From perfecting our coloring skills when we are younger to learning how to solve for X, we somehow unconsciously start believing at some level that there would be an X to be solved for in a struggle to achieve our life goals. And I don’t say that to mean that we humans fail to see the difference between a mathematical problem and a real-life problem but because of the sheer volume of content based on people’s longing for a simple solution to everything in life that they aren’t satisfied with, mostly under titles like “the ultimate morning routine”, “50 ways to lead a perfect life” and “3 things that guarantee a wholesome life”.
Sure, consuming such content may make one feel like they can be in charge of their fates which is empowering to say the least but the problem with such content is simple: it claims to have found the key to the padlocks of billions i.e. one single way that would “enable you( people) to lead a good life” without taking into account the fact that perhaps the only thing common across humanity after us belonging to the same race is that all our lives are unique.
The struggles of a well to do citizen living in a welfare state are under no circumstances comparable to a starving man trying to get his family out of Burma, this juxtaposition may seem extreme but everyone’s life is different if not because of wealth, then because of race, if not race then religion, if not religion then family, and the list goes on.
The idea of one size fits all when it comes to “good life advice” is tempting and sometimes such things do add value to the lives of people but the very existence of this notion can leave people feeling like they haven’t found “the solution” to their lives while other have it all figured out. It not only gives them an illusion that there is one definition of “a good successful, wholesome life”, but because no matter what they follow, they can never feel that larger than life feeling of satisfaction that they long and then it just makes them feel as if they haven’t been able to “figure out life when others are capable of it”.
In life, we hope that a 5 am meditation session or reading a book before going to bed or a breathing exercise is going to cure whatever we feel is wanting in our lives but the thing is that all these things no matter how value-adding they might be, none of them can be the X that would make our lives magically wholesome and successful. With all our struggles and problems, we get to decide what is going to be the best cure to it all, we get to define what our wholesome life would be like, that surreal feeling of satisfaction that we think we will experience magically lies hidden in our daily lives. The consoling, as well as disappointing truth, is we will come to an end dealing with some problem if not one then another. Intriguingly, even math doesn’t have one way of finding X, one can reach the number 64 by multiplying 8 by itself, 2 by 32, and also through another thousand different ways, one is not more correct than the other because they all give the same answer.