I want you to do me a favor. I want you to look up at the sky. I want you to contemplate how large the earth is. I want you to compare the size of yourself to the size of our planet. The earth is gigantic compared to you.
The next thing I want you to do is compare the size of our planet to the size of our Sun. The Sun is gigantic compared to the earth. Now, I want you to compare the size of the Sun to the size of our entire solar system, the solar system to the galaxy, and our galaxy to the hundreds of billions of galaxies out there (which, scientifically speaking, only represents a tiny portion of universe). After you’ve done all that, I want you to compare yourself to the size of an endless and vast universe.
Finally, I want you to answer this question for me: Compared to the size of the universe, how big are your problems?
When you are able to put things into proper perspective, you can start to realize how insignificant we are in the grand scheme of things. For example, if an entire roll of toilet paper represented the history of the universe, the time span that humans have been around would represent one sheet on that roll. Sure, we have done many great things in our time here on the planet, and I’m not trying to take away from that at all. What I am trying to say is that ultimately, the things we do don’t really matter.
This may sound like a bleak description of the lives of human beings, but I would argue that in some ways, acknowledging this is rather liberating. Namely, it enables us to recognize that our seemingly huge problems are, in reality, pretty miniscule. You get a very short amount of time on this earth in relation to the timespan of the universe — so really, you shouldn’t sweat the small stuff. I see people get so stressed out about the conditions of their life; how much money they are going to make, whether or not they will be recognized for their achievements, finding a purpose in life. Don’t get me wrong, these things are very important to all of us, myself included. But I think it can alleviate some pressure to realize that ultimately, what ever we don’t or don’t do in this lifetime is going to be of little importance in the long run.
Life is short. This cliché saying rings true for all of us, like it or not. I have some questions for you: What real reason do you have not to go after your wildest dreams and desires? What is the point of being realistic and practical? Why should you care about your career SO much? Why are you spending the majority of time doing things that you don’t really want to do? Why? Why? Why?
A general rule of thumb you should have for yourself is to ask yourself why? three times. In this process, you can begin to realize what’s important and what’s trivial. Why are you putting so much stress on yourself trying to accumulate gold stars on your resume? Do you get to take your job title with you when you die? Why do people’s opinions of you matter so much?
We all would like to think that we are independent thinkers, and that all of our ideas are original and we are so unique, but in reality we are being manipulated constantly. We look at studies like Pavlov and his dog and think the dog is being conditioned because he is a simple animal — and that we ourselves could never become subject to such trickery. I would argue that you are constantly being conditioned and you don’t even know it. Let’s take social media for example. Try and tell me that little red notification button doesn’t elicit a Pavlovian response from Facebook users. It may even bring you to the point of salivation. The media is training you to live your life for material items. Collectively, companies want you to spend your precious time and energy working for money so that you can buy things that you don’t need, to impress people that you don’t like. Society has imposed upon you the idea of what is important in life, and its bullshit. Wake up.
The universe doesn’t care what kind of car you drive or how much your shoes cost. It doesn’t care that you are climbing up the corporate ladder. We are all so busy in this life. Busy doing absolutely nothing. My suggestion for you is to realize how truly meaningless your life is, but also to realize that it’s a good thing. You should feel freer taking this perspective. Do what ever you want, seriously, who cares, the universe doesn’t. Go to a nursing home and talk to some older people and ask them what they wish they had done in their life. I bet some of the answers would be along the lines of doing what they really wanted to do, putting less pressure on themselves, enjoying their family and friends more, things that have nothing to do with material gain. Relax. Remember how short your life is and enjoy it. You can work hard, but at least work hard for something you love. You get one live to live, so I suggest you live it well.