When we’re young, we tend to get caught up in superficialities. Image, social media, going out, the works.
So you know you’ve matured when your priorities begin to change–meaning you start to organically filter out all the unnecessary noise and replace it with things that actually matter.
Once you make the shift, expect life to be filled with far greater clarity, purpose, and meaning.
In this article, I’ll go through the types of priorities to avoid if you want to truly make the most out of life.
Let’s dive in!
1) Getting rich
I won’t sit here and lie to you and say money isn’t important.
It is. This is just the reality of how the world has been structured.
If we want to live in relative comfort, not go hungry, have our roof over our heads, and be able to pay medical bills, then having some money in the bank is a prerequisite.
It gets trickier, however, when we aspire to become obscenely wealthy.
The thing is, money can be an addictive distraction–and like any addiction, behind the facade, there is often a sense of emptiness.
As the famous quote goes, we routinely “spend money on things we don’t need to impress people we don’t really like.”
You don’t have to be Sherlock to know there have been countless wealthy people in history who have ended up empty and unfulfilled despite their fortunes.
Sometimes, we live to achieve a certain goal–but once we attain it and still feel discontented, we realize that our priorities have been skewed all along.
2) Becoming famous
Let’s not kid ourselves… we all have dreamt of becoming famous at some point.
And who can blame us? We live in a society that is absolutely saturated with celebrities and media–almost to a dystopic degree.
This was purely by design.
As a result, we know exponentially more about the inner workings of the Kardashian family or Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour than we do about the issues that actually matter in life.
What we have now is a generation of individuals doing whatever it takes to become famous.
The internet as great as it is, has also provided people with a space where they can go viral and experience those coveted fifteen minutes of fame, often at the expense of their own integrity.
But what’s the end goal here?
I guess being famous can bring a nice set of perks like a big house, fancy cars, and the adoration of many.
But even then, once the dust settles, these things can be fleeting, lonely, and unfulfilling, as touched on the previous point.
Take it from American sweetheart Jennifer Lawrence who told Vogue in 2013: “I am just not okay with being famous. It’s as simple as that. I am just a normal girl and a human being, and I haven’t been in this long enough to feel like this is my new normal. I’m not going to find peace with it.”
3) Physical looks
Aspiring to be physically fit and healthy is one thing, but when unchecked it can also lead to obsessive behavior.
Things like body dysmorphia, eating disorders, and the feeling of never being good enough can arise.
Being preoccupied about how you look isn’t just rooted in vanity, it also says a lot about your self-esteem–if you have to scavenge for validation as a means to fulfillment, then something’s off.
So if you tend to post one too many shirtless gym selfies, then you might want to rethink those habits.
Your followers probably won’t mind.
4) Partying hard
Some people live for a good time. The latter often comes in the form of drugs, sex, or alcohol-induced short-term pleasures.
While blowing off steam can be necessary, over-indulgence can have its share of mental, emotional, and physical consequences.
Once you crash from the high enough times, the void will be more palpable than ever.
I used to love a drink.
Several times a week, I’d find any excuse to head to the bar to get hammered. Sad? Get drunk. Celebrating? Get drunk. Stressed? Get drunk. You get the idea.
But this clearly was a temporary solution to far more deep-seated issues.
Typically, I’d wake up the next morning feeling significantly more depressed, miserable, and anxious than I was the day before.
So to alleviate those symptoms, I’d continue to self-medicate. It became a vicious, incredibly unhealthy cycle.
One morning, while nursing a worse-than-average hangover, I decided enough was enough. Call it a moment of clarity.
I went cold turkey and found a new outlet for my unaddressed angst: therapy.
It’s no coincidence that my sobriety opened the doors in the months, and eventually, years to come.
Today, I’m still sober and happier than ever.
5) Career ambition
Forget that toxic “hustle” content you might come across on your Instagram reels–being overly consumed with trying to achieve success is no way to live.
Remember, it’s all about the journey, not the destination.
There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious as long as balance is maintained.
By being overly preoccupied with work or the “grind”, you are depriving yourself of time for personal relationships, hobbies, and other valuable self-care rituals.
You can also anticipate a powerful feeling of physical and mental burnout, which can compound into myriad other ailments and issues.
Sure, you may get a nice payout every month, but at what cost?
6) Competing with other people
As it is, humans are already conditioned to compare themselves with one another.
But in this now digitally saturated, social media-dominated reality, the tendency is magnified a thousandfold.
Sure, while a bit of healthy competition can be motivating, when we’re exposed to the best version of people’s lives almost by the second (through social media), we’re bound to feel, at least occasionally, inadequate.
This can lead to some detrimental results like feelings of perpetual jealousy and unnecessary stress.
What we’re left with is the oft-empty and never-ending pursuit of pleasing and gaining the approval of others, even when we lose our own identity and happiness in the process.
Do you remember that episode of Black Mirror “Nosedive?” Well, if you don’t, I highly recommend it.
Without going into too much detail, the supposed protagonist is a seemingly happy yet status-hungry young woman who has an extreme preoccupation with her social media rating.
Well, this addiction doesn’t end well for her–which is a pretty decent analogy for our own obsession with comparisons and the intense longing for validation.
If the above contents of the article sound familiar, don’t be too hard on yourself.
The majority of people are susceptible to unworthy priorities.
Remember, there’s nothing inherently wrong with wealth, or wanting to look good, or be famous.
But chase these things too long and hard and you can be in for a pretty hollow existence.
Instead, cultivate more intrinsic values like loving relationships, personal growth, or community engagement.
This balance will invariably pave the way for a more authentic life–also one with considerably less disappointment.