Why do the majority of people settle for simple, boring lives? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
Answer by Andrea Gide:
If you stop for a second and think about a boring and simple life you'll realize it's not that easy to obtain that lifestyle.
I'll just assume that your definition of "simple boring life" is this: married with kids, employed, mortgage.
Ok, now let's break everything down in smaller steps:
You survived infancy, adolescence, and your late teen years
This is already a success by itself; you were able not to destroy your future in the period of your life when you were at peak stupidity.
You have a steady job
Consider the current job market, which is highly competitive. In order to have a steady job you must have skills that you probably acquired through education, which probably means someone paid in full or helped you pay for your education. In your life you found more than one person who believed in you enough to decide to give you money in order to have your skills.
Having this job means you have a paycheck, thanks to which you are able to afford all the things you currently own and the services you're enjoying.
You are married with kids
This means you were able to find a person with whom you had such a great relationship that you two decided to be legally bound to spend your lives together. You found a person who liked you so much as to repress his/her sexual instincts in order to have sex only with you (or at least that's the idea), a person who consciously said that he/she would never need anyone else in his/her life. Among all the people he/she met in his/her life this person chose YOU.
You have such a great time with this person you even decided to have children. You're so sure about the strength of your union that you decided to take up the responsibility of having a new life in your hands.
When you think about that you realize it surely takes a lot of courage.
You have a house
You have a place to stay and food at least 3 times a day. You've already covered what's mandatory for survival: shelter and food.
If you have a house it means you either paid for it in full and this, considering the real estate market, means you're pretty successful since you could afford to spend that kind of money in one go, or you're paying a mortgage, which means you're safe enough for a banking institution, with its army of paid professionals evaluating risks, to consider you a safe investment and give you a pretty relevant sum of money, trusting you will pay it back in monthly installments over the years, or you're renting, which means another person believed in you enough to give you his/her own property in exchange for money.
If you have all these things it means that you probably made a series of right decisions over the years and that you're also pretty lucky, because nowadays it doesn't take a lot to become homeless. You lose your paycheck and you can't afford to pay for anything, or you go through a difficult divorce and you need to cut back on your expenses so much that you end up living in a trailer or in your car.
And, one more thing cooperating to your success: HEALTH!
If you have all those things it means you are healthy, you weren't born with disabilities, you're not sick, you've not contracted any of those illnesses we know so little about (think about SM, ALS, cancer), you've not fallen prey to addictions. So you are very, very, very, very lucky.
What I'm trying to say is that it's much easier to become this guy:
Than this guy:
Life has smiled at you more than it has frowned at you.
I'm 33, single, and have been holding a steady job for less than 2 years.
For at least 6 years I've been very very close to becoming the guy in the first picture; even now I'm not that safely far from him. I'm surely farther from the guy in the second picture than the guy in the first one, and probably most of the people living the second picture life do not realize what they were able and lucky to accomplish. When you think your life is boring, average, and common, think about the guy in the first picture. Realize how easy it is to become him and thank whatever you believe in that you woke up today as the guy in the second picture.