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Most People Aren’t Responsible Enough to Fully Enjoy Life

Overconsumption is the norm — and so is dissatisfaction

Mugen: (glug glug) Give me another.

Shop Owner: Sorry, mister, but I’m afraid that’s all [your money] will buy ya.

Shoryu: Excuse me. Have some of mine.

Mugen: Hmm?

Shoryu: I insist the true joy of sake comes only when one is slightly tipsy. But I’ve had a little too much to drink tonight. Go ahead.

-Samurai Champloo

The above is a simple representation of the two types of people in the world.

Those who know how to truly enjoy life, and those who turn a good thing into a bad thing by overindulgence.

I was speaking with a friend of mine this morning, and we were discussing whether or not, if given the choice, we would spend all our days watching TV, playing video games, and relaxing.

That’s the common consensus, right? That’s the goal: to be so rich, you can finally relax all day in front of the TV.

No more job. No more hard work. No more obligations or responsibilities.

The rabid desire for this lifestyle is part of why trying to win the lottery is still so popular. This is an integral core of the mass-driven definition of success: money, fame, and the ability to sip mojitos on a white, sandy beach all day.

But this overindulged relaxation isn’t what life should be like.

In the words of Benjamin Foley:

“The goal of life is not to relax on the beach, sipping mojitos all day. The purpose is to find something you love that adds value to the world.”

Most people are too irresponsible to fully enjoy life and its pleasures.

Most People Are Gluttons

One of the most important reasons why most people will never be successful is because they’re gluttons.

Most people take anything that gives pleasure — alcohol, drugs, sex, TV, sleeping in, watching TV, eating — and overdo it.

Through overindulgence, these gifts become a curse. What was meant to be enjoyed becomes harmful.

Most people think the benefits and positive feelings of pleasure will last despite overconsumption. The initial high must continue, despite consuming unhealthy amounts. Right?

In the iconic series The Twilight Zone, there’s an episode about a vain man who is obsessed with gaining money, gambling, and winning.

After a botched bank robbery, the man ends up in what he thinks is heaven. Everything is free — he can have all the money he wants. When he gambles, he always wins. Women flock to him in admiration.

But soon, the boredom of overconsumption begins to depress him. The man begs his guardian angel to take him away from heaven and go to “the other place” so he can actually experience a thrill.

His angel then informs him where he is isn’t heaven at all — it is “the other place.”

Most people sour good things into curses through overconsumption.

What was supposed to bring freedom actually becomes a prison.

The Initial Feeling Won’t Last

“We need to learn to live ‘inside the box’ of our human limitations. The pleasure system is inside that box, and when we abuse it, when we over-stimulate it or tax it beyond its capabilities, we should not be surprised if we begin to have difficulty finding real joy in anything.” -Dr. Archibald Hart

The truth is, you are unable to derive pleasure and enjoyment if you overuse something meant to be experienced in moderation.

Watching an episode or two of your favorite show is fun and relaxing. But most people mistakenly think this feeling will last over ten episodes in one sitting. “Wow, this feels great — imagine what watching 4 hours of TV will feel like!

A little bit of social media is a great way to connect with friends and loved ones. But extended overuse of it can result in anxiety, depression, and self-loathing.

Studies show that drinking 2–3 drinks is about as much as someone can while still increasing their energy and thrill.

But people mistakenly think that simply drinking more = more enjoyment.

After your 2–3rd drink, alcohol begins to depress your system — you become slower, more lethargic, and tired. What at first energized you leaves you drained and depressed.

This is true for almost every pleasure in life:

What is good at first becomes bad through overconsumption.

Most people aren’t responsible enough to fully enjoy life. This requires discipline, moderation, and personal responsibility — rare traits in today’s world.

This is one of the key reasons why so many people experience sadness, depression, anxiety, and emptiness on a daily basis. They may blame these uncomfortable feelings on external factors, but overindulgence of good things becomes sour.

To quote the age-old adage:

“Too much of a good thing…”

You know the rest.

Most people are too irresponsible to enjoy the pleasures in life because they overdo it.

In Conclusion

Overconsumption is the norm.

“Bingeing” (on anything — alcohol, TV, food, etc.) is common. Moderation and discipline are outcast as archaic, unpopular behaviors reserved for monks in faraway countries.

But just as overdoing these pleasures is the norm, so is the result — depression, anxiety, dissatisfaction, and emptiness.

All the things that make life wonderful and connect us with each other are best used in moderation. That is the “sweet spot.” Overdoing it just causes pain and a desire to numb more.

A life of relaxation and watching TV all day might be some people’s definition of success, but that life is unfulfilling and empty.

It is actually the struggle — to practice discipline, to become a better version of yourself, to serve others — that is what defines fulfillment and success.

Don’t fall for the trap. Don’t just go along with how everyone else behaves.

Instead, experience true fulfillment and joy through operating under the rules everyone else just ignores — moderation, discipline, and acting rightly.

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Anthony Moore

Anthony Moore

Writer for CNBC, Business Insider, Fast Company, Thought Catalog, Yahoo! Finance, and you. Come say hey. anthonymoore.co