainable and simple clothing.
Because that’s the world we live it. Our boredom from being pseudo-busy with our greed and desire for more, fuels this endless wheel that gives stage to even more greed and desire, and even more confusion about who we are and what we need to become. By putting attention to other people have, we only continue to fuel such society and continue to loose our self identity.
You don’t have to be better
In fact - you even can’t be better. There is no better. Better is always relative. I can be better than you at software engineering because I’ve perfected that craft for years. It doesn’t mean I’m better than you. You might be a better writer, a better singer, dancer, photographer, story teller. Whatever.
We rip things we can compare such as material possession or amounts of money, and start to compare on that basis. But instead we need to focus on trying to understand what is really important to us. Do we really want that Lamborghini or its just because we’ve been told that we want it?
Advertising has done a tremendous job to convince us that we need that thing! And that, and this and these! We need them all. But life doesn’t have to be like this. By not knowing what you want from life, you end up wanting everything. Thus always feeling miserable - because you can’t have everything. You can’t have everything - because deep inside you know, you know that you don’t need that Lamborghini so you won’t blow up your savings to get one.
So stop comparing yourself to other people. Focus on understanding your self and your values in life. What do you care about. You like gardening? Then maybe you need to focus on getting a nice house with a garden instead of feeling miserable when someone buys an apartment in a high rise building. You enjoy cycling? Then get a bicycle and cycle instead of being miserable when everyone around buy new cars.
It’s that easy. The hardest part is just knowing what you want. So start focusing on that. Start finding the answer to the question: Who are you?