In Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, he talks about this guy… He was a mega-talented guitarist, who was going to take over the world with his new band. The band had just been signed to a record label and on the verge of recording the band’s first album, he got kicked out. He was done. Sent packing. ‘Take it easy, buddy’.
The band he got kicked out was Metallica. And the guy’s name was Dave Mustaine.
Mustaine then started a new band, mostly out of spite and rage and multiple Fuck Yous flying everywhere towards Metallica. That band became Megadeth. And even though they’ve sold 25 million records and are considered gods of Metal, he still feels like a failure. Because, as Manson says, his metric of whether he was a success or a failure was ‘be more popular than Metallica’.
On the other hand, there was another dude who was kicked out of another band. Days before recording their first album, Pete Best was kicked out of his band. That band was The Beatles.
The difference is the bar both those guys set for themselves. Mustaine always felt like a failure because he never beat Metallica. Best, however, in an interview in 1994 said, ‘I’m happier than I would have been with The Beatles.’ Best said that what happened with The Beatles lead to him meeting his wife and having children (while still touring and recording music too). His values changed, he lowered the bar, and he was happier for it.
Striving for more and more and more and more has a long list of casualties. But wanting no more than you already have is how you live a good life.
The lower your limbo bar is set, the more stoked you are if you execute it (life) correctly.
And that’s not to say ambition is worthless. But an ambition to learn, to improve, to take joy in the process (not the result) and to be present could be the most valuable ambitions you can have. Noone else but you then controls your happiness.
In a couple weeks, I’m experimenting doing a week of living in poverty. So if my wife and I ever go bankrupt, and actually need to live that way, it won’t be so new.
The rules of my experiment are going to be: No electricity, no phone, no internet*, no TV, no cars or public transport, walking the 9.2km to and from work every day, cooking on the fire, eating nothing but tuna or $2 cans of spaghetti for dinner (or things similar in price), drinking only water, sleeping in the backyard (in a swag), showering only in the ocean or at the beachside showers, and only wearing glasses (no contacts – a luxury item).
Initially I thought only wearing glasses for the experiment is stupid. I hate wearing glasses, and love having contacts (no encumbrances, full comfort and and full peripheral vision), but then I realised, that’s the point. To not live in luxury. But then, are glasses luxury too?
So I might lower the bar even further. What if I didn’t wear contacts or even glasses?My eyesight is -4.00 in each eye. So things are pretty blurry without glasses on or lenses in, but what if I could just be grateful to not be blind? To just be thankful for being able to see anything at all? Walking around not seeing things in detail is a million times better than walking around not seeing anything at all.
If you lower the bar, the successes, the moments of happiness and periods of contentment in your life become much more profound.
*Besides using the library’s internet to post here everyday