A polished college degree, a high-profile career, fancy items to flaunt your riches. 

Many people strive for such things in life. Everyone, young, middle-aged or old, wants to be “successful” and continue gaining success.

Yet, the items listed above are just excess; unnecessary in the big picture. All of the wonders one may get from being career-successful are just distracting from one of our only true purposes as human beings — to find and sustain a decent mate.

That’s right, folks. As the Beatles song goes, “All you need is love.” Not exactly love, but a partner to mate with and keep the human race alive. Love is a little something extra someone might feel about their partner and is chemically debatable.

As human intelligence continues to grow, so does the amount of distraction from the bare essentials. We’ve made our food system complicated and controlled, laws regulate where we can and cannot go potty (urinating in public, anyone?) and of course, finding and attracting a mate is more complex and more competitive than ever before.

A man with a fresh law degree from a prestigious university may have to compete with John Doe for that appealing job at that one well-known law firm. Once he gets that job, he may decide to go back to school to up his Juris Doctor degree to an LL.D to make himself even more viable as a professional attorney. Even then, the race for more success is not over. He’ll keep chasing more money and more power. Poor John Doe.

We’re wired to be the best in order to attract the best mates. I assume back in the caveman days being the best meant hunting the largest beasts. In the ‘50s, it could have meant finding the most decent job available to raise a family in a cookie-cutter house. Today, it’s much more than that.

Papers, titles and recognition determine our “success” in life. We stress out over complications we’ve created. Exams, deadlines, applications for graduate school, updating resumes. Why are we expected to subscribe to a system that doesn’t always allow us to live life to our fullest potential and happiness? If we really did what we truly wanted to do, many of us would be socially screwed —deemed an anarchist, a communist, a weirdo, etc. The pressure to conform is intense.

Guidelines are laid out for us in the form of television, news articles or columns, fashion trends, you name it. The man who got the job at that law firm is expected to wear a suit every day to work. But what if he dressed in brown stained shorts and a tropical Hawaiian shirt? What if this man chose to break free from professional tradition and meet his clients in the nearby forest for a peaceful, natural proceeding? This man would be seen as either crazy or quirky-cool, depending on who notices. If he is noticed as quirky-cool, other cool cats might catch on and say so, too. And so the highly impressionable continue on.

Was man ever a clear canvas without any outside influences to taint him? Did man ever live to only fulfill his own needs and not engage in hyper-competitive social warfare?

As cliché as this might sound, everyone should appreciate the simple necessities in life without worrying about and competing with the next person. Be self-sufficient. Try relying on only yourself. Grow your own food, challenge authority when it doesn’t seem just, breathe in the fresh air, close your eyes, fill your heart with love and appreciate the planet that sustains the lives of billions of creatures. Life is not this simple.

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