Stop Outsourcing Your Existence

Modern life is defined by services, products, and trends designed to outsource critical parts of your existence – to people, products, and things outside of your direct experience. If you want to live up to your full potential, you need to resist these things as much as possible or necessary.

Stop outsourcing your social life to social media. It’s good to keep up with friends, family, and people you admire – but don’t replace real experience of these people with a screen. You are a human being who needs friends, family, and community – in person.

Stop outsourcing your pursuit of competition and adventure to video games. There’s an argument to be made for video games as literature or creative medium, but most video games are not like this. Most video games are packaged superstimuli designed to addict you and drain your energy. Compete in the real world. Explore the real world. Seek adventure in the real world. Learn how the real world works. Don’t conquer video games – conquer reality.

Stop outsourcing your sexuality to pornography. There might be a difference between erotica (sexuality in the form of creative expression) and pornography (media designed to fulfill a base urge), but you’re not going to know the difference if your primary (or exclusive) experience with sexuality is through a screen.

Stop outsourcing your desire for positive emotions to drugs (including alcohol). By positive emotions I don’t just mean happiness, I also mean transcendence, inner peace, extroversion, and even creativity. Learn how to find and create these things without drugging yourself. If you’re going to use drugs to achieve altered states, use them in ways that enhance your normal life, rather than distract you from your daily nightmare.

Stop outsourcing your thinking to influencers, teachers, experts, and gurus. Learn from these people, take from them what you can, but don’t replace your own thinking with simply being a follower. Think about what others tell you. Learn from multiple sources. Do your own research. Think critically about credibility. Don’t merely follow the crowd or what’s popular, consider other possibilities and alternative ideas (including ones that seem crazy, or will likely get you ostracized from popular culture).

I’ve sometimes said that the most radical act in the world is to think for yourself – I’m starting to wonder if the actual most radical act is to live a life of direct experience rather than an outsourced life.