I recently did a Twitter poll where I asked folks what they used to develop their emotional capacity. I listed therapy, meditation/mindfulness, coaching and “nothing” as the options. A full third of respondents choose nothing.
This really took me by surprise as much of my follower base is made up of folks in the technology industry along with significant business and finance types. Most have Silicon Valley mindsets tend to prioritize hobbies like biohacking and performance. Having insight into your mental and emotional state has become a burgeoning part of the quantified self movement. So finding out that a large number of people don’t invest in their mindset was, to quote Geoff Lewis, a narrative violation. I really thought we were all committed to parenting our inner children along with our Wim-Hoff breathing, weight lifting and protein eating.
But maybe I shouldn’t find this odd. It’s much easier and certainly more linear to put gains on your squat and cut your fat mass to show your abdominal muscles. The math on that can be done on apps and coaches can help along your progress. It’s trackable. Clear metrics for success exist. OKRs for your body. But learning to let go of self limiting beliefs, check your desire to self victimize, or refrain from vomiting your emotions all over your friends is less quantifiable.
Still you can track your meditation minutes in Calm or your time with a professional coach which your venture fund offers with their new fangled mental health benefits. So why is it that a third of people happily clicked that they were fine not doing anything for their emotions?
I suspect it has something to do with the challenge of knowing yourself and that knowledge necessitates drawing new boundaries. The further one gets in a journey of emotional and mental health the more one has to let go of habits and people that undermine us. Sometimes it can even mean giving up all the things we thought made up our life. Such is the high price of happiness. People may reasonably make the calculation that it’s too high a cost. That being unhappy isn’t so bad. That boundaries are too expensive for someone like them. So they tolerate what they’ve always known as the unknowns of pursuing happiness is too much.
It’s quite likely I’m overthinking this one as I’m currently reminding myself of the value of boundaries in my own life. Perhaps it’s as simple as being a fish in water. If you don’t know the water is there why question it? A third of people may have never considered the benefits of questioning their existing beliefs and emotions. Which saddens me a little. But also reminds me that investment in emotional growth is a significant edge.