During my 12 month’s travel around Australia, I coined a phrase that I am sure has been used by many before me. It is a credo that I continue to live by:
“Just because it is, does not mean that it should be.”
It is my belief that we should all continually challenge the status quo. To fail to do so is to admit indifference and apathy, to accept mediocrity, and that is not healthy for the individual or the community.
Some ways I have challenged the status quo in recent years are:
- Challenged negative beliefs of friends and family such as intolerance, racism, and indifferent acceptance (aka acceptance of the status quo).
- Resisted the urge to own an expensive modern vehicle and the bad debt that comes with it. Often an older vehicle is just as safe and reliable, at substantially less cost. Mr Money Moustache says your debt is an emergency. Nobody chooses to create an emergency, so don’t choose bad debt.
- As someone who spends 8-12 hours every day on a computer, I changed software keyboard layouts from QWERTY to Workman.1 Check out the workman keyboard layout philosophy for a detailed look at how inefficient QWERTY is, and how it rapidly increases the likelihood of RSI in the wrists and fingers. For all you computer users out there: do yourself a massive favour and research an alternative keyboard layout. Dvorak, Colemak and Workman are all great layouts.
- Changed my physical keyboard hardware from the common staggered key layout, to a 2-part non-staggered layout.2 The modern keyboard has remained essentially unchanged since the typewriters of the 1800’s, even though our use of the keyboard has changed dramatically.
- Don’t accept anything at face value without independently verifying the facts. Social media and mainstream media are not reputable sources of knowledge.
- Challenged the consumer mentality and the status quo of greed by moving toward a minimalist lifestyle.
Will doing these things make you happier? In the short term, probably not. Change can be difficult. It has been emotionally difficult for me to confront friends and family when they display intolerance or racism. It takes a swallowing of pride and numerous explanations to others about why you don’t have the latest “safe or fuel efficient” vehicle. It will drive your brain and your fingers mad for a few weeks if/when you change keyboard layouts! It is a lot of work to verify the things you read or hear, and even more pain and work to try and correct other people if they have a false view of things.
But in the end all of the effort is worth it. Worth it for you, for your family, and for all humanity that will follow long after we have moved on.
I’ll leave you with a great quote by Theodore Roosevelt:
“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”