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  • Richard McDonough

Co-Movement Gym: A is A Health Podcast S1E22 - What Causes People to be Depressed or Unhappy?


Josh introduces and describes his Sustainable Human Project. He says the motivation for this project came over the last few years as he heard many people in his community opening up about having issues with depression. Josh decided he wanted to figure out exactly what keeps people inspired, happy, and motivated.


Some statistics. 87% of people are unhappy with their jobs, 40 million adults suffer with anxiety, and 16 million adults suffer with depression.


Josh recounts that at one point he was in a similar situation. Prior to starting his business, he worked a job that he didn’t like. He worked in a cubicle, under artificial light, for a company with a mission he didn’t believe in, with co-workers who were equally uninspired. He made the move to leave and open his own gym, taking control of his own life and turning things around. This changed his life drastically for the better. Josh feels that going through this transition is what really sparked him to explore the larger issue of unhappiness in society, and to search for a solution that others could use to make positive changes in their own lives.


Jordan Peterson quote: “If we each live properly, then we will collectively flourish.”


Josh describes some areas that he feels many people could benefit to work on.


First: your aim in life should be clear, concise, and slightly larger than what you can accomplish in your lifetime.


Being clear in your aim will result in the world manifesting around your aim. This means that, opportunities don’t come about by chance, rather they are the result of having clarity around your aim. Josh feels that a typical “negative Nancy” doesn’t usually have truly clear aims.


Ricky and Josh discuss the problem of “fear of success.” Many people fear the added responsibility that comes from pursuing success.


Second: be the example in life that you would like to see duplicated throughout the world. In other words, if you live a good life that brings happiness and positivity, you will encourage others to do the same by your example.


Third: build or join communities that promote the message you stand for in life. In other words, surround yourself with good people who share your values. Josh discusses the Blue Zones, and the importance of community and relationships in these cultures. An important thing to understand is that you are the average of the main people you spend your life with, so choose these people carefully.


Ricky points out that you should also surround yourself with people you aspire to be like.


Fourth: make yourself sustainable as a human being. This refers strictly to health. Josh points out that it’s hard to be happy when you’re unhealthy. Tips: don’t repeatedly damage your body, disconnect from social media, exercise daily, get quality sleep, and don’t look for quick fixes (think in terms of long-term consistency).


Fifth: live and spend below your means. This relates to a quote from Fight Club, “the things you own, end up owning you.” We have more material things than ever before, but many people are in debt trying to pay for these things.


Sixth: be careful what your dollars and time support. Your consumer decisions should support your values. For example, if you feel that constant use of technology is detrimental to your family time, then maybe you shouldn’t buy a tablet and smart phone for your children.


Josh makes the point that we’d see the most positive change in society if people voted with their dollars by only consuming things that align with their values.


Josh discusses the common perception that time seems to move much faster the older you get. He notes that for children, time seems to move very slowly.


Seventh: Growth slows things down, while stagnation speeds things up. Josh says that engaging in a project that inspires you really seems to slow things down. On the other hand, when you’re living in Groundhog Day, you wake up one morning and can’t believe you’re 50 years old – you don’t know where the time went. Josh thinks this is why life moves slowly for kids… because everything is new and exciting to them, life feels very full every day.


Eighth: we all need a certain amount of conflict or struggle in our lives, and that void will always be filled either positively or negatively, depending on your choices. If we don’t engage in positive conflict, we will get negative conflict instead. For example, exercise is a positive struggle, but if you don’t engage in exercise you will experience sickness, which is a negative struggle.

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