A philosophical question to which usually no objective answer exists. Instead, you need to search it inside yourself. That’s what religious people say. My take is this: Questions beginning with “why” are backward looking. Rather look forward and ask “what” you want to do with your life and “how” it needs to be designed. That’s the reason why I founded ExperienceZone.
You are part of a community
It is called humanity. That’s a big one. So, let’s slice and dice the elephant:
First, you want to understand what human beings are: The highest developed species on our planet (maybe in the universe). If Darwin would be reborn today and walk across the Times Square in New York, he would be surprised by way humans have manipulated natural laws to accommodate our own needs (assuming he remembered his past famous life). We developed medicine to cure diseases, yet created new ones by detaching from nature – especially in terms of our diet (think food allergies and intolerances). We fly thousands of miles on jet planes in only a few hours and have even been to the moon. Yet we invented drones to surveil each other and build nuclear bombs, which can kill thousands of human beings in seconds.
Secondly, maturity brings responsibility. The more we know and can do, the more options we’ve to design our lives and the world around us. That’s exactly the problem. The more choices you’ve, the harder to choose. Consequently, many are nowadays lost; in terms of how they should live, i.e. which standards they should follow (in terms of value, moral and ethics). All of us want to be happy. Happiness is an inner state. An expression of you being in your flow. What is your flow? It’s the stream you create by following your heart. In other words: By leveraging your passions to create something sustainable. Bottom line, happiness is a result of successfully building something that lasts. In fact, we want to leave a legacy. We long to be regarded as good human beings – during our lifetime and even thereafter.
Everyone wants to be happy. We just take different measures.
Funny how nature wrote the blueprint of life in such a way that highly developed species by default develop a sense of responsibility, which is based on a value framework. Latter requires that happiness is aligned to doing good deeds with a long term perspective. That’s the theory. Yet, why do many human beings actually harm others, torture animals and exploit our planet? Reason being, their incentive schemes encourage destructive behavior. As long as we can earn money with selling animal meat and skin, we’ll hunt and kill them. As long as religious leaders preach that everyone not believing in their god, is a bad human being, we embark in religious fights. As long as there’s a market for natural resources, we engage in fragging.
How do you step up your game?
Keep your head up though. You can make a difference and thus impact the behavior of everybody else. How? By creating a plan and executing it relentlessly.
- Appreciation: Recognize the fact that you’re equipped with the most powerful tools in the universe. Your brain, heart and gut are intelligence centers, which can move mountains if you only believe in yourself and your mission. Don’t sell yourself short. You’re as important as any other human being and can win everyone over with enthusiasm. Latter is no genetic disposition but can be developed by diving deep into topic areas. The more you know about something, the more interested and thus enthusiastic you get.
- Planning: Next you want to engage in an activity, which helps you to create enthusiasm. Just sit or lay down at a quite place, close your eyes and think about the status quo of our world. Put yourself in the shoes of an extraterrestrial being observing us from outer space: How’s the planet doing? How is humanity behaving on it? How do we treat each other, animals and earth? I’m sure you find some areas of improvement. Then think about how your dream world would look like. How do the human beings behave in it? Take a bath in these beautiful pictures. The power of visualization and imagination makes you feel these two worlds. After you’ve taken the decision to live in latter, it’s time to open your eyes, take a pen and paper and write down what you’ve seen. Draw three columns: The header of the left column is called “current state”, on top of the middle one write “actions” and the one on the right goes by the name of “target state”. 3-5 bullets per column to recollect the current and target state enough. Being mentally fully aware, you can now build the bridge between them by writing down specific actions human beings can engage in to improve the situation.
- Action: Finally, hold yourself accountable for making the first step. You know the actions we need to engage in. You can start with some straightaway like picking up trash at busy city centers. Others will see you and follow your example. In parallel, you want to leverage powerful levers to have a bigger impact immediately. Those are called communities. Just do some research in the internet. You want to save the black jaguar? Great, then WWF might be an organization to join. You want to stop wale fishing in Japan? Then Greenpeace might be an option. Come up with creative ideas and then switch into action mode by connecting with people in power-positions. Many people are passive consumers nowadays. That’s your chance to become an active producer and make our world a better place. You cannot imagine how large your impact is once you’ve a plan and start to execute it.