I use Midjourney to generate some of my ideal places for working and studying.
We are sleeping less and less. Everyone naturally needs about 8 hrs of sleep per day, if not more, but now most people only sleep for about 6 hrs per day. My memory of middle school is I get super tired after the first or second class and can barely listen to what the teacher had to say. My memory of high school is struggling to get out of warm bed around 6:30 AM and being attacked by east coast cold weather. My memory of college is why on earth can’t I find a place on such a big campus just to sleep without distraction for 10 mins.
After I quit my job, there has been a period of time when I start to wake up naturally without an alarm clock at around 7 AM in the morning. It’s kind of amazing because when I was working, I was struggling until the last minute to get on the computer and start my day. That struggle has followed me throughout my “socially recognized” journey. It was inhumane.
I start to understand the perspective of other people. Why would someone quit their perspective fancy jobs and start (or even quit for) a YouTube channel? Why would my smart-arse aunt decide to not pursue a career in computer science after a year of a successful corporate job and failed start-up but instead start to do e-commerce?
The answer to the first question is obvious, but it was puzzling me when I didn’t start working. Who doesn’t want to have control over their life and schedule and earn more than they would have in the corporate world by doing projects that actually excite them? Similarly, my aunt is happy with just enough money to cover her living expense, and surrounded by cats she loves and a partner who’s good at cooking.
Can’t fool oneself into liking one’s job seems to be the tradition of my family. My mom also quit her job when she was around my age. She just can’t find any meaning in her job and she can’t pretend that she likes her job and keep working just like her other colleagues.
I was always joking that I came to the world as a lazy person survival index in this world - how lazy you could be in this era and still live a good life? Some old problems seem to be recurring over and over again in the new era. We make six figures (ironically, six figures is not enough to live in NYC anymore), and we then consume all the money by buying unnecessarily expensive food/cloth and experiences without really getting truly happy. The book ***The Molecule of More ***explained this phenomenon super well, highly recommend it to get to know more about the origin of the behavior of workaholic people. In short, people who are dopaminergic tend to find more things to do, and more people to fuck, without feeling truly happy after accomplishing their goals. They are always on their way to finding the next seemingly exciting things to do. It turns out that dopamine doesn’t give you happiness, it only raises your expectation about happiness. So one would work hard for that goal. But the promised long-last happiness would never show up after one achieved their goal.
In the Controlling Your Dopamine For Motivation, Focus & Satisfaction episode by The Huberman Lab podcast, Dr. Huberman also talks about how to lower the baseline of dopamine than trying to get dopamine hit to have a more sustainable and healthy relationship with happiness. For example, the water after exercise feels better than any beverages, the food after a day of fasting is amazingly delicious. I had this experience living in a desert for three months and everything just tastes so different in a good way in that forced scarcity environment. However, the forced scarcity environment is not enough, the secret ingredient is actually human connections. With so many things going on throughout the day with interesting people, I never had the idea to waste my money or time on other material stuff or binge-watching TV shows. Human interactions, especially the creative and nurturing ones, are what bring people from the future to the present, and truly feel happy and fulfilled.
Why can’t our relationship with work and studying also be nurturing?