Many people think it’s human nature to be competitive and that a natural result of that competitiveness is to push others to the margins. Those that end up on top, deserve to be on top. Hard work and grit is all it takes.
The American Dream is accessible to all, regardless of where you were born.
We have been telling ourselves this false narrative since the dawn of agricultural society when the concepts of possession, property, and hierarchy slithered into our societal structures dividing our communities and choking our humanity.
But the truth is, as our society has “progressed”, we’ve paid a dear price for that progress. As Christopher Ryan explains in Civilized To Death: The Price Of Progress, humans have been continuously moving away from societal structures and values that provided everyone with the life we fantasize about today.
Our hunter-gatherer ancestors lived in a proverbial Garden of Eden, with more than enough food to go around, close communities, truly egalitarian societies where every person is equal to every other person, and ample free time to spend in the company of those you love.
Since then, society has morphed in unrecognizable ways.
We’ve created our own cages, through the construction of societal structures that are at odds with what humans need to be happy. While technology has made the world more connected on a global scale, on an individual scale humans are feeling more isolated than ever before.
Although we’re surrounded by people, we feel alone.
According to the World Health Organization, depression and anxiety are skyrocketing. By 2030, this will be the number one health risk on earth, outranking obesity.
There is an urgent need to invent a new path.
We have been making choices as a society that in isolation appeared wise, without stepping back to see their cumulative effect. The price we’ve paid is steep, trading our connection, security, and happiness.
Unfortunately, the status quo is a formidable foe.
In business, and in life, “what gets measured gets done”.
Until we start measuring and valuing the things that bring us happiness as the most accurate measure of success, we’ll be stuck in a losing rat race, foolishly rushing farther away from Paradise is a misguided effort that strengthens our cages of isolation, depression, and anxiety.