Life is always more out of our control than we would prefer it to be. Even with the most meticulous planning, the perfect day only shows up now and then.
If we were to have a perfect day every day, it would quickly become just another normal part of our experience. Then we would need a new fantasy to take its place.
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Similar to the desire for the perfect day, an ideal life can mean enforcing a rigid uniformity that does more harm than good.
Chasing utopian dreams never takes us exactly where we want to go, because ideas change, people change, and new technologies develop.
Dictators from history had an ideal world in mind that would last. But their dreams were never realized, and instead left catastrophic destruction behind.
We are unable to plan a perfect life without also fully understanding the complexity of life. Things we think we want now might be different from what we want in the near future.
We believe people have many needs and values that can come together in perfect harmony. We think, under the right conditions, education, technology and political systems, we can completely solve all our problems.
But we have to stop and consider these questions: What if our values and needs contradict each other? What, if we gain somewhere, we will lose somewhere else?
Choosing one way of life means giving up many others. A desire for privacy is at odds with convenience tools like Google and Facebook. Long-term travel will mean being lonely at times.
It is not possible to combine a diversity of forms of life within a single person.
Obsessing over the idea of having a perfect life where you compress yourself into a focused point, means that you will suffer from tunnel-vision. Tunnel-vision means that you will miss much of life.
The perfect life is always around the corner, but the decent life is right here already if you can stop for long enough to see it.
Meditation shows reduced activity in the amygdala, our brain’s threat detector. When the amygdala perceives a threat, it sets off the fight-flight-freeze response.
In a study, after practicing mindfulness for 20 minutes per day over just one week, participants showed reduced amygdala reactivity only while they were engaged in mindfulness, suggesting they need regular practice.
Life hacking is a kind of American self-help. It was practical and evidence-based.
Getting Things Done or GTD, promoted the idea of breaking tasks down into pieces and sorting them by how much time they'll take to accomplish, then allocating reminders. The goal is to free you from a mental to-do list running in the back of your thoughts, making it possible to focus all your energy on a task.