We’re so much better off today, yet so many people are unhappy

we are so much better off today

This is an anti-pirate fort in what is now the Dominican Republic. The Spanish built it in the 1500s to protect the town against pirates. So one day, the pirates completely bypassed the fort and sacked the town, raping, plundering, and murdering most of its inhabitants.

I took this shot back in 2014 while visiting the Dominican Republic. Wonderful place for American tourists as our money goes pretty far there. That’s the nice way of saying their money isn’t worth that much so everything for us is cheap.

Nice people too. Genuinely friendly. We had a great time there.

Anyways, back to the fort. I’m short, but my wife is closer to 6′ tall. She had to stoop down everywhere when touring the fort because everyone back then was so short. Why were they short? Because, they were malnourished.

See today in First World nations, we do have people starving. Yes, I get it. But number wise, they’re a small minority. Back then, the vast majority of folks were pretty badly malnourished. Only the rich ate well. Thus, most of your soldiers were around 5’4″.

Now these are Europeans we’re talking about, not Southeast Asians.

If we’re so much better off today…

…then why is everyone so unhappy?

Well my friends, that’s the million dollar question. I wrote an entire blog on this and yes, it’s generating pretty decent daily traffic. I started this blog a long time ago but didn’t take it seriously until December 2016. I’m getting exactly the amount of traffic I thought I’d be getting around this time.

You know why everyone is so unhappy, despite being so much better off today?

For one, lack of purpose. Back then, everyone had a purpose. You did this and that and that’s your life. You didn’t get much choice. Back then, you were pretty much born into that position and you’ll die in that position.

That’s really a shitty life, but they had nothing to compare it to. They had no idea that in the future, you really could be anything you wanted to be.

The other main reason is the family unit has deteriorated. Now, don’t lump me in with the Religious Right. With all due respect, I’m not religious. I just noticed that broken families produce broken children. Not always, but generally.

How to fix it

And that’s the other million dollar question.

Look. Do you take your happiness seriously? If so, you’ll notice that when you’re either working on a goal or achieving a goal, you feel better about yourself. When you’re drifting and have no idea where the fuck you are going in life, you’re more prone to feel miserable.

So it really comes down to purpose. Does your life have a purpose? If so, you’re a huge step above someone without a purpose.

Of course there’s a part II of this. If you feel like your life has a purpose and you’re still unhappy, then I bet I know what the problem is.

Are you facing obstacles that are so difficult that you feel like you won’t be able to achieve your purpose? If you said yes to this, chances are – you’re miserable.

I know how frustrating it can be to shy away from your life’s purpose. My life purpose is simply to create great art – both great music and beautiful paintings. Why? Because that’s what I want to do. It’s as simple as that.

When I’m heading towards my purpose, I feel great. I don’t need motivation. When you’re chasing your true dream, you don’t need motivation. You only need motivation if you’re chasing either a fake dream or someone else’s dream that they put into your head (like your parents telling you that you needed to be a lawyer and you’ve always hated law).

If you’re frustrated

So if you’re frustrated because you’re not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, always remember one thing. One minor change in your life can create ripples that over a longer period of time becomes an epic change.

What does that mean? Exactly that.

Let’s say that you want to be a great painter, but you got a miserable spouse, a crappy job, and three unappreciative bratty kids that are constantly nagging you. You feel like you’ll never be able to be a great painter.

Well, short term, you’re fucked. It’s not going to happen.

But then again, let’s say you’re 35. The kids will be out of the house in seven years and you could finally ditch that miserable spouse.

What if you took one hour a day, only one hour a day, and practiced drawing? You did that one hour a day for a whole year.

Year two, one hour a day, you started drawing on canvases. A year later, you have 20 canvases with paintings drawn on them with pencil.

Year three, you start to add paints. This gets complicated though and you’re only able to finish painting 10 of them.

However, look what just happened. You dedicated only one hour a day to your craft. And after three years, you have 10 paintings.

That’s pretty much what I did

Of course my craft was music. I don’t have a miserable spouse. My spouse is actually pretty cool. However, we had a lot of crap to deal with because the corporate world is bullshit. They’re always cutting costs and there’s no such thing as job security.

While everything else was falling down around me, I practiced guitar. I got really good at guitar after not playing it for 13 years. It took several years.

When I quit guitar, I was doing all that crazy shit that everyone else in the 80s was doing. I got so frustrated when the Metal scene died in America (except for Death Metal in Florida, which I should have emulated but I didn’t) that I sold all my gear and quit.

But 13 years later, I picked it up again and practiced here and there whenever I could. It took three years to be able to play like I did before I quit. Then, I started writing songs.

Most of the early songs sucked and they were nothing to write home about. You’ll never hear those songs.

However, each song had a decent part or two. I ended up cannibalizing the decent parts and improving on them until I had good songs to work with.

Our first album was exactly that – songs cannibalized from my previous band with the bad parts cut out and replaced with better parts.

I started to improve on that and now this upcoming second album has considerably better orchestrations and better melodies. It’s already written.

That’s what you do

If you want to achieve your purpose, that’s what you do. You first get started, bit by bit, piece by piece until you no longer suck. Then you go from decent to good. Then you go from good to very good. And so on.

It starts with baby steps, with that first small step forward until it becomes a habit where you built your craft little by little until you’re top 1% at it.

Find out what your purpose is. I can’t help you with this. You are you and I don’t know you. Only you know you. And when I say only you know you, I mean it. You’re not your parents. You’re not your best friends. You need to figure this out on your own.

So figure it out, then figure out how to make it work. Do this, and you’ll be considerably happier with your life.


Roman is an artist, composer, writer, and travel junkie.

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