“Find your why.”
The word “why” has now become an increasingly popular buzzword, especially for millennials who spend more time scrolling through other people’s lives than living their own, denying that it’s no different from their parents’ “Keeping up with the Joneses” mode of living.
Nobody wants to live a life without a purpose. Nobody wants to be unmotivated or stuck in a dead-end position. Nobody wants to suffer a life of hardship or wander around without a destination to look forward to.
But the problem is, most of us are motivated by two things: survival and ego. We want to avoid danger and discomfort. And after that’s over, we set our sights on being better than our competitors and enemies so that we can prolong our existence.
However, the end goal of beating down anyone who’s vying for the same reward is a narcissistic and selfish goal. So anyone who wants to attain anything they lack must have a why that sounds pleasing and noble in order to be more likable because being more likable means that they’re better able to sneak their way to the top without anyone doubting their motives. They’re able to get support from people who find some escapist short-term reliefs in their why.
But if you’re consistently feeling stuck and unmotivated even when you have many big dreams, there’s a reason for that. You’re just not meant for an extraordinary life. You’re not meant “to change how people live,” or solve a complicated problem on the national or global level. You’re not meant to rise from obscurity and live in the spotlight. You’re not meant to have a successful six-figure side hustle by the age of 23, nor are you guaranteed overnight success after you’ve suffered from not getting what you want because going through hardships and failures still doesn’t entitle you to a good life afterward.
Maybe you’ll be like the majority of the population and will never be heard or recognized for achieving something great because you’re not as great as you think you are. Maybe you’re not destined for legendary success, no matter how much you bully yourself into toughening up, in hopes of fighting back against social, environmental, and economic constraints that keep you in place.
Not everyone is entitled to be at the top 1% of the world. So why do we try? Why do internet marketers still tell people that if you apply enough willpower and think positive enough, you can make it and become super successful and prove all your haters wrong?
It’s all a lie.
This isn’t to say that settling is good, but it’s far more harmful to expect a grand and extraordinary dream life after a following a cookie-cutter success formula because doing so won’t give you that. Perhaps your expectations and obsession with the outcome of success are what’s causing you the most pain, not the mundane moments of everyday life.
You don’t have to go viral to get back at those who thought you were weird, unsuccessful, and stupid.
You don’t have to get back at anyone at all.
You don’t have to try so hard to prove that you’re worth something in a field you don’t even want to pursue.
You don’t have to be passionate about your endeavors all the time.
You don’t have to force yourself to come up with a bombastic why and write it all over your wall.
You don’t have to share your why publicly.
You don’t have to force yourself to make your life more epic, meaningful, or noble than it actually is because chances are, you just want to enjoy yourself and be happy without worrying about how people are judging how ordinary your life story might be.
And if you don’t have a why, it’s okay to take your time to find one that’s truly yours.
Originally published at christinefchen.com.