Single serving motivation
“Everywhere I travel, tiny life. Single-serving sugar, single-serving cream, single pat of butter. The microwave Cordon Bleu hobby kit. Shampoo-conditioner combos, sample-packaged mouthwash, tiny bars of soap. The people I meet on each flight? They’re single-serving friends.” – The Narrator, Fight Club, 1999.
Fight Club was one of the epic movies of the final year of the 20th century. At the start of the film the Narrator (Edward Norton) laments his life as, essentially, single serving. As he travels constantly across the country he encounters little of substance and everything is a single serving. A tiny life.
What becomes starker throughout the film is just how empty a single serving life is and overall the movie is, I guess, a social commentary on the state of modern life and all its single serving trappings.
In the 20 years since Fight Club single serving has extended to entertainment in viral video clips and memes, social connections beyond those on a plane to the broader world through social platforms, sex through Tinder, and then, most frustratingly – motivation.
I may be wrong but motivation today I think is the number one use for Facebook, Instagram and, grrrr, LinkedIn. The Single Serving of Motivation in the form of a random quote on either a forest, sunset, waterfall or the author of the quote. Or the Facebook live video. Or the Instagram/Facebook story. Instant, vapid and out of context advice about staying the course, being true, being determined, never giving up, always getting up.
Between those generating the content and those sharing it, single serving motivation is taking up a lot of my timeline.
I have just turned 47 so it is likely that my youthful enthusiasm is turning slowly to grumpy old mannerisms, but I do have a genuine question about this: Do we honestly need this much motivation? Is the single serving motivation helpful?
Having said all of this I do recall seeing one quote years ago that I really liked, which made me think about how I was looking at my life at the time. Perhaps this is enough. Like that awful starfish story – it means everything to the starfish that was saved.
Or in an ephemeral dopamine-hit-and-run version of real life the single serving is what we need.
Am I wrong?