Overcoming the Lure of the Ephemeral

We live in an ephemeral world. Everything is short lived, whether it’s the pictures we take, or the relationships we have, or the goals we set for ourselves – they all tend to be short-lived. Somewhere along the line, we discarded from our lives, the priceless quality of adding deliberate persistence that creates a lasting impact to everything we do.

Maybe it’s the fast paced nature of our modern lives that is to blame, but we’ve developed a myopic approach to living our lives. We don’t tend to think about the long-run, often choosing an alternative that might seem like the right choice as of “now” but one that may not add value to our lives in the grand scheme of things. The fundamental issue is the fact that we have become accustomed to choosing the easier, the more instantaneous option, despite its shortcomings, over the other one, which will take time, effort, and patience but will deliver much higher value.

I like to think that technology has something to do with this. It has deluded us into thinking that everything should and can come to us right at the moment when we desire it, and that we shouldn’t have to put much effort into getting it. Whether it is the simple act of forwarding songs to the part you like, or capturing shaky selfies of moments on your cell-phones instead of one perfect shot, or a life changing decision such as giving up on a relationship instead of working on the problematic parts, switching jobs for small issues that do not really matter (or at the very least can be overcome,) or eating “anything” you can get your hands on instead of taking a conscious effort to eat healthier, we have been conditioned into believing that the instant option is better, even if it may actually turn out to be the opposite.

This goes completely against the philosophy of mindfulness and taking the most mundane activity seriously and immersing yourself into it. The first step to move away from the lure of the ephemeral is to identify the fact that you’ve been repeatedly falling for it. For me, this realization came as a sudden epiphany, followed by constant emergence of evidence of the face that I was sinking deep in the sea of temporary. I have been trying to slowly combat this in my life, and it is insane how many aspects of our lives are victim to the lure of the ephemeral. It is almost universal in its infection.

What has worked for me is to be gradually become more mindful to the process of identifying the easier and temporary (and in many cases inferior) option throughout the day, in all aspects of my life. I try and check myself several dozen times a day, no matter what I am doing, constantly being mindful of the possibility of falling for the lure of the ephemeral. It is like hitting the pause button while watching a movie, to really process things. Once I pause, I ask myself a few questions that tend to help me identify whether whatever it is I am about to do, has ephemeral value or lasting value. This simple practice has helped me walk away from falling prey to all things temporary countless number of times, which has in-turn enabled me to spend my time and money in a more lasting way, creating more value, to live my life to the fullest, rather than settling for whatever is most convenient.