Let’s think about lions. Big, majestic, powerful, symbolic-as-fuck lions.
People get tattoos of male lions and it seems foolish. It’s female lions that do the the hunting and killing, usually of babies.
Male lions with their big ol’ manes just sleep and fuck. They fight each other pointlessly if they have to. They kill babies of their own species to make the women ovulate so only their genes will make it to the next generation then they sleep some more to conserve energy because they only get meals two days a week.
From a human standard that’s a terrible life, that’s basically life in a crack house.
Yet it’s what evolution has deemed the pinnacle. Evolution wants you to eat enough to make babies and be prepared to fight off others who might want to make babies.
Why are people fat and lazy? Because they won at evolution.
Doing anything more than mere humanity is extra-evolutionary. Reading, writing, working out, finding love or happiness or inventing Netflix means going over your drives, being better than your instincts.
In fact your instincts are working against you. Hyper-palatable food, over-sleeping, fear of injury, watching porn, these are all things playing on our instincts that do more harm than good.
And yet we’re dismissive when someone says This Isn’t Enough For Me. We call them selfish or entitled, we craft narratives about how rich people are unhappy and attractive people have eating disorders. There’s an opposite grass-is-always-greener effect where people convince themselves and others that things are the same over there as they are here. Drunks tell each other that if they sober up they’ll have no friends and be addicted to AA.
Effortless people, people who aren’t playing the game, often feel like they’ve been cheated, they’ve been deprived of something. They put in nothing and got nothing out and it stings, so they assume that people putting in more must be getting even more nothing.
But something happens when you take control of your life, of your body, of your time – it doesn’t make you happy but it makes the unhappiness not sting. When you get something – some weight loss, some muscle gain, some running ability, some skill, some knowledge, some thing, it comes with a new set of problem but they don’t bring you down because you already went from nothing to something so surely you can go from something to something better.
You either overcome or you underachieve.
And the biggest evolutionary trap is being like your peers.
Birds of a feather flock together but we’re not birds, we change to suit our tribes. We all know about suicide contagion – the fact that one suicide within a group raises the odds of other members doing it – but did you know it’s true of obesity too? If one of your friends gets fat you start gaining weight. Maybe that’s one more reason our culture is so brutally judgemental of the overweight.
Luckily, we live in the era of the parasocial relationship and you can be faux-peers with whoever you want. Which is sad because… instagram.
And luckily-er the information to correct all the evolutionary traps out there is readily available.
Unluckily-er most of us don’t know we’re doing things wrong. We’re in the evolutionary comfort zone and don’t know we’re poorly compensating.
For example I over-pronated my feet. My ankles and calves would compensate and I walked feeling just fine for 30 years. Until I started running. Running didn’t cause an injury it revealed – it diagnosed – a lazy compensation mechanism.
And we all do it, not just for physical things but mental and emotional ones as well.
Telling yourself you’ll figure something out later, when you can, means when you have to.
And someday you’ll find you waited most of your life for something and then it passed you by because you weren’t ready. You never really got to be where you wanted but somehow you still feel like you’ve been replaced.
You lived like a lion.