If Only Your Life Was a Little Worse

If Only Your Life Was a Little Worse
"Better grab a life jacket" by David Yahl is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

I wish your life was a little worse.

If you life just a bit more lousy, maybe you'd take the steps you need to change it for the better. If your job was just a little bit more frustrating, maybe you'd hit the breaking point to at least try to find something better. Just a tad more discomfort would go a long way.

It's so easy to get yourself trapped into a status quo that is barely comfortable enough that you live in fear that maybe this is the best you could ever have out of life. Your job has a lot of day to day bullshit but it's just not quite bad enough to push you to put in the effort to find something better. You can stretch your paycheck juuuust far enough to get through the month so you never need to change any financial habits or have any sort of fire to negotiate a raise but you're not making progress on any bigger financial goals. You're just coasting through life, and shouldn't you be grateful for that?

Things in life usually stabilize to a point where they're just good enough that everyone puts up with them. Where you feel that putting in the effort to change anything is more trouble than just dealing with the "small" annoyances every day. And while there will always be some amount of annoyance and bullshit in life, I'm quite certain you can be doing better than you are doing right now. Even small daily annoyances wear you down over time, it's well worth taking the time to minimize them. Holding yourself in stasis because you don't think you could do better is turning your life into a version of the boulder sitting under the constant dripping of a small amount of water, ever so slowly eroding you away until years from now you finally crack.

I can't tell you how many "losing my job was the best thing that ever happened to me" stories I've heard over the years and especially recently with the tech layoffs. People often need big shocks to actually kickstart a change for the better in their life. Necessity is the mother of innovation and all that. There's nothing physically stopping ourselves from making these changes in our just comfortable enough lives. But it's easy to put it off until tomorrow, next week, next year, someday... And even the annual attempts at New Year's resolutions are usually set up for failure from the start and become a distant memory within a couple of weeks.

There's plenty of downsides with the shock therapy that job loss and similar events can provide and while for some it can be the kick they needed to move on to a better life, it can also drown others in a pit of despair. So you don't need to quit your job tomorrow to start moving your life in a better direction. You can even still enjoy the perks of your comfortable enough life, you just need find the motivation to start moving in that direction and stop telling yourself this is "good enough".

The nice thing about improving your just comfortable enough life is that comfort buys you some time to move more slowly than you would have to if your life fell apart beneath you. You can brush up your resume and start the job search while still bringing in a monthly paycheck. You aren't going to go hungry if you don't find a new job right away, so you can be picky and make sure you're stepping up. But by at least looking at your potential options, you open yourself up to a better life without risking what you have right now.

And if you're happy with your job, this approach applies in all other areas of your life. You can start making progress on that novel you've always wanted to write, even if it's just 10 minutes a day you'd be surprised at the progress you can make, and how much satisfaction a small investment in building your ideal life can have.

So while maybe a worse life would motivate you to make changes for the better, if you start right now, you could just choose to starting building that better life without giving up too much of your comfort. What's stopping you?