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Shatter Your Entire View Of Health

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October 8, 2023 | Max Jenkinson

How To Not Be Fake In A Fake World

In 2015 something strange happened.

Since the 1960s the average weight has steadily increased. In 1960, the average American man weighed 166.3 lbs, and the average woman 140 lbs.

In 2015, the average weight for American women reached that of males in 1960.

We are fat and only getting fatter. With rising rates of obesity comes a host of diseases, one of the major ones being diabetes.

In 2021, semaglutide, a drug created to treat diabetes came out on the market. In the past year, it has become increasingly popular.

Tech leaders, TikTok Stars, and celebrities have all come out promoting the new drug.

It’s main selling point – rapid weight loss.

The Danish company Novo Nordisk behind the drug has been so profitable that it is responsible for most of Denmark’s economic growth.

The side effects of the drug are not yet understood. Despite this, it is not surprising that the drug grew in popularity among celebrities and social media stars. Both are in the business of improving the external status as fast as possible.

The shift to creating a popular facade has led our culture down a dark path, creating a society of sick, unhealthy, and unhappy people.

We no longer value effort, hard work, or internal virtues like wisdom, temperance, or gratitude.

It’s all about what we can externally show to the world. Money, looks, material success, and followers.

If we can turn this trend around we can do the simple but hard work of creating a society with healthy, wise, and happy people.

Improving our facade might help us in short-term games like social media. But, if we instead focus on improving what is beneath the facade, ourselves, it will help us in the long run.

Let’s get into what went wrong and how we fix it.

 

We messed up a generation

At the age of eight, a teacher printed out a poster to put in my room. The poster read “You are okay just the way you are.”

I heard this and similar saying often as a child.

Now, this may sound like something you would want to tell children. Self-acceptance is important for well-being, we know this.

The problem is that it’s only a half-truth. When it comes to cliches nuance needs to be added, otherwise the message gets lost.

When results are based on half-truths they usually turn out sour. And that’s what happened to kids like me.

In the 90s the self-esteem movement took over the school systems and eventually parenting.

The idea was that self-esteem was correlated with many positive outcomes or rather the lack of negative ones.

  • Violence

  • Drug abuse

  • Teen pregnancy

  • Welfare dependence

So, logically, If we could give children self-esteem at an early age they would develop into good people.

The movement tried to increase self-esteem by making the focus, the end goal. What it failed to realize is that self-esteem is a by-product.

Self-esteem and self-worth as with any other positive feelings about oneself is, and should be, founded in reality.

When they are not they become a facade based on external validation. A fragile one that is entirely controlled by things outside of one’s control.

Telling children that they can achieve anything as long as they believe in themselves is not productive. Unless you teach them how to act in a way that makes them confident in themselves.

Positive feeling about oneself is always related to how one acts.

What we did to kids starting in the 90s was create individuals who feel entitled. Entitled to self-esteem, happiness, success, and other positive outcomes without the related work.

 

How We Became Quick-Fix Oriented

I like to view the quick-fix mindset as developing by an attack from multiple fronts. But let’s look at three of importance here.

  1. The values we instilled in our children

  2. The atheistic reductionistic view of humans

  3. The introduction of social media and its algorithms

Misled kids (now adults)

The self-esteem movement unfortunately created entitled, narcissistic individuals. These individuals think the world around them should change to facilitate their success and happiness (I was one of them).

Gratitude and valuing hard work were thrown out of the window. If people had more or were better it was not because of effort but because of unfairness.

Reductionistic atheism

With the rise of medicine the view that humans work like machines became mainstream. If something is wrong, we find out what part is malfunctioning and we fix it.

This is the common view our health care system has. It forgot the holistic view of humans as integrated beings of body, mind, and soul.

Why?

It was associated with a religious view. The scientific community and thus medicine were rebelling against religion. So, it threw out the baby with the bath water.

However, by doing this we lost something. We lost the philosophy that the human mind is a consequence of the body, and the body is a consequence of the mind.

The philosophy has now been proven time and time again to be correct.

By taking a hard stance against religion we also lost something else, the moral philosophy that comes with it. We stopped contemplating what it means to be a good person.

The personal responsibility for one’s own well-being was slowly lost.

  • Our responsibility for our bodies was outsourced to the healthcare system.

  • Our responsibility for the mind was outsourced to therapists and psychologists.

  • And our spirit was outsourced to no one.

Social media (& its algorithms)

In The Coddling of The American Mind, psychologist Jonathan Haidt describes how we failed an entire generation in great detail.

A generation of entitled youth that thinks that the world should serve them what they “deserve” on a silver platter.

And we (I am a part of it) did not think this because we are more narcissistic than the last generation. We think it because it is what we were told.

I deserve the best. I am not worse than anyone. I am okay just the way I am. It is not illogical of me to conclude that it is unfair that other people have more than me.

We taught kids that positive feeling about oneself is subjective and thus we just need to learn to accept ourselves.

But, this is a very hard thing to do as we are social creatures that generate most of our self-worth from our perceived worth to others.

So, what do we do?

Well, what any logical person would do, we try to increase our “worth” in the fastest way possible.

Filters on social media, massive amounts of makeup, butt lifts, fillers, expensive clothes, liposuction, drugs.

Social media amplified our new tendency to value outcomes instead of the work required to get there. It made us constantly reminded of what we lack without showing the effort required to get there.

Social media incentivizes improving our facade and not ourselves because it is now the facade we show the world. In one-to-one interaction, this does not work but online it is the game we play.

 

You are messed up but you don’t have to be

We started viewing humans as machines and lost the holistic view of human beings as integrated individuals of body, mind, and soul.

We became more materialistically focused. Instead of valuing the character of people, we started valuing external signs of status (the facade, the fake).

This inclination was amplified first by the invention of the internet and then exponentially by the rise of social media.

At the same time as all of this was going on we instilled destructive values into a generation of kids. Values that made them susceptible to the worst parts of this new fake culture.

The lost focus on being a good person along with the lack of valuing effort. This left kids alone in a landscape of materialistic incentives.

Kids used to want to be policemen, firefighters, politicians, lawyers, or doctors because these professions were valued in society.

Now kids overwhelmingly want to be social media stars.

You were screwed by the times you grew up in. But so was everyone else. It is not an excuse to not do something about it.

People from horrible circumstances change the world for the better every day. Your childhood was probably better than every single one of your ancestors.

Take responsibility and cure yourself of the faulty values that were instilled in you. Instilled when you had no mental protection against them.

Let’s repair your internal value structure so that you can become something beautiful. The repair takes a long time, your entire life in fact.

But, what else would you do with your time if not create the most beautiful expression of you possible?

 

An Antidote to Your Destructive Programming

Our unfortunate quick-fix mindset emerged from an attack from three sides.

  1. The values we instilled in our children

  2. The atheistic reductionistic view of humans

  3. The introduction of social media and its algorithms

This is a three-step process to at least start to repair the mindset that keeps us unhappy and unhealthy.

Step 1: The Quick-Fix Mindset – Become Process oriented

Video games have linear progress built in. Meaning for one unit of work you get one unit of progress (usually experience points).

Life does not work this way. In the real world, progress is not linear. It works in mysterious ways.

James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, has a concept he calls the Plateau of Latent Potential. It says that effort and results are not linearly linked.

Instead, depending on what you do the results will come but it might take a while. You might work for days, weeks, or even years before the results catch up with the work.

His main point is that effort is never wasted but is instead stored. If we keep putting in the effort in one direction the results will come and the results usually come fast once they start emerging.

This is why we have the idea of an overnight success. Usually, these people have put in insane amounts of effort before they all of a sudden become global successes.

Nothing is as easy as it seems. Remember I said social media is a short-term game. Well, most successful social media careers are successful because they play a long-term game instead.

They put in consistent effort without taking shortcuts so they can sustain the work required to keep growing for decades.

Playing the short game might pay off but usually only during short periods of time.

Expand your horizon far into the future when you are aiming at results or goals. Then become a lover of the process that gets you there.

It is in the process we live so learn to love it. and if you don’t love it, change it.

Step 2: Viewing Humans as Machines – Become religious

You won’t need to subscribe to a particular religion. What I am getting at here is that you somehow need to get in touch with your religious side, your spirit.

Start asking religious questions. Start trying to answer them. Start your journey of getting to know yourself, your true self, the one beneath the facade.

When your physical health suffers so does your mental health and vice versa.

If you value your well-being why aren’t you taking the steps to be healthy?

You are not a machine, you are an integrated being of mind, body, and soul. Work on all three to create the harmony you seek.

A fierce mind, robust body, and flourishing soul are what you should strive for. Neglecting any of them or outsourcing them to others is a sure way toward something really bad.

Step 3: The Social Media Trap – Compare Yourself to You Yesterday

This step is stolen from Jordan Peterson’s 12 rules for life. It’s one of the rules that has stuck with me for a very long time.

You are going to live with yourself as long as you live. You are the person in the way of your own success. Your well-being is largely up to you.

Humans have a tendency to compare themselves to other people in similar places within status hierarchies. Think socio-economic, location, job, or degree of education.

As we move up in the world we continue to compare ourselves to people who are on the same level as us.

If we derive our well-being and self-worth in relation to others it will always tend on the negative side.

This is why billionaires still seek more money and more expensive things. They are comparing themselves to other slightly richer billionaires.

If you instead derive your well-being and self-worth in comparison to you in the past, all of a sudden your well-being is in your control.

All you have to do is improve over time (which, as we talked about before, is one of the most important aspects of a happy human).

On one shoulder sits an angel, a part of you that wants what is best for you and everyone else over time. On the other sits a devil, a part of you that only wants what is most satisfying to you right now.

You are in a battle against yourself and no one else. It is up to you who wins. The battle never stops. It is an endless war of good and evil internal to every human being.

Side with the good as often as you can and become a person that you are proud of.

 

Your programming is evolutionary. It also comes from your society, your city, your neighborhood, your friend group, and your family. Today a large part of it comes from what you see online.

Your job is to figure out what programming is not serving you and either replace it or debug that shit.

Your happiness, your impact on others, and your life are far too important to maintain destructive programming that is keeping you from becoming something beautiful.

I truly believe that all humans can become an almost diving expression of themselves. Something so truly beautiful that we’d all look at it in awe.

Then again, it requires massive amounts of effort, and as long as you are programmed to not value the effort you won’t even get close.

Remove yourself from what is maintaining your destructive programming.

You deserve it and so does the rest of the world.

As always, until next Sunday, do what makes your future selves proud.

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Shatter Your Entire View Of Health

Join others getting their entire idea of what health is shattered every Sunday while reading Health Decoded.