From Surviving to Thriving

I believe that humanity is evolving.

Throughout the most of human history, we had to focus on surviving.  Surviving is about making sure our basic needs for food and shelter are met.  Different cultures evolved in different ways to ensure maximum chance of surviving.  They were different because their circumstances were different.  Hot and cold climates call for different survival approaches.  In some cultures, men were scarce because they died while hunting and fighting.  So each surviving men had several wives to maximize the chances of the survival and continuance of that family lineage.

Ensuring survival comes from the scarcity mentality.  It’s about making sure you have food and security because the assumption was that if you were negligent in that effort then neither will be there.  And this is still true for the majority of humans.

But those of us fortunate to live in developed countries, we are less concerned with survival.  Once those basic needs are met, we turn our attention to higher needs.  To thrive.  To fully realize our potential.  To live a joyful, fulfilling life.

This is new to us, so we don’t have culture developed to maximize our chance of that, at least not an effective one.  There have been exceptions throughout history, as well, but not best practices that apply to the majority of us.  And cultures are just that, best practices.

The thing is, we don’t realize it when we’re so focused on our basic needs, but such life is often very straining to our minds.  For example, many manufacturing jobs are mind-numbing, back-breaking work, performing repetitive, mechanical jobs.  A lot of our current society is dependent on people performing such work, but as a creative person it’ll be hard for me to do that sort of work.  The freedom we enjoy in the more fortunate societies is about having the freedom to choose your work that’s a good match to who you are.  But if nobody wanted to be a garbage collector then our society won’t function.  So capitalism works by hanging the carrot in front of people so they do work that they would rather not do it they didn’t have to.  It’s a decent system, the best we thought up so far, of making societies work where the constituents have the maximum chance of surviving, collectively and individually (that’s not to say that it works 100%).

But this system is rigged for survival, not thriving.  If people didn’t do some of the less desirable work the society wouldn’t function.  Most of the jobs are designed for maximum profit, maximum efficiency.  They are not designed for maximum fun and joy of the person performing it — it’s not even designed for the long-term physical and mental health of the person.  Otherwise why would we sit in an office all day staring at computers, day in and day out?  That’s a recipe for disaster in the long run, and disaster it is.

That’s not to say we are not doing a good job, we are doing the best we can to explore this relatively new concept of fulfillment, which is the highest state for our body, mind and soul built on the basic and higher needs being met.  I live in a highly developed society and have had some awesome, creative jobs.  I know that many, many people don’t enjoy their work, and their bodies and minds develop issues.  I’ve had my share of them, though I’m proud to say each year I get better at life and fix more of my problems.  Challenges are endless but I’m getting closer to creating a fulfilling life.

Whenever I needed to refuel in my journey, I turned to music.  Music is the most accessible and emotional of arts, and a powerful influence on your mood/emotions.  If you enjoy music, you can use it to enhance your life, from soothing your pain in times of trial to making happy moments even more exhilarating.  Plain, raw foods can sustain us but cooking it the right way make it inviting to eat.  Music is like salt and pepper of life, one of the most basic, most versatile and most useful tools to improve the experience that is our life.

Music helps, really helps.  It’s like a booster for your emotions — if you’re anguished, it can help you be less so, and if you’re happy, it can help you feel more of it.  Good music refuels my life, and making music with such intentions fulfills me.  I am a creative person, and the music is the most awesome thing I can create.  I intend never to have a phase in the rest of my life when I’m not making music.  I hope you discover music that works for you, so you can use it to lift you up.

Humanity still has ways to go, though we can remain hopeful when we consider how far we’ve come.  It’s been a slow and long journey for me but thriving is now within my reach.  I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned along the way. My particular stories may or may not be relevant to you — but I hope they remind you to show up each day, ready and willing to take baby steps forward.

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