The great tragedy with technological advancements and capitalism is an increased ability, and motivation, to play to our psychology at the deepest levels.

What do I mean? I mean that our base survival instincts are our strongest instincts. Our minds are naturally inclined to focus on the negative to keep us alive, and often view positive things as a nice aside in life.

The easy example is when you’re hiking on a trail and at first you see a snake, but then you quickly realize it’s just a stick. Your mind is quick to interpret (misinterpret) something as a negative, as opposed to neutral or positive.

Why are we talking about this?

Most websites, even something as innocent as a Google search, has the goal of keeping YOUR ATTENTION. (see what I did there?) Therefore, they (Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Google, Twitter, and more) have skewed the information they present YOU to keep YOU engaged.

Why the obnoxious all caps on ‘you’?

Because it’s personalized. They’ve studied your search histories and present information most compelling to You, whether it’s accurate or not. They realize that negative is more captivating than neutral or positive. And your Attention is their revenue, as you’ll see more ADS on their website, increasing their revenue.

So how does the title of this blog accurate?

Our ENVIRONMENT is increasingly just the little black boxes in front of our noses–whether it be our phone or computer. We’re spending 8+ hours on technology, and that’s a low estimate (some places cite 7 hours on the computer for work, other studies show 5.4 hours/day on our phone for EVERY American).

If our environment is primarily on technology, and technology is keeping our attention by playing to our base instincts, we’ll increasingly see negative things (ever watch the news?) and therefore increase our misery.

It’s not hopeless though! Even FAKING a smile can change your mood and physiology for the better! EXERCISE will boost your ‘feel good’ hormones. Leisure activities, petting a dog or a cat (maybe not that snake ;)), playing with your bratty children can ALL boost your mood, change your outlook, and offset the subtle negative effects of our new environment.

Live Life Well,


Jeff Sidwell