Grass is always greener on the other side

Note: Originally I intended to post this on /dev/random – with it being a sort of a silly random reflection and all. But it turned out to be a bit long and I had an empty spot in my blog queue it ended up being a blog post instead. It was aimed to be somewhat reflexive, somewhat humorous and somewhat true.

Look at all these people sitting there being content with their lives. If only you could be like one of them. Somehow they have found their niche in life and are enjoying it. Why can’t you?

You smile and you pretend, but the truth is, you are not happy.

You are underpaid and unappreciated. Your job is not rewarding, satisfying or challenging enough. Your skills are wasted. Your talents are not used to their full extent. You are losing your edge.

You never have enough money to get the things you want. You never have enough vacation days to take an actual vacation. You have little or no time for your personal hobbies. You spend weekends and holidays doing bullshit errands and stupid chores instead of relaxing and partying.

Your significant other sucks, and does not deserve you at all. Your friends suck. Your neighbors suck. They are all pretentious pricks.

Worst of all, your life is going nowhere. Back in school you had all these hopes, dreams and ambitions. You were meant to do more and be more. Look at yourself now.

What happened?

Life happened.

Believe it or not, but we are all in the same boat. Those people who seem to be so happy with their lives – they are just really good at faking it. Chances are they probably envy you just like you envy them.

If you are truly happy it means you are dead. You will never achieve that idyllic state of happiness you see on TV. No matter how rich and successful you are, you will never, ever be fully content with your life.

The grass ALWAYS appears greener on the other side. That’s just how we are wired as humans. It is an optical illusion built into our ocular system. Things that are further away look better than the ones near by. This way you will always want that thing over there rather than this thing over here. Think about it. This dissatisfaction with our lives is what drives us to constantly improve ourselves. It is the hidden force behind out civilization and all scientific progress. We got where we are as a human race because we are never satisfied. We always want something more, and we always want something better. This is what separates us from animals.

Let’s make a thought experiment. Imagine that one day you woke up and realized you are perfectly content – that there is nothing more you could ever want or need, that you fulfilled all your hopes and dreams – what would you do next?

I tell you what you would do. You would instantly come up with a new list of hopes, dreams and needs you didn’t even know you had. You would develop new ambitions, new drives. Then you would re-adjust your aim, and immediately come to a conclusion that your life sucks.

Yup, your life will always suck. Till the day you die, your life will seem suckier and less fulfilling than the life of your friend, your coworker or your neighbor. And there is nothing you can do about it. Well… You could sit in a corner and cry, but how is that going to help?

On the upside, everyone else is exactly the same way. Their lives suck just as much as yours. They are not better off than you. Well, some of them are, but they are not really happy about it. Chances are they would switch places with you in a blink of an eye. And if not with you, then with someone else they know.

So next time you see someone who seems happy and content, remember that they are just as frustrated and disappointed with their bullshit life as you are. They are just good liars.

The point is, that every once in a while you should stop and appreciate what you have. I mean, it’s all shit – but it’s your shit. It might not be as good as your friends’ shit, but it is better than having no shit at all. And there is probably someone out there who would love have your shit for themselves.

I’m not saying you should stop trying to get better shit. You should always strive to better yourself, and improve your life. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy what you have as you work for something better. You can be both profoundly dissatisfied with your life, and enjoy every second of it at the same time.

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13 Responses to Grass is always greener on the other side

  1. Alphast NETHERLANDS Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Man, your life sucks even more than mine… ;-)

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  2. “Things that are further away look better than the ones near by.”

    Good from far, but far from good?

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  3. mcai8sh4 UNITED KINGDOM Google Chrome Linux Terminalist says:

    “Things that are further away look better than the ones near by.”

    Like a lot of women, they look attractive until you get closer to them (I call them ‘low resolution’)

    Seriously though – quite a thought provoking post, and rather comforting.

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  4. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    Heh! Low resolution women!

    The truth is that we are all low resolution in one way or another. We all dress up and are on our best behavior when we go out there. It’s only when you get comfortable enough around each other to let your guard down, and let your real self shine through you find out whether or not this person is actually going to drive you insane or not.

    The key is to find someone who has the least annoying set of flaws, stupid habits and nasty personality traits. Find someone who you can love for their flaws – that seems to be a good strategy.

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  5. Daosus UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox SuSE Linux says:

    I just ate a reuben sandwich. I am content for now. Simple pleasures, and all that :D

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  6. IceBrain PORTUGAL Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    You would instantly come up with a new list of hopes, dreams and needs you didn’t even know you had. You would develop new ambitions, new drives. Then you would re-adjust your aim, and immediately come to a conclusion that your life sucks.

    Some people couldn’t do that, but they didn’t become happy forever – many had high objectives and thought they were going to be happy when they achieve them. What happened was they lost any life purpose which turned them miserable.

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  7. Mart SINGAPORE Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    I believe it is important for one to be contented with what one has, but keep striving for greater heights at the same time. It’s not easy of course, as they are contradictory in nature, and to do one is to neglect the other.

    So, as with all aspects in life, balance is the key.

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  8. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    @ Daosus: There you go. That is the good attitude here. :)

    @ IceBrain: Very true. If you can’t come up with new goals or dreams, you will be simply be dissatisfied with your life but no longer have anything to look forward too.

    This might be why a lot of these famous celebrities become so fucked up at the height of their careers.

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  9. Wikke BELGIUM Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    If I may give 1 tip for a less sucky live:

    Be happy with the smaller things in live: A walk in the forest, a good cup of coffee and a biscuit on a saturday morning, the first snow/sunshine of the year, cuddling with your girlfriend/wife/ …

    The best things in live are not for sale!

    (Of course I don’t mean to live in complete apathy, live with the world!)

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  10. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    @ Wikke: Yup. That’s sort of the point I was trying to make. Enjoy the little things in life.

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  11. Matt` UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    I’m already happy with my shit … do I get a cookie? Oh wait, look at that, I already have a cookie. Damn, life is good when there are cookies.

    My secret? I don’t really have the same “want stuff” urge. I mean, it’s probably there somewhere, but it tends not to bug me too hard… I still occasionally feel like I should do more, but I get by and it doesn’t nag at me too hard. Every so often I scratch that itch by doing something “worthwhile” and then I’m fine.

    I do have goals, I hope they will be fulfilled eventually, but I’m not too worried because I’m pretty sure they will be. I’m not saying aim low (aiming low would lead to achieving less than you could have, which would lead to regrets) but aiming at something that you’re confident you’re actually capable of sure helps.

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  12. AztecPyramid UNITED STATES Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Nice write up.

    I am currently clawing myself out of losing my motivation, my drive, my want for better, my confidence …. I do not know how it happened but, around 2 years ago I started losing all of that.

    I had always been someone with hope, aspirations and drive to go to work and make things better. Also, I was happy with life in general.

    Somehow I became miserable, irritable and lost my sense of responsibility, which lead to me losing my job. As a result as have less shit now than I used to have and that and my current inavility to provide for my family led to a deep depression, the one I am clawing my way out of right now.

    Your article is something I needed to read, thank you for wrtiting it.

    George G

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  13. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    @ AztecPyramid: Hey, I’m glad my post helped, even if only a little bit. :)

    Hang in there man. Incidentally, watch this video. In it, Ze Frank explains the science behind happiness – and the fact that it is actually mostly a state of mind thing – it is only somewhat related to what is actually going on in your life.

    So, if you try to always look at the bright side of life you may actually find a way to be moderately happy and content even in the direst circumstances.

    I hope things work out for you. :)

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