People crave comfort, security and ease. We have a long history of attempting to make life an easier ride. We call it “progress”. Towards what?
Just like anyone else, I appreciate when something like communication or transportation or design is made easier through technology. That type of innovation enables me to more of what I believe is worth doing. And it keeps me more connected to those I love.
But mixed with this wave of increased efficiency and productivity there arises a tendency to always search for the easiest way to get to the finish line. We’ve developed a culture and set of habits around finding the easiest solutions to life and walking away from challenges we know we can just avoid altogether.
Even outside privileged societies, we see the pull towards easy. I see it in the villages and slums of Africa all the way to Sunset Boulevard and Trafalgar Square. People crave easy. They seek it out. They compromise goals and aspirations in the pursuit of it.
Relationships aren’t easy. They come with challenges. The beauty is found in how we overcome those challenges together and grow closer in the process. We discover who we truly are. The experience on the other side of challenge is profound. And it’s only found on the other side. There’s no easier way to get there.
I don’t want an easy life. Sure, I want easy when it comes to an all-in-one tool or access to a film or music. But I don’t want my life to be so easy that I forget to feel and think. Eight years ago I chose to live in East Africa because easy is not readily available (though you can certainly find it here, too). You have to struggle through the day to accomplish your goals. Along the way, life smacks you in the face enough to keep you alive and thinking and feeling.
The struggle brings out the best of who I am, or can be. Without it, I’m just a shell, merely existing.
We formulate rules and regulations and beliefs that create sort of a fish bowl environment where we can keep most of life at bay. We’re safe and secure in our little “easy bowl”. We adapt to the bowl and make it our home. When something threatens that environment, we fight to keep it going. Preservation of the easy life replaces the quest for the extraordinary.
As a society, we’ve figured out how to create and foster an environment that suits our desire to take the easiest, most comfortable path. It allows us to disconnect from humanity. The easy bowl spares us from having to think at all.
Too much easy takes you out of the experience of life. It makes us dull and disconnected. It reduces the amount of choices we have to make. In our quest for easy, we’ve insured mediocrity.
Fortunately, the easy bowl is a choice. We can just as….easily choose a life of adventure, challenge, connection, engagement and conversation that urges us towards a more extraordinary experience.