Caught in a treadmill

Growing up, we’re given the instructions for how society works and what makes us happy. A good education will get us a good job. A good job will get us more money. More money will make us happy. Working harder will get us even more money and we will become happier. Sounds familiar?

A few days ago, I asked a colleague and mother of two where and when she finds time to rest. Her answer was: “I only rest when I’m in the metro to and from work”. I hate the metro in Paris. It’s crowded and sweaty, it stinks of urine and it’s like all weird people in the city decided to hang out there. At work, we can discuss topics such as incremental revenue in lifting our engagement with customers, creating a new dashboard to track acquisition through a new channel or measuring the performance of an emailing campaign. Completely normal work topics – but then I look at the people around me who all seem super interested in the subject. I’m just sitting there thinking “How can you seriously think this is interesting? It’s like we’re getting programmed to find boring subjects interesting, or at least pretend that we’re interested, as long as we get paid for it. Not to mention the most common response on a Monday when people are asked how they are doing: “Well, it’s Monday..”. Or their response on a Friday: “I’m great, it’s Friday!”.

I find it scary to realize all the lies we’ve been told and to see how people are living according to it. It’s all about external approval. We’re not meant to rest only in the metro, to care about things just because we’re paid for it or only to live for the weekend. Life is a gift and an adventure. We’re meant to play and have fun with it.

The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present: he live as if he is never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived.”

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