A long time ago, probably back in like ’95, performers were people that had mastered a particular craft, and enough people enjoyed watching for them to make a living off it. They were called singers or actors, even magicians and athletes. They were the pinnacle of entertainment and we cherished their abilities and penchant for allowing us to escape the banalities of everyday life. But those days are long gone.
It’s not that those professions no loner exist. Rather, they no longer have an exclusive grip on the term performer. Like it or not, in today’s world we’re all performers. We cross the threshold into performance art the moment we surrender our personal info to Mark Zuckerberg in exchange for the opportunity to broadcast the rosiest parts of our existence to an ever-expanding network of people we sort of know but don’t really care about, and also our grandmothers.
By rosiest parts I mean that the motivation behind most of what we broadcast to the world is convincing it that we are straight up crushing this whole life thing.
Let’s be honest with each other for a second. We want people to think we’re awesome. You do, I do, so let’s not kid each other. Whether it’s a status about your new promotion or that picture you took with Dan Bilzerian where you refer to him as your ‘Boy Danny B’ we showcase life’s high points as a way to validate our inherent confidence and suppress our insecurities. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, so long as we understand the superficial nature of our efforts.
But when we blur the line between innocuous self-aggrandizing and genuine personal fulfillment, we become dependent on the dopamine-fueled highs that accompany the positive affirmations received in response to our performance. And that need for acknowledgement is not a whole lot different than other forms of dangerous addiction. More importantly, it’s an impossible place from which to derive true happiness.
Happiness is a tricky and elusive concept. It’s one of the only things we can unanimously agree we desire, yet we have an entire spectrum for its definition. And while the incessant media blitz of our hyper-connected modern world would lead you to believe it can only be attained through the accumulation of egregious wealth and big ticket items, psychology and basic logic prove that happiness isn’t created by these kinds of external forces. In fact, those achievements may well in fact be antithetical to legitimate fulfillment.
So let’s take a few moments to dispelled a few of the common myths about how we find happiness: