Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash
“Advertising is based on one thing: happiness. And you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It’s a billboard on the side of the road that screams with reassurance that whatever you’re doing, it’s okay. You are okay.”
-Don Draper, Mad Men
The above quote is about advertising. Deeper, though, it highlights something all humans need..
The need to feel okay.
During most of 2020, I didn’t feel okay.
I felt inadequate. I felt like I needed to be doing more. I needed to make more money, be a better boyfriend, have more friends, not get angry on Facebook, and — well — I’ll stop there since it’s a long list.
The truth is I didn’t even have a hard 2020. I made a good bit of money online, I had a nice place to stay, and I never went hungry. I even donated a bit of money to those in need. I still felt inadequate, though.
There’s a desire in many of us to always want more. To want to do more. Make more money. Be with a more beautiful person. To walk into a room and command attention.
“You are okay” is not me talking about body positivity or anything like that.
It’s me talking about where you are in life, right now.
“I Will Never Be Satisfied” — Nas Daily, 12 Million Facebook Followers
I heard Nas Daily say that at an event last year.
“I’ve accepted that I will just never be satisfied in my life,” he said.
It’s surprising to hear him say that. He has over 18,000,000 followers on Facebook. If he walks around in any major city anywhere in the world, people will likely notice him and ask for pictures.
What more is there to do for him?
I love Nas, and I feel bad for him. If only he embraced the fact that he was okay, he might find some satisfaction.
What’s success without satisfaction? It’s like eating a gluten-free doughnut expecting it to taste good. Nothing in life is worth it if you don’t feel you’re okay.
Why Don’t We Feel Okay?
My friend Todd Brison and I had a great conversation the other day.
We compared our lives to the lives of a few other writers we knew — and guess what? We didn’t get jealous or put anybody down.
We talked about
Tim Denning who is an absolute machine at putting out blog posts. Todd and myself are not like Tim, but instead of comparing ourselves to his prolificacy, we simply stood in awe of him and accepted we were different.
In other words, we both knew we were okay, and that Tim is okay as well doing what he wants to do.
Too many times I’ve gotten jealous of other writers or of people my age. I don’t want to do that anymore. We are simply different, and we are both okay. It’s a difference in lifestyles and personalities—it’s not that one is better than the other.
Maybe more people need to adopt the same mindset.
How Can We Feel Okay More Often?
Sometimes when I’m having a really great moment in my life, I turn on the camera in my brain.
I sit there for a second and take a mental snapshot of what’s happening.
Christmas with family is a good time for this.
I love remembering great moments from my life. My mind always beckons back to them. In times when I take a mental snapshot, I almost feel like an older version of me remembering something in the past.
Where everything is okay.
Our everyday lives are full of these moments. Moments of pure bliss and joy. We feel like every day is the same monotonous slog not because it is, but because we don’t ever take a moment to capture the good stuff.
Capture it more.
Personal Development Is Great, But..
We need to be more satisfied with where we are, too.
I’m 27 and I’ve spent way too many days of my life dissatisfied with where I am. Chances are, you’re doing just fine.
You want personal development? Well, you’re developing something that’s already okay — because you are.
Make that your baseline — not brokenness or dissatisfaction.
You are okay.