Convenience is the future. Voice technology, AI, self-driving cars; these are all designed with one goal, or should I say, one human desire in mind - convenience. Anything that's going to save us time will be highly valued in our global marketplace, and in our everyday lives.
But convenience has no correlation with our underlying happiness. Just like money, it might be a trigger for more immediate pleasure, but it's not what we truly want. Just look at the United States - a perfect example of convenience at every corner, yet unparalleled levels of mental and physical health crises.
Is this a coincidence? I don't think so. I attribute a large part of these crises to our misguided attention on the superficial matters, including convenience, and a lack of attention on our inner states of being.
My thesis since day one of starting this blog continues to be the same:
Our misguided attention on superficial matters has led us to live unfulfilled lives, and the only cure is a long-term shift in consciousness that values substance over style.
In this case, style is convenience, and substance is your inner well-being.
Don't confuse the two
We continue to confuse convenience for the source of our happiness. Why? Because most of us are conditioned so that when things are easy and convenient, we get a quick burst of pleasure. Then we erroneously attribute that pleasure to happiness.
We think: "That's it! That was easy! I want more of that, even if I have to pay more! Heck, now I'll just earn more so that I can pay for convenience!"
I'm here to tell you, more convenience does not equal more happiness, and happiness is what you're really after. Behind everything you think you want is the same thing - a feeling of uplifting energy, love, peace, enthusiasm. These are all inner states. Everything on your list of wants, including convenience, is something in the outside world that you expect to trigger in your own inner world.
Convenience is just another trigger
When something is convenient, it saves us time. We like that. We like the feeling of getting back time from things we don't care about so that we can focus on things that matter. In short, convenience triggers temporary feelings of well-being, but that's the point. It triggers them. And they're temporary. It doesn't point to the source.
I recently wrote about triggers versus the source, and how most of our lives are spent in efforts to arrange the people, places, and things around us so that we maximize our triggers for happiness and minimize our triggers for discomfort. The whole effort of doing this is what makes us miserable. It's why we feel like life is a constant struggle.
Convenience is no different. Like all triggers, there's nothing inherently wrong with them. Money is money. Convenience is convenience. They can all be used for the greater good. That's not the point. The point is that we don't realize that we're spending our lives trying to manipulate reality in hopes that we get the triggers we want, and avoid the ones we don't want.
Reality is big. Reality is omnipotent. Our influence on it is minuscule at best. We need to wake up to this fact. We don't control the weather. We don't control the people around us. We don't control what happens to our loved ones. We have very, very little control over the events that unfold around us. Perhaps a tiny sliver, and that's it.
To prove it, look around. Did you make the device you're holding? Did you invent the computer? Did you build the building you find yourself in now? Did you give birth to the people around you? Were you in charge of their upbringing and therefore their psyche?
If you stop and think about it, you really have nothing to do with almost everything around you. If you weren't there, chances are, it still would be. And yet you're trying to bend reality, all the time, so that it comes into your being in such a way that it doesn't bother you.
Now you see why life is a struggle.
Convenience is not the answer
I invite you to reframe your quest for joy to be about your inner states, not about how convenient your life can become. Recognize that many things are already extremely convenient in today's day and age, yet unhappiness is at an all-time high.
Just ask yourself these simple questions. Has convenience given you unconditional fulfillment? Has convenience taken away all your problems? Or, has convenience just made a few things in your life more convenient?
It's nice to be able to browse the world's information from your phone. It's nice to not even have to pick up your phone and instead just talk to it. It's nice to get virtually any food or product delivered to your door.
All of these things are great. But in your quest for convenience, don't forget that convenience is just style. It's just comfort on the outer shell. It's not going to give you the life you really want. When we begin to rely too much on convenience, we forget what truly matters underneath, which is the essence of who we are. That essence, that soul, is just trying to be okay.
Live with substance!