Whether we like it or not, most of us are stuck in a struggle to survive. It consumes us each day.
In the western world this is the much-dreaded 9-5 job. In the not so lucky countries (aka developing countries) it’s the duty of fetching food and water to live.
Our bodies have basic needs, which need to be fulfilled to ensure we can survive on this planet.
These fundamental needs will always come first. Go without them for a short while and we will notice it very quickly.
According to Live Science….
- No oxygen for approx. 3 mins= death
- No water for approx. 3 days= death
- No food for approx. 3 weeks = death
Your body already knows this, its ingrained into its programming.
That is why most of us will get up each day to go earn money at a job… that we don’t always like.
Fear of death, or lack of survival, drives us to do things that we wouldn’t other wise choose to do. This happens without us even realising it in most cases.
This “not questioning” of the motives that drive us, can get us caught in a loop. This loop stops us from living well.
Here I’m going to make a definition between “surviving” and “living”.
Survival motives are based on Maslow’s hierarchy’s base needs, in short…
- Sustenance (breathing, food and water)
- Shelter (place to live)
- Sex (replication of the species)
“Surviving” is going about spending your energy (on the above) to maintain the status quo.
In a developing nation for instance, this can easily be seen (for example in carting water and hunting).
If we were in a similar position, much of our time would be spent doing these activities due to necessity and whether we liked it or not. This would be repeated each day (since our body needs sustenance over and over).
This system is now replicated in the western world in a similar fashion. Each day most of us get up to spend 8-10 hours per day at a 9-5 job. We aren’t carting water or hunting, we have just made a more advanced way of “surviving”.
Our minds are locked into a “survival instinct” programming, which we have now call “our career”.
How many people do you think would get up and go to work if all their needs were being met? I.e. plenty of food, happy family, nice house, healthy body.
Most likely… Not many.
What happens with your day, you suddenly don’t have to go to work?
“Living” is when we have all of our survival needs met and we go about choosing activities we enjoy doing because we CAN.
What this means is that we have gone beyond the chains of survival, which lock us into life long labor, and choose to do activities that make us fulfilled.
It doesn’t matter what these activities are, as long as they are chosen to do without the fears of survival.
“Living” is about spending your energy on following your dreams.
“Surviving “ is about spending your energy on putting food on the table.
Both living and surviving are expenditure of energy- though one has a better return on investment than the other.
The more time we spend on surviving, the less time we have to live.
The more time we spend on living, the less time we have for surviving.
So here’s the hack and how to get out of the vicious cycle of survival.
- Note down everything you do to survive.ie Job, paying bills, cleaning the house etc.
- Eliminate and automate as much of that as you can (this includes figuring out how to support your survival needs without your 9-5 job)
- At worst you will free some of your time up to create a plan to leave the 9-5 job, at best you will find freedom beyond that.
- Go about CHOOSING what you enjoy doing with your spare time, your passions and commit to doing it. This is the living part.
Both living and surviving are necessities of life, but its important to wake up and see how much of your energy is spent on simply on survival and not living.
Balance out the energy usage by eliminating, and automating as much of the survival activities as possible, then replace them with living activities.
The goal is to minimize the time and energy spent on survival activities, without it affecting your survival needs. This will then leave you more time to spend on activities that make you feel alive.
Living happens beyond survival.