That’s the number one lesson I think people learn from peer pressure, besides not to make terrible choices that lead to puke—or the metaphorical equivalent. Caution is wise, sure, but most people are too cautious. Not too terribly long ago, Jim Carrey did a spiritual sequel to Liar, Liar called Yes Man about a guy who was a meek do-nothing who decided to start saying ‘Yes’ to life. Long story short, he got the girl. That message wouldn’t resonate with people if we weren’t a bunch of lazy shits who mistakenly dislike activities.
“But I hate all sorts of activities and I’m satisfied,” you might say. Fuck you. I get mad too. I get frustrated and dislike my circumstances quite frequently, but that sphere of fuck-yelling needs to be differentiated from disliking activities which have genuine merit.
The number one reason we hate a given activity is because we’re bad at it. I hated playing baseball and basketball as a kid because I have an eye-condition which limits my depth perception and makes me terrible at any sport where I have to judge distances in the air. When there’s a point of reference, like lines on the ground—or even a floor at all—I do fine. When I play volleyball, I stand there like a dipshit holding an imaginary ice cream cone with both my fists, and genuinely believe I’m going to whack the ball with my arms instead of my face. It’s the face every time. Does this mean that I hate volleyball? Yes. Do I play it anyway? No. I’m handicapped such that unless I was really passionate about compensating, I’d never be able to be even average. It’s that passion that’s key. Two winters back, I took up skiing and got to black diamonds that same season.
Say you’re a man and you hate fashion. You think most of the stuff looks stupid, and you think the whole premise of spending a ton of money on clothes is an ignorant rat-race that leads to an empty wallet. You hate shopping, and you only reluctantly peruse clothing because you need it to be modest enough to not get arrested. I felt the same way for a long time—until I stopped being a lazy shit and learned to smile through the puke. It was my perspective that was holding me back from enjoying something that, regardless of my opinion about it, is an inseparable part of life. Once I learned that nice clothes feel better than cheap junk, I was hooked. Then shopping became a matter of finding deals that fit, made me comfortable, and looked good. There is all sorts of stuff out there to read about men’s fashion, and a lot of it is practical and useful. Once I sought out and found the rewards in shopping, I stopped being a little bitch about it.
If you’re lucky, eventually you become sick of being sick of shit. It’s not rewarding to be belligerent and unhappy: it’s a self-perpetuating cycle. Whenever I see somebody behaving that way, I think of them as circling the drain. It’s simple—if you’re only ever passionate and positive about things that come naturally and easily to you, you’ll never challenge yourself after you reach your peak. You’ll just glide along there at your plateau for awhile until your laziness drags you down into mediocrity and eventually, your grave.
The solution to laziness is to approach every activity openly and creatively. Look at even the worst circumstances and ask “how can I make this better?” and “how can I think about this differently so I won’t be stuck being miserable?” That’s what living well is about—especially during tough economic circumstances. Have no toys? Find a circle of metal, and decide that rolling it with a stick and chasing after it will keep you going. Life is full of potential for joy and discovery. If you can’t play a guitar, it might look as useless to you as that circle of metal… but that doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. Look for new experiences that can give you the childlike joy of naïve discovery among the very things you think you hate doing. Instead of looking back on your accomplishments and thumping your chest and resting on your laurels, perhaps now is the time to eliminate potential regrets and do. Do everything. Love your failures instead of fuck-yelling. Smile through the puke.