Life’s ultimate irony – my blood type is B-positive

As children, the way we’re wired to learn is by watching and mimicking others. Our life comes in four stages. First we learn to do physical skills like walk and talk.

Then we develop social skills by watching and mimicking our peers around us. Then, finally, in late childhood, we learn to adapt to our culture by observing the rules and norms around us and trying to behave in such a way that is generally considered acceptable by society.

The goal of Stage One is to teach us how to function within society so that we can be autonomous, self-sufficient adults. The idea is that the adults in the community around us help us to reach this point through supporting our ability to make decisions and take action ourselves.

But some adults or community members around us suck! They punish us for our independence. They don’t support our decisions. And therefore we don’t develop autonomy. We get stuck in Stage One, endlessly mimicking those around us, endlessly attempting to please all so that we might not be judged! Whilst all along being judged because they lost there independency by having us. In a “normal” healthy individual, Stage One will last until late adolescence and early adulthood. For some people, it may last further into adulthood. A select few wake up one day at age 36 realizing they’ve never actually lived for themselves and wonder where the hell the years went. This is Stage One. The mimicry. The constant search for approval and validation. The absence of independent thought and personal values.

Stage Two requires us to begin making decisions for ourselves, to test ourselves, and to understand ourselves and what makes us unique. Stage Two involves a lot of trial-and-error and experimentation. We experiment with living in new places, hanging out with new people, whilst trying to impress the adult from stage one. Stage Two is a process of self-discovery. We try things. Some of them go well. Some of them don’t. The goal is to stick with the ones that go well and move on. Your limitations are important because you must eventually come to the realization that your time on this planet is limited and you should therefore spend it on things that matter most. That means realizing that just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should do it. At some point we all must admit the inevitable: life is short, not all of our dreams can come true, so we should carefully pick and choose what we have the best shot at and commit to it.

The fact that we have a universally recognized hand sign for “f*ck you” and not one for “I’m sorry” should really tell us something.

With stage three – it’s time to make your dent in the world. It’s the great consolidation of one’s life. Out go the activities and hobbies that are a mindless waste of time. Out go the old dreams that are clearly not coming true anytime soon. Everything you planned to come true in stage two are tried or will never happen due to lack of motivation or important things called funds. is all about maximizing your own potential in this life. It’s all about building your legacy. What will you leave behind when you’re gone? What will people remember you by? Whether that’s a breakthrough study or an amazing new product or an adoring family, Stage Three is about leaving the world a little bit different than the way you found it.

Stage Three ends when a combination of two things happen: 1) you feel as though there’s not much else you are able to accomplish, and 2) you get old and tired and find that you would rather sip martinis and do crossword puzzles all day. In “normal” individuals, Stage Three generally lasts from around 30-ish-years-old until one reaches retirement age.

People arrive into Stage Four having spent somewhere around half a century investing themselves in what they believed was meaningful and important. They did great things, worked hard, earned everything they have, maybe started a family or a charity or a political or cultural revolution or two, and now they’re done. They’ve reached the age where their energy and circumstances no longer allow them to pursue their purpose any further. The goal of Stage Four then becomes not to create a legacy as much as simply making sure that legacy lasts beyond one’s death.

Stage Four is important psychologically because it makes the ever-growing reality of one’s own mortality more bearable. As humans, we have a deep need to feel as though our lives mean something. This meaning we constantly search for is literally our only psychological defense against the incomprehensibility of this life and the inevitability of our own death.

Developing through each subsequent stage of life grants us greater control over our happiness and well-being. So what’s the point of going through each stage?

In Stage One, a person is wholly dependent on other people’s actions and approval to be happy. This is a horrible strategy because other people are unpredictable and unreliable.

In Stage Two, one becomes reliant on oneself, but they’re still reliant on external success to be happy — making money, accolades, victory, conquests, etc. These are more controllable than other people, but they are still mostly unpredictable in the long-run.

Stage Three relies on a handful of relationships and endeavors that proved themselves resilient and worthwhile through Stage Two. These are more reliable. And finally, Stage Four requires we only hold on to what we’ve already accomplished as long as possible.

At each subsequent stage, happiness becomes based more on internal, controllable values and less on the externalities of the ever-changing outside world.

And now your reading this and more confused than when you first started reading this …… but you carry on, there has to be an ending, a meaning to all this randomness …. or does it have to?!

Generally speaking, people project their own stage onto everyone else around them. People at Stage One will judge others by their ability to achieve social approval. People at Stage Two will judge others by their ability to push their own boundaries and try new things. People at Stage Three will judge others based on their commitments and what they’re able to achieve. People at Stage Four judge others based on what they stand for and what they’ve chosen to live for. But the truth is that transitions between the life stages are usually triggered by trauma or an extreme negative event in one’s life. A near-death experience. A divorce. A failed friendship or a death of a loved one.

Trauma causes us to step back and re-evaluate our deepest motivations and decisions. It allows us to reflect on whether our strategies to pursue happiness are actually working well or not. But however we live our lives ….. Life goes on! Some people who get stuck in Stage One get stuck because they come to believe that they will never be able to fit in. These people usually succumb to some form of distraction, depression or addiction.

Thanks to adults in my life in stage one and stage two, I’ve been so used to feeling depressed that being happy for long periods of time makes me uncomfortable. As a person who struggles with depression, I find it to be life’s ultimate irony that my blood type is B-positive. Did you know the word OK looks like a sideways person. I’ve said OK my whole life when asked if I’m OK and never noticed him. What’s up little guy?

We all think we know ourselves well, but psychological studies show otherwise. In fact, most of us are somewhat deluded about ourselves. Research shows that generally people become happier and more satisfied as their lives go on … What stage are you at?

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