The word mundane feels boring, as it is meant to be boring. Almost all of us hate the mundane. We’re always trying to go towards newer, shinier, flashier things. We all want to do everything and have everything, but this easily sends us down a spiral of chaos with no clear escape.
Maybe the cages of the mundane are the path to real freedom and power. This sounds confusing, so put your seatbelts on. This will be a bumpy ride and we’ll go past many uncomfortable obstacles.
Reining in the horses -
In our lives, everyone’s suffered analysis-paralysis and the paradox of choice in some form. We want to do everything in a day, but end up hardly doing anything. This is due to an unhealthy type of overstimulation.
Imagine a wagon being pulled by many horses. When each horse runs in different directions, it’ll only destroy the wagon. Only when we rein in all the horses and get them moving together in the same direction, at the same speed, can the wagon reach its intended destination, or even anywhere.
The wagon is metaphorically who we are and the horses are the parts of our mind. We like to think we are in control of ourselves, but parts of our minds run towards anything that momentarily attracts it. Like horses ditching the wagon to chase, . . . whatever horses want.
Is it even possible to have this level of control over our minds in our era where we’re constantly bombarded with new shiny objects everywhere? These flashing fantasies are attractive for a reason.
Our minds are a commodity -
For any industry to exist in the current economy, it needs to be good in the attention industry. Cracking the code to this sector is the easiest path to riches in any field. But it’s worse than blood money.
The commodity that’s bought and sold in this attention industry is us. Human minds can easily be played around like puppets with good creativity and understanding basic, practical psychology. Our attention is a commodity, maybe the most valuable thing in the human world.
How would you feel if people bought and sold your body like an object on the market? We’d hate it and do our best to fight back. But we let our minds get bought and sold by everything around us.
The words and actions of those around us, people on the media, the world, and social networks are all getting reactions from us. Most of these reactions are addictive, harmful, and unwanted. And these addictions spiral down to chaos.
We give our minds to everything and anything as they are designed to do that. Humans as social animals have evolved to compare and know what others are doing, thinking, and saying. We can own and control our minds only through radical responsibility. This can scare many people when it’s explained further down in this article.
Shiny object reality -
There’s a common proverb that says – All that glitters is not gold. But what’s the reality behind an object like gold? It’s coveted by humans from thousands of years the world over. It’s a symbol of wealth and riches, but what practical function does it serve?
It’s just a status symbol that has no functional value. We can use a machine or a technological device to do a lot of things, while most shiny objects are just pieces put on display. They’re props for ego-boosting and entitlement.
In our money-hungry world, anything can become a shiny object when it’s packaged with a marketable narrative. This gives us a delusional sense of reality where we care more about what others think, rather than what is practical and logical for humanity.
Whatever shiny object we have, we’ll always tell ourselves that someone else has something better. That’s because the media exposes everything to everyone, with narratives that are designed to sell. This leads to problems more damaging than we want to imagine. But there is hope, despite it being painful in a good way.
The never-ending hunt that never starts -
Ever wondered why we chase many things that we want and still feel unsatisfied after getting it? Or why we want many things and don’t get them? Or maybe about why we want all the things we want?
It’s simple, we want what we don’t have. And maybe we can never have enough because we won’t ever like whatever we have. Our day-to-day lives are boring, hard, and difficult. We all look for escapism in many socially accepted ways – money, wealth, materials, stories, fantasies.
We’re designed to always be unsatisfied with the recurring basic parts of our lives. So, we run, and keep running. When our escapism becomes boring, we look at others’ escapism and get hooked onto it.
The hunt goes on throughout all our lives, even if we never start it. We either dream about the hunt or start it to never conquer our perfect White Whale, letting our egos devour us like Ahab.
But, we can’t give up hope and just die, right? There has to be something more, something greater, you’d want to think. In reality, nope. Everyone in our lives, including ourselves, will eventually die and be forgotten to time. That’s actually a good thing as it leads to a greater power: A power that can’t be bought. A power that can’t be stolen. But a power everyone can own through facing a type of hardship we’re all trying to escape from.
Radical ownership -
Try considering that the only real object we can ever own is our minds. When we own our minds like a piece of property, it’s in our control. Or rather, we own it by controlling it like any material property.
Imagine anything unexpected or unwanted happens to your material property. You can blame others and even try seeking the help of the law. But, it’s fundamentally your responsibility as you own it.
It’s the same way with our minds. Mark Manson contradicts the classic Uncle Ben quote in the Spidey stories and writes that with great responsibility comes great power, not the other way around. It’s not a comforting explanation, but it’s realistic.
Responsibility conventionally makes us think about who’s at fault for an issue. On a broader, realistic level, responsibility is more than what we’d like it to be. Everyone’s responsible for everything they do. Our actions, thoughts, and words are in our control. Truly owning our minds equates to taking full responsibility for it.
None of us would want to own a mundane property. What we don’t realize is that our minds aren’t a shiny object. Our minds are the most functional property we can ever own in our arsenal if we can rein it in. This requires facing what seems like an ugly reality but is more rewarding than any fancy trend.
We gravitate towards an unstable chaotic lifestyle as it feels easy. The rogue, messed-up protagonists sell well in all mediums of storytelling as it is packaged as freedom.
But do any of these rogue, chaotic characters ever feel free? They are always running away, chasing something, and escaping who they are. They want freedom as they know deep inside that they don’t have it.
We can relate to the same feeling when we don’t own ourselves. Ownership through responsibility leads to real freedom. It requires accepting ourselves for who we are, all the flaws and positives included, being brutally honest with ourselves and to others.
Being comfortable with ourselves for who we really are and taking ownership, control, responsibility for everything we do is empowering. Of course, to practically be in on this hunt requires facing another ugly truth that isn’t marketed to us.
Boring repetitions to earn the hunt -
None of us, myself included, like to do the same things every day. Repetitive work and a monotonous lifestyle appear bland. It’s not what’s marketed to us through every piece of media we consume, but it can very well be the only magic potion that’s really needed.
Our overstimulating, eternally distracted mind makes us keep doing different things every moment, every day. We try to do anything we can to escape repetitive cycles. This is a serious problem as the wagon needs all the horses working together on the same path, at the same speed. The horses won’t like that, but they need to accept their role. To rein in our mind requires facing an unattractive reality so that we(the wagons) can reach our intended destinations(goals).
Wanting to be a good writer, musician, artist, sports person, or anything else(based on your individual preferences), without liking the mundane repetitive cycles would make our desires a meaningless shiny object that we’ll never have. A musician needs to practice many hours every day to be good at his skill. A writer has to write every day to be good at his craft. Practice and routines cannot be avoided.
I’ve been running away from this, just like many others. Running away from the hunt only puts us outside the game. Repetitive work, daily routines, and constant practice in any field we’ve chosen can feel hellish. The embers of the infernos we choose to endure will fuel the engines that drive our lives. Of course, there are the fires of chaos and the flames of control. What we choose will fuel our journeys. Wait, there’s another catch to this. The practical execution of this will be the hardest part, and it is the way to earn hunt.
Embracing the mundane -
The mundane can include painful matters that are petty, trivial, worthless, and stupid. We can run far away from these matters but never really escape them. Our human nature and our social world are built around these painful realities. We can run towards other planets hoping to escape from them, but will still be stuck with it.
So, the best solution can be to rein in and take ownership of our minds while embracing the mundane. The good side of the mundane is the repetitive routines, structures, and systems that bring order to our chaos. Are escapism and chaos or peace and progress more important for us? It depends on reevaluating our priorities and values to understand ourselves better.
I did warn you many times in this article that it leads to an uncomfortable and unattractive reality. Nothing’s perfect like what we’d want. Delusions can be perfect, but it’s not real.
There is no shortcut to bag our hunt. The trail is long and boring, but enduring and staying in control during this hard work will lead to . . . something that is not delusional.
This can practically be brutal at first, just like everything that takes focus. The routines and responsibilities will make it easier if done every day. Unfortunately, the real struggle is in doing it every day.
Structures, routines, and repetitions give us a sense of control. It makes us feel in charge, which leads to better professional results. If you want examples, notice an employed person or a school student in your family/locality/friends circles. They are less worried and feel a certain level of control over their lives during times of no crises. That’s because they have to go to work or school every day to do the same things. They structure the other parts of their day to revolve around this, making it stable.
Artists, freelancers, and entrepreneurs can get this level of control through repetitive routines. Embracing the mundane by making structures and systems around our lives will lead to better productivity and results at our work.
The mundane does include fun things, but within control. Instead of running from every shiny object to another in an endless loop all the time, the mundane keeps it in check by scheduling escapism. The fun parts of life still exist, but it’s regulated, making the execution of important work a priority.
On the bright side, the difficult routines and structures we set around our professional fields will show results, eventually. These results will be more satisfying than any shiny object that momentarily excites us. When the results pour in, it’ll be time to kick chaos in the face and bask in the glory within the mundane.
Let me know what you think of this and let’s discuss in the comments. 🙂
I’m interested in learning about your views on the issues mentioned in the above article.
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