Put the cookies on the top shelf, because ...

There are so many misguided  gurus with a platform on social media. But for so many, if you paid a penny for their thoughts, you’d get change.

So much of life, these ‘gurus’ will tell you, is about just being happy. And ther more people hear it, the more they believe it. And then they start saying things like that to their kids. How often have you heard parents say that they ‘just want their kids to be happy.’

The fundamental structure of how humans think is termed a mental model. There is a specific mental model called Hormesis.

Hormesis refers to the idea that nothing is inherently bad or good. In small enough doses, something “toxic” is actually beneficial. Examples include exercise, vegetables, alcohol, radiation, etc. The idea was popularised, or at least well articulated by NN Taleb in his book - Antifragile.

The term is usually applied to these physical or chemical elements as mentioned, but in reality it can be extend to other aspect of our life. Psychologists differentiate between stress and eustress, which is a ‘positive’ stress. Athletes and performers need that nervous energy to perform at their optimal level.

We all need a certain amount of tension to function. The pursuit of happiness is destroying this mental model by labelling everything that is tough as bad.

It is totally dysfunctional, and unrealistic and in fact unhealthy to pursue happiness above all else.

Without the YIN of pain, suffering, stress and tension, you can’t have the YANG of victory, satisfaction and sense of achievement.

Taking the easy way out is not the smart thing to do. Wishing for a business environment without competition and change is not a smart thing to do. Not only will it not happen, it is not healthy. Competition and change and lack of cash are not all inherently bad for you. As someone once said wisely, necessity is the mother of invention.

It may not seem like much fun to compete with, say, Amazon, but without those pressures your business will atrophy and die anyway.

You can’t spend your life in bed drinking cookies and milk, you need to lift, run and strain 

Put the cookies on the top shelf.

Because on the bottom shelf it will get your teeth rotten and your belly fat.