Values – or the “nonsense” we learn since birth

Now here comes a big one…. Values we are “sold on” by observing our parents, teachers, other kids, peers, authority figures etc.

Why sold on? Because it is almost like this mass hypnosis where everyone agrees on what is to be considered valuable – and in order to protect their own mental and emotional structures in life – they convey to everyone else that this is whats important in life.

Are all of these values “bad”? Of course not. Love, loyalty, hope, empathy, sympathy, honor, honesty and many more that are being taught by society as well as books and role models are amazing value add for society as a whole and for individuals within it.

Yet lets look at some of the values that are often the source of conflict, unhappiness with oneself and life, cause of arguments, broken friendships, broken marriages and relationships etc.

– money

– I need to own shit (houses, cars) – and I need to own more the other guy

– size matters – apparently in all areas of life (pun intended)

– external looks (at the exclusion of internal qualities – or at the cost of unhealthy eating habits etc.)

Now we have (especially in the US) – a ton of people pursuing the “American dream” – own a home, own a car, why stop at one own two, wow neighbor has a vacation home as well – he is “ahead ” of you – you are behind if you dont slave away for your whole life to buy shit to impress others – and they do the same – all in a state of mass hypnosis:)

And its hard not to get swept up in this mania… I also catch myself occasionally thinking – “Well I deserve XYZ because I worked hard, and other people do it, why shouldnt I also do it” or “Wow, he is very successful in business and a sign of that is house/car/yacht/*insert your fav gadget here*”

But at what expense does this all come? Does any of this make us really happy and fulfilled? Anyone who has accomplished any measure of success knows that the answer is “Of course NOT”. yet why are we still perpetuating this illusion as reality? Selling people on this shit?

Russel Simmons put it very well at an Entrepreneur gathering I attended – saying that “I don’t care how big your house is, you can still sit your ass only in one chair at the time”.

Sean Stephenson (the most amazing and inspirational speaker on the planet IMHO) – shared stories on how he has famous incredibly successful people coming to see him – being unhappy about their life even though by all common societal measures they have “made it” and therefore should be INCREDIBLY happy.. and yet they are not!

Sean also said something that struck a deep chord within me – and I will quote him here although not verbatim “I have never seen a person come to me saying that they have amazing health, amazing family and friends, are happy and content – and yet they want to commit suicide because they don’t have a lot of money” yet he does have people who achieved incredible financial success that want to commit suicide because the rest of their life is either non-existent or fell apart while they were pursuing financial success or fame at the expense of other things in life.

Why are so many of us still plugged into this illusion? Why do we compare ourselves to others?  Is this constant competition healthy? I believe if competition is friendly and INSPIRES to do more and be more – it can be good…. but the constant measuring of oneself against other people – is a senseless waste of time.
a) You don’t know hats behind the facade – you may see only a small part of that person’s life and
b) Why does it matter? Spend instead time usefully accomplishing whatever you want to accomplish – and becoming not someone else but the best that YOU can be.

/Steps off soap box


2 thoughts on “Values – or the “nonsense” we learn since birth

  1. Somehow this erroneous concept of pursuite of material things = pursuite of happiness has been pervading people’s minds in this century. And what that has led to, ironically, is people actually accumulating debts, not wealth. You don’t “own” anything if you are in shit load of debt for it. And even if you do own everything, if the beliefe system was still as I have stated above, well you covered that point very nicely in this post, Theo. I am a believer in owning certain things to make you happy (i.e. Bosendorfer grand piano which I have every intention of owning someday with MY own money :p) but that cannot dominate all aspects of your life. Your money isn’t gonna hold your hands when you are taking your last breadth. Another insightful, thought-provoking article, Theo. I highly enjoyed it. Keep up the great work!

Leave a Reply