It’s amazing to me that we can all be so blind sometimes.
We all do it. I’m not sure I understand why this is the case. I certainly understand what it’s like to fall prey to insidious forces seemingly beyond my own control, wanting to change everything but feeling powerless to do anything.
But why people seem to consciously and willingly pay homage to the very things that bind them, I do not fully understand.
Stay with me.
If you are like most Americans, or perhaps most people in developed countries, you pay rent or a mortgage to borrow a house that doesn’t belong to you and that you don’t spend a lot of time at anyway. You probably spend at least a third of your life working for somebody else, in a career that isn’t your life purpose, paying a car payment to rent the car that gets you there, often fighting through traffic both to and from work. You might spend a lot of time tolerating people around you that you wouldn’t trust with your kids. And you probably say yes to obligations that you don’t really want to fulfill, but do because of what other people (often the same people in the last sentence) will think of you.
And if you don’t personally do these things, you certainly know someone that does just about all of them and perhaps they complain about it to you but seem to do nothing about it.
They don’t see it that way of course. They seem to think they just can’t catch a break.
Why are people so blind?
Are we missing something here? Why do people fall for this trap? Don’t they understand they are trading one of their most valuable resources (time) to live a life they don’t really want?
Are we simply under the illusion that we don’t have any other choice?
I call bullshit.
I think people know they have a choice, but many choose to pretend like they don’t so that they don’t have to take a risk.
Let’s throw out a pretty well-known cliche: Most people don’t play to win. They play not to lose.
But in their defense, I don’t believe knowledge is enough.
I think we can describe down the problem more simply — people lack wisdom.
I’ve been meditating on the idea of wisdom for a little over a decade. Not very long, mind you; and most of my wisdom was acquired by walking in folly for most of my life, which isn’t wisdom at all really. I suppose the next few years of my life will prove if I have learned to be wise. Will I avoid folly?
Wisdom, by it’s very nature is rare. Solomon describes it as more precious than rubies, more precious than pearls, more profitable than gold or silver. And yet, few people seem to find her.
Maybe people don’t find her because they simply can’t see her. Wisdom calls out loudly to people (Proverbs 1:20), but they don’t seem to recognize her and mostly reject her (Proverbs 1:24-25). She is hidden in plain sight.
As a society, we use most of our money to purchase consumable goods that depreciate (for example: new cars that we can only afford through loans that lose around 10% of it’s value once driven off the lot, and depreciate over 15% every year). We try to build a relationship based primarily on physical attraction and chemistry — and we wonder why our divorce rate has consistently shown to be over 50%, with only a quarter of those that stay together reporting having a happy marriage (and we’d see much, much worse stats if we were to take into account failed relationships that didn’t lead to marriage). We spend the majority of our lives chasing mediocre incomes in jobs we were never created for so we can use our meager retirement to pay our medical bills — don’t get me started on how unhealthy people are in developed countries.
This has been a pretty negative rant so far, so if you are interested, here are some suggestions (I apologize in advance if this sounds like your typical, cheesy list of self-help tips, but they have worked for me):
- Read books. No seriously, try reading books. And don’t read shitty books. Consult Google if you don’t know the difference.
- Seek wisdom. Pray for it, study it (Proverbs is a great place to start), and start paying conscious attention to the patterns in your life — journaling is your friend.
- Quit spending time with the wrong people. You know — the toxic but highly intoxicating boyfriend you worship, the friend who calls you on Friday and encourages you to blow your paycheck, even your churchie friends that make you feel condemned (or perhaps snobby). I might add — start spending time with the right people, — however, it’s FAR more important to get rid of the wrong people.
- Evaluate your life. Get a sheet of paper and honestly ask yourself what you want and if you are honestly (I stress honestly because most people lie to themselves) getting what you want. Then, because you probably aren’t, change something.
- And for goodness sake, do NOT wait until TOMORROW. “Tomorrow” is a great way to lose 5 years — speaking from personal experience.
He who has eyes to see, let him see.