There is one thing sure to kill your hopes and dreams.
It's the "mismatch."
And there is one thing sure to bring you the "good life: Health, Wealth, Love, Happiness."
It's avoiding the "mismatch."
What do I mean by this concept of the mismatch?
I was reading for today's Book-Of-The-Day, Daniel Lieberman's "The Story Of The Human Body."
The book covers much of this mismatch and explains how the hardwiring of your brain is adapted to be really good at living in a small village of about 150 people.
A village where you go to bed around 730 pm, sleep 8 hours,
eat tons of vegetables and a little meat, and where you fall in love and
have kids with an old friend you have known since childhood.
In that village you have 2 or 3 career choices but not more than that. It's a village where you are encouraged to save and not spend everything you earn.
But guess what?
That world's long gone.
The world that the hard wiring of you brain works best with has been replaced with a modern, crazy world.
I live in Hollywood. I'm looking out my window right now at 13,000,000 people.
That's a lot more than the 150 that Robin Dunbar, the Oxford anthropologist, said is the optimal number for my brain.
I see the billboards selling me things I probably don't need. My brain is designed to trust people. These advertisements are trying to take advantage of that trust.
My house has lights that let me stay up all night and not get enough sleep. I would feel a hell of a lot better if I went to bed like the Amish do, when the sun sets...
I have the option to pursue 1000 career choices and invest money into 10,000 different stocks. My brain isn't good at weeding out so many options. So I am left thinking that maybe I am missing out on some
big business opportunity.
I can press one button on my phone and have Chinese, pizza, or fast food delivered in 30 minutes. My body is not designed to always have that many calories on demand.
Like the Nobel Prize winner Christian Lous Lange said, "Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master."
The modern world is a blitz of options.
You have been taught that having all these options are the final culmination of man conquering nature using technology.
Unfortunately almost all of those options are the "mismatch."
Joel Salatin once told me, "Tai humans can now create technology faster than they can anticipate the consequences of using the technology."
For example, last year the modern world's agricultural technology produced about 1300 million metric tons of sugar!
That's enough to make half the world fat and diabetic.
I was on a plane to Sweden and I bought a Sprite (it helps with my motion sickness). I read the label. There was like 40 grams of sugar. That's double of what I should have in a whole day!
We humans have gotten really good at making technology that tempts us into doing the wrong thing.
Psychology today wrote out a top 10 countdown list of all the evolutionary mismatches we face each day:
10. You are surrounded in your day-to-day life by a higher proportion of strangers than would ever have been true of our pre-agrarian hominid ancestors.
9. You run into a higher total number of people each day than our pre-agrarian hominid ancestors ever would have.
8. You have the option of spending 90 percent of your waking hours sitting at a desk—and you often exercise this option.
7. Your extended family includes people dispersed across hundreds or thousands of miles (think New York and Florida).
6. You have been exposed to more images of violence than ever would have been possible for pre-agrarian hominids.
5. You were likely educated in an age-stratified system—spending each of several years in a group comprised of about 25 others who matched you in age—being taught in a classroom environment by a few specially designated “teachers.” You likely spent a lot of time sitting behind desks in the process.
4. You are exposed regularly to politics at a global scale—often discussing or being involved in issues that potentially pertain to thousands, millions, or even billions of other humans.
3. You were raised in some variant of a nuclear family—with less assistance from aunts, uncles, older cousins, and grandparents, than would have been typical of our nomadic ancestors.
2. You spend a great deal of time interacting with “screens” and “devices”—having the evolutionarily unprecedented possibility of almost never having to be bored at all.
1. You can eat an entire diet of processed foods—and you live in a world in which processed foods are cheaper and more accessible than natural foods.
You and I have been tricked by the mismatch of the mind.
I was talking to Jonathan Haidt, the famous NYU professor and researcher on human happiness last week.
He says we have to all get on the right "path."
Haidt means we have to be part of a system. We can not use willpower to become happy.
We have to get in the right environment and then over time happiness and fulfillment will hit us.
The first way to start down this path is to remove all "learned helplessness." This is a psychological concept pioneered by Martin Seligman.
Once a monkey is put in a zoo it gets depressed because it feels helpless to hunt for its own food and control its own destiny.
Even when you take the monkey out of the cage and return it to the jungle it usually will still act helpless and just sit and starve to death.
It doesn't realize that it's no longer helpless now that it's out of the zoo cage.
Same with you and I.
The modern world and it's many choices is a like a cage.
If you are not careful it will trap you and bounce you around from one thing to another. Most of which are not in your best interests.
The good news is that we can live in a world that, for all it's bad, also has tremendous good.
We have the option to cut the sugar, to sleep more, to find true love,
and to find one career and stick with it for decades (which by the way,
is by far the best way to make a lot of money).
Now this is just scratching the surface.
This issue of evolutionary mismatch is so profound and has so much potential to revolutionize every area of your life from your health to your bank account that I recorded a whole show about it.