Why I Love my Boring Life6 min read
1. It just feels better
I always wake up and go to sleep at the same time. I don’t really drink alcohol. I enjoy sunlight, reading, chatting with friends (over coffee), and playing recreational sports. Maybe this is why my dating profile isn’t getting many hits…
I’ve done the partying from Wednesday – Sunday, the all-nighters, the having TWO cups of coffee, and, honestly, it was mostly peer pressure. Beyond all the evidence, and there is evidence, that avoiding some of those things might be better for my health, I wasn’t happy doing those things.
Finally, one day, I asked myself, “why?” Why am I hanging out with these people? Staying up so late? Drinking so much? It boiled down to a wanting to look “normal” to my friends and society. “FOMO.” However, “why” am I going out and doing all of these things? Well, because I thought that’s what it meant to be a happy, normal human.
But is that true? Is going out with friends, or even going buck wild and drinking 2.5 cups of coffee, define a normal happy human? Why do I believe that? After several more “why’s,” I realized I didn’t want to be that average guy. I wanted to do other “weird” things. And why do I have to be a normal human? I’d rather be an abnormal Ewok. Maybe one of the ones that were missing an arm.
And, so, I embraced my “weird’ self and began doing the things I intrinsically wanted to do. Doing the “weird” things have resulted in some of the most joyous times in my life. I started a YouTube channel and website, took a Yoga Teacher Training course, went to Buenos Aires and learned to Tango, threw away or donated 80% of my possessions, left Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, and Twitter, and created a religion around Gordon Ramsay to whom I pray morning, afternoon, and night.
[The formulation of a good life is] identifying one’s signature strengths and virtues and using them in work, love, play, and parenting to produce abundant and authentic gratification.Martin E. P. Seligman
Minimizing the variability in my life has allowed me to focus more on the things that matter. Does it matter what clothes I wear? What do I eat every morning? Visiting foreign and new places simply because that’s what everyone else is doing? Nope, it doesn’t matter, not to me. I want to build deeper relationships with the people I care about, be a good doctor, create something cool and truly beneficial to humanity, and make damn good scrambled eggs.
2. It’s rarely “Hell Yeah”, but when it is… I’m free to do it
Inspired by Derek Sivers, I only do things that are “HELL YEAH.”But when it is such a boring life, I have the time and space to do those things. Because I’ve eliminated the things that normally took up so much extra time in my life (14 hours of TV and video games because I live a week, 12 hours of drinking with friends a week, shopping a week), I have an extra nearly ~30 hours to dedicate to what matters.
For example, I’ve always wanted to try living in Buenos Aires and Italy for an extended period. Living in those places was definitely a “HELL YEAH,” so I could dedicate 10 weeks to doing that when I found the time. Thanks to my YouTube channel, I often have opportunities to say work on a new video project, travel and speak somewhere, or make other miscellaneous commitments, but 95% of these I feel “ok” about; they aren’t “HELL YEAH.” So I don’t do them. Before when I first started, I would jump on these opportunities because I thought I needed to. But now, I realize it’s up to me. And it is the worst feeling in the world to see something on the calendar next week that you feel “meh” about.
So, now, I commit infrequently, but when I do, it is only when I can say, “HELL YEAH.”
3. Most Importantly, Finding Happiness in Day-to-Day Life
Finally, and most importantly, I’ve started to realize that happiness isn’t found in another country, or with a specific person, or after buying a beautiful chef’s knife, but, and this sounds super cheesy, it’s found in me; finding happiness in day-to-day life, in being alone, in walking from home to work, in eating dinner, in watching a movie, in sleeping. This is one of the biggest “life hacks” ever.
He is wise who doesn’t grieve for the things he doesn’t have, but rejoices for the things he does have.Epictetus
How do you implement this life hack? Well, I’m not sure. I think it depends a little bit on coming to grips and accepting whatever situation you are in, focusing on the positives. Of course, this is highly personal, but some of the ways I’ve found to do this are a gratefulness practice, journaling, and meditation. How nice is it that you can feel safe where you live? Never have to worry about food? Have a washing machine in your house? Have a computer? Have two functioning legs, eyes, arms, and ears? Again, it seems silly, but studies repeatedly show the power of gratefulness.
Finally, the Internet isn’t everything. Instagram, TikTok, celebrity TV shows, and media in general usually function of the incentive of money. The way to get more money through these means is to create more extreme content, which gets more views and gets paid more by advertisers, which makes creators want to make more extreme content to make more money, and so on. These are the extremes, which can be highly positive with models, lavish lifestyles, and fancy cars or extremely negative with horrific crimes, dramatic sadness, or radical political statements. By definition, extreme things such as those are not normal. However, because they receive more clicks and views, which leads to advertisers paying more, those media sources have been conditioned to produce this more extreme content; the extreme content becomes normal. And our poor human brains start to confuse these extremes with the real normal characteristics of life. The algorithms are much more intelligent than me. I can’t beat them.
Some of the best times of my life are with family and friends, simply eating or talking with no phones. Or playing a great game of soccer, my mind is entirely “SOCCER SOCCER SOCCER,” or having an interaction with a patient in a hospital when I think, “wow, how lucky am I to be in this position! Not only is the medicine interesting, but this person is also telling me their deepest darkest secrets in hopes that my team and I can help them out. I have the privilege of helping and treating this patient in their time of need.”
Embracing my boring life was difficult, but I am so much happier because of it. Thanks Gordon.
[Once inner peace is achieved, any place or environment will be pleasant.] If you saw this fact clearly, you would not be surprised at getting no benefit from the fresh scenes […] As it is, however, you are not journeying; you are drifting and being driven, only exchanging one place for another, although that which you seek, – to live well, – is found everywhere.Seneca
I’m boring, and I like it.