Soft life, Sad life

I try to pay more attention when ideas keep coming back. They highlight something important and usually add more depth.  

Day before yesterday, I was running in a sub-zero weather after an intense weight training session, and a familiar idea “Embrace doing hard things” resurfaced. 

I’m new to athleticism and this isn’t normal. The exercise was tough! Breathing in the freezing air was hard. I was losing feeling in my fingers and toes. And my legs were still screaming from the deadlifts. 

But I felt alive, strong, and joyful! More so than I did sitting on my couch inside my house and scrolling on my phone an hour before. 

The traditional wisdom is to pursue comfort and safety to enjoy a good life. And that’s what we have done. Now, at least in rich societies, we have incredibly predictable and cushy lives. But mental health has surprisingly declined, not improved, in this transition. 

Without regular exposure to controllable stress, we aren’t building our physical or mental resilience. We atrophy and become too sensitive and soft - incapable of weathering the changes, challenges, and stresses that life will inevitable throw at us. Without risk and hardship, we lack adventure and meaning. Our soft lives are making us sad.