10 Pitfalls of the Modern World

I was a teenager when I moved to the United States. It has been more than three decades now that I have called the United States my home. I was fortunate to have chosen a country that, by many standards, is one of the best in the world and remains the only superpower today. It offers tremendous opportunities for its citizens: a great lifestyle, a remarkable way of living, and countless chances for growth and excellence. Here, you can showcase your true talents and excel in whatever areas you choose. It's truly the best deal you can have.

However, like anything else in life, it has its pros and cons. I began thinking that if we could somehow remove the negative aspects of the Western world, or the United States in this case, the country could literally be an optimal place to live. To make your current living situation a paradise, you need to shun the negative aspects of modern society. By doing so, you can lead a very satisfied and fulfilling life. You can essentially create heaven on earth by avoiding the pitfalls of this society, allowing you to fully benefit from all the good it has to offer.

In this regard, I am going to list ten pitfalls and elaborate on each one. By avoiding these, our lives can become exponentially more satisfying.

I have tried my best to avoid these pitfalls, and for the most part, I don't indulge in any of them. These are the modern traps of society, and by overcoming them, I have opened up more opportunities and found greater satisfaction in my life.

Here are the 10 pitfalls of modern society:

  1. Don't use social media.
  2. Don't consume news.
  3. Don't watch TV.
  4. Don't follow sports.
  5. Don't play video games.
  6. Don't do drugs.
  7. Don't drink alcohol.
  8. Don't smoke.
  9. Don't overconsume.
  10. Don't eat junk food.

After listing these ten pitfalls, I can proudly say that I refrain from all of these activities. It took time and dedication to avoid them, but by removing these things from my life, I am significantly more satisfied. Now, let me go over each one and discuss how they can negatively affect anyone's life.

1. Don't use social media.

I have written extensively about the pitfalls of social media, and it's a known fact that one should avoid it. Unfortunately, many of us fall victim to its use. Let me first define social media: it includes all those social apps, but also websites with aimless video scrolling like YouTube and others, where the corporate world has introduced video shorts.

This is all junk—dopamine-releasing, attention-grabbing tactics that mess with our brain chemistry. It includes all social media platforms, such as TikTok, and similar sites. The notion that we are learning from them is flawed. You don't learn anything useful from these platforms; most of the time, they give a voice to illiterate people to spout nonsense. The more obnoxious they are, the bigger their audience becomes.

The premise is fundamentally flawed. Why would I listen to an ignorant person on TikTok or similar platforms? There is no way I can learn anything useful from them, and they don't even serve as proper entertainment. The so-called entertainment they provide is shallow and usually followed by a sense of resentment for wasting time.

Nothing good has ever come out of these social media platforms, and nothing ever will. So that's that.

2. Don't consume news.

This might sound conservative, and I’ve heard numerous times, “I need to be on top of world affairs. I need to know what’s going on in the world. If I don’t watch the news, how would I know what’s going on?” But why do you need to know what’s going on in the world?

You only need to know about things you can make a difference in. An earthquake on the other side of the world or a car accident in another state—can you do anything about it? If yes, then you need to watch the news. But if not, there is no need. Do you really need to know all the negative events and foolish actions of others? News outlets need to grab attention and sell stories, so they sensationalize the news. Typical, boring news doesn’t sell, and negative news sells more than positive news. If someone accomplishes something slightly noteworthy, it doesn’t get coverage because it doesn’t sell.

I have completely shunned the news. Initially, I convinced myself that watching NPR was beneficial and limited my news intake to NPR for some years. Then I subscribed to the New York Times, which I still have but rarely read. For the most part, curated news feeds like Google News are even worse because they tailor content to your preferences, leading to an echo chamber effect.

If something important happens, you will hear about it from friends, family, or coworkers. Important news will reach you through conversations, allowing you to stay informed without being constantly bombarded by the negativity and sensationalism of news media.


3. Don't watch TV.

A lot of people have already started doing this; they have canceled their cable service, and I did the same years ago. The only reason I kept it for a while was because it was free with our homeowner association, but even that is gone now. Nothing good comes out of TV; it's essentially a verbal and visual version of social media, constantly dragging on. If you want to watch good movies, the best place is the movie theater. If the movie is no longer in theaters, then select the movie first and watch it on streaming platforms like Netflix. That’s what I do for the most part.

4. Don't follow sports.

When I say don’t follow sports, I mainly mean don’t watch sports. Why would I want to watch someone play instead of playing myself? Even if it’s a sport I enjoy, wouldn’t it be better if I played it myself? For example, if I like tennis, I’d rather play it myself than watch someone else play for three or four hours. The same goes for golf or any other sport.

Unfortunately, people spend a lot of time watching sports, following leagues, tournaments, playoffs, drafts, and more. It’s just a waste of time and another pitfall. I don’t need to know who is playing or winning. Some people argue that you need to know what’s going on in sports to engage in conversations with others. But I don’t want to talk about it. There’s no shame in not knowing about your local or national team. My time is valuable and not for sale. Watching someone else play sports is a ridiculous proposition where they get paid, stay active, and benefit from my time. I refuse to waste my time on that.

5. Don't play video games.

It's surprising that the video game industry is now bigger than Hollywood and the music industry. It's mind-boggling that today’s youth, and even people in later years, spend so much time playing video games. When you play video games, you’re essentially being manipulated by the creators, who pull the strings and make you engage with these aggressive games, wasting countless hours. These games often involve senseless violence, which can negatively impact your mental state and overall well-being.

Above all, playing video games is a massive waste of time. Many people end up spending hundreds, if not thousands, of hours playing games over the course of their lives. This is a significant loss of time that could be used more productively. These first five pitfalls are about avoiding the traps set by modern society that negatively affect our brains. By steering clear of these activities, we can protect our mental health and make better use of our time.


6. Don't do drugs.

This one seems obvious, but it's important to reiterate. In many third-world countries, drugs have become prevalent due to hopelessness and lack of opportunity. When people feel they have nothing going on, they might turn to drugs as an escape. However, if you have all the amenities and opportunities of life in the Western world, why would you consume something that would deliberately harm you?

If someone feels their life is worthless and sees no opportunities, they might think, "I might as well destroy it with drugs." But if you have access to education, can be a successful member of society, and contribute positively to yourself, your family, and the community, then there's no reason to turn to drugs.

Drugs vary in intensity. Hardcore drugs like cocaine and meth are extremely harmful, but even lower-intensity stimulants can be dangerous. These substances manipulate your brain chemistry, releasing dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and other chemicals that linger in your brain's synapses, altering your mental state.

Prescribed drugs can also be problematic. Many medications only patch symptoms without addressing underlying issues, benefiting the pharmaceutical industry more than the patient. It's crucial to avoid not just illegal drugs but also excessive use of prescribed medications and stimulants like caffeine.

Even lesser stimulants like excessive coffee consumption can have negative effects. Chemically altering your brain with drugs or stimulants is unnecessary. Natural methods, like exercise, can improve your well-being without harmful side effects.

Caffeine, often seen as harmless, can negatively impact sleep, especially REM sleep. REM sleep is essential for restorative rest and occurs mostly in the later stages of sleep. Caffeine blocks adenosine receptors in the brain, preventing the signal that tells you you're tired. This doesn't give you more energy; it just masks your fatigue. When the caffeine wears off, you end up feeling even more exhausted. Avoiding all mind-altering substances, including caffeine, is vital for maintaining a healthy and balanced life.


7. Don't drink alcohol.

Alcohol consumption is legal in most of the Western world, but just because it's legal doesn't make it right. I cannot grasp why anyone would consciously consume something that kills brain cells and impairs rational thinking. Our ability to think rationally is our greatest asset. Why would we want to numb that temporarily and damage our bodies in the process?

Drinking alcohol destroys brain cells and can lead to liver damage and other health problems. It impairs judgment, leading to accidents, including fatal drunk driving incidents. Alcohol-related liver diseases, such as liver cirrhosis and liver cancer, are significant health issues. Rationally, consuming alcohol makes no sense, yet many people do it without considering the long-term consequences.

8. Don't smoke.

Smoking, like alcohol, is legal but extremely harmful. It kills millions of people worldwide, causing various cancers, respiratory diseases, and cardiovascular problems. Despite knowing the risks, people continue to smoke, often due to addiction. Quitting smoking can significantly improve health and extend life expectancy.

By avoiding both alcohol and smoking, you protect your body and mind, ensuring a healthier, more rational, and fulfilling life.

The modern trend of vaping, is another activity that doesn't make sense at all. Why would you smoke or vape? Even if vaping is perceived as less harmful, it's still harmful. Why would anyone consume something that is even remotely detrimental to their health?

Smoking gradually kills you, decreasing life expectancy by about 10 years, and leads to a poor quality of life in later years with chronic diseases. All for the profit of tobacco companies.

While direct advertisements for smoking are restricted in many parts of the Western world, and efforts have been made to reduce smoking rates, there's still no reason to engage in this harmful activity.

9. Don't overconsume and avoid materialism.

Overconsumption and materialism are significant pitfalls of the modern world. Our economic systems are built on consumption, promoted at every level, starting from the individual. Society encourages working hard to overconsume, buying things we don't need, and promoting materialism and individualism.

One should avoid overconsumption to live a modest and fulfilling life. Curtailing our demands is essential because there's no limit to our desires. By not overconsuming, we reduce waste, save money, and focus on what truly matters in life. Leading a simpler life with fewer material possessions can bring greater satisfaction and well-being.


10. Don't eat junk food.

It's pretty straightforward that one should not indulge in junk food. The ingredients, such as unhealthy oils, fats, and excessive salt and sugar, make processed and genetically modified foods detrimental to health. Restaurants often use these ingredients, encouraging overconsumption and creating addictive tendencies. Junk food's appeal lies in its addictive nature and the convenience it offers, but it ultimately harms our health.


Now that I have discussed all ten pitfalls, I hope it's clear that avoiding these detrimental aspects of modern society can lead to a more fulfilling and happy life. These pitfalls often come disguised as freedom and liberty but lead to negative outcomes.

By shunning these ten pitfalls, we can live a very satisfied, encouraging, and happy life. I hope we all can avoid these ten traps of modern society. It took me a long time to condition and train myself, but I have overcome them for the most part. The first step was to mentally convince myself to get rid of these habits, and then I followed through physically. Although I might have a slip here and there, it's going well, and I am immensely enjoying my day-to-day life.

I wish you all the best in overcoming these shortcomings of modern society. Together, we can lead a life free from these pitfalls and enjoy a healthier, more fulfilling existence.