To feel satisfied with life, research from Purdue University found that an individual salary of $95,000 is ideal, while $60,000 to $75,000 satisfies emotional well-being.
The study concluded that incomes higher than the $95,000 threshold tended to be associated with reduced life satisfaction and a lower level of well-being, surmising that people who earn more may be driven by material desires and engage in social comparisons.
The Age of More
We are encouraged to covet MORE.
MORE is better than less.
More keeps us striving, keeps us wanting, keeps us dissatisfied.
More keeps the economic wheels turning.
MORE Food. MORE possessions. MORE attractive. MORE stimulation. MORE highs. MORE dopamine. MORE pleasant feelings. MORE Fun. MORE escapism. MORE hedonism. MORE power, MORE money, more, more, more.
More of something, anything, but the thing we desire, is not the thing that we really want.
The unconscious ways in which we survive this existential pain, can develop into addictions (food, alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, spending, video games, work, busy), compulsive behaviours, anti-social behaviours, crime, racism, bullying, laziness, procrastination, self-sabotage, greed, and materialism.
Some of the common issues, which we face as a society, are listed below:
· Obesity– What we really hunger for is not for sale in the supermarket. It can’t be delivered to your door by ‘uber-eat’. It’s not found at the bottom of the cookie jar.
· Consumerism– Materialism. Consuming. What we really desire can’t be acquired by queuing outside IKEA in a 5 mile queue, or on-line from your favourite boutique. What you really desire can’t be bought with the swipe of a credit card.
· Body dysmorphia– Perfect body. Bigger boobs. How we really want to see ourselves can’t be achieved with surgeon’s knife, or an injection of Botox.
· Substance abuse– What we really crave, won’t be satiated by a bag of crack or shooting up a class A.
· Alcohol abuse– We won’t really find what we’re looking for by drinking ourselves into oblivion.
· Social media– We won’t change what we really feel about ourselves by coveting ‘likes’ & ‘followers’, idolising ‘influencers’ & celebrities. What deficit is at play?
· Busy– You can fill your days with ‘busy’ and bursting schedules, but you’ll never really escape what you are avoiding.
· Power, control & manipulation– What you really lack, will not be compensated for in wielding power & control over people.
· FOMO-Fear of Missing Out-What you really seek to avoid the loneliness you feel, is not found ‘out there’ with other people, but ‘inside’ by sitting with yourself.
Connection to self, others, the world
Depression, Anxiety & Mental Health problems are the unfortunate ‘by-products’ of utilising the strategies above to aid survival in a sick society. Because if you were in alignment with the values of the system, you wouldn’t be getting hammered, racking up credit card debt that you lie awake at night stressing about, eating your emotions, and drinking away your demons. The drunkenness, the addictions, the squandering of endless hours in front of video games and mindless pursuits, these are not the PROBLEM.
These are SYMPTOMS.
Symptoms of a society that encourages striving for status -focus on attaining power, control, money, appearance, or popularity. Where ‘net worth’ is valued higher than ‘self worth’.
A society that tells us what we should be buying, having, wearing in order to fit in, and be like everybody else!
The media portraying pictures of ‘perfect’ people, at the same time fanning the flames of fear and anger with ‘fake’ news.
Social media encouraging comparisons with flawless, curated, airbrushed lives.
Extrinsic motivations rather intrinsic. The focus on ‘having’, acquiring, & MORE. Where ‘doing’ is valued more than ‘being’.
This all creates a breeding ground for hopelessness, worthlessness, inadequacy and sense of not being good enough.
The apathy & depression you feel, is communicating estrangement from your inner ‘Self ‘
‘What you tell your ’self’, is not the same as what your ‘self’ tells you’
If you are ignoring your inner voice, or are disconnected from it, this can be the main cause of ‘loneliness’. Loneliness is an increasing concern in our modern world.
According to the second annual Cigna U.S. Loneliness Index Individuals aged 18-22, known as Gen Z, 73% report sometimes or always feeling alone, up from 69% a year ago. Three out of every five adults, or 61%, report that they sometimes or always feel lonely, according to the Cigna U.S. Loneliness Index.
· Among workers aged 18-22, 73% report sometimes or always feeling alone, up from 69% a year ago.
· There is a greater feeling of loneliness among people who use social media more frequently, the study found.
· At work, men appear to feel much more isolated than women.
The study found an increasing correlation between social media usage and feelings of loneliness. Seven out of 10 heavy social media users, 71%, reported feelings of loneliness, up from 53% a year ago.https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/23/loneliness-is-rising-younger-workers-and-social-media-users-feel-it-most.html
This feeling of loneliness alerts you to a serious need for readjustment. Realignment. Reconnection.
The hunger you feel is for connection. The hunger you feel is your soul starving! The hunger you feel is the emptiness of internal malnourishment.
Identifying what we really need & want
These issues would not exist if we were connected to who we really are, to a life we really cared about, and to a world we wanted to live in rather than escape from.
We need personal meaning in a world that often appears shallow and meaningless.
We need a purpose. Having a purpose fuels perseverance in the face of obstacles.
We need a society that fosters synergistic cultures-those that are holistically structured and function for mutual benefit of the individual and larger society.
Setting personal goals can support & elicit meaning, purpose, and change.
Research suggests its crucial to choose the right goals for you. Otherwise, your sense of satisfaction & fulfilment if you achieve the goals, will be fleeting, and you will continually be seeking to fill up the deficit.
As a Life Coach I never set goals with a client, until we have explored their internal world. We identify their core values, we investigate their personal strengths, qualities, inner resources, passions. We establish their ‘WHY’, as we can gain insight into the motivations underlying the goals, by consciously reflecting on the reasons WHY they chose certain goals, ensuring they reflect who they are.
If we set goals that are that are conducive to our own growth-mastery, self-improvement, creativity, connection, contribution to society-they are likely to lead to greater well-being. Reinforcing a sense of self-determination, autonomy and agency.
Behind every goal there’s a feeling. The ‘feeling’ that one anticipates the goal will bring, is the REAL goal. Often, I just cut to the chase with a client, and ask them ‘What do you want to feel?’ and then I work backwards!
The Mental Health Foundations 5 ways to wellbeing are:
· Be active
· Take Notice
· Keep Learning
Setting goals in accordance with what you intrinsically need, ensures you are prioritising your well-being, whilst enjoying more autonomy, sense of Agency, and happiness.
Finally, finding what you have been looking for!