Why Do We Make Life So Hard?

What if true happiness lies not in chasing success, but in embracing the simplicity of a life we've left behind?

In “Why Do We Make Life So Hard,” Jon Jondai shares his personal journey from a simple, joyful childhood in rural Thailand to the harsh realities of urban living in Bangkok, driven by societal pressures to succeed. Jondai’s story is a profound critique of modern capitalism and the consumer culture that dictates a never-ending pursuit of success, often at the expense of happiness and well-being.

Jondai contrasts his difficult urban life, characterized by long work hours and minimal rewards, with the destructive knowledge imparted by formal education that often leads to environmental degradation and disconnection from nature. He questions the relentless drive for more, which only seems to make life harder for most people, despite the abundance of clever minds and advanced technology.

Seeking a more fulfilling existence, Jondai returns to his roots, embracing a sustainable and self-sufficient lifestyle that harks back to his childhood. By working just two months a year, he produces enough rice for his family and extra to sell, builds his own houses using earthen materials, cultivates a diverse vegetable garden with minimal effort, and adopts simple, natural remedies for health. This return to basics allows him the freedom and time to truly connect with himself and understand what brings genuine happiness.

Jondai’s narrative challenges the prevailing notion that happiness is found in material wealth, fashion, and conventional success. He advocates for a civilization where basic needs—food, shelter, clothing, and medicine—are easily accessible to all, promoting a life that values simplicity, self-reliance, and a deep connection to the earth and community.

“Why Do We Make Life So Hard” is a compelling call to reevaluate our priorities and the societal norms that dictate them. Jondai invites viewers to reconsider what it means to live a good life, suggesting that true contentment and freedom might be closer and more attainable than we think, in a return to simplicity and harmony with nature.

I was born in a poor village on the Northeastern of Thailand. When I was a kid, everything was fun and easy. But when the TV came, many people came to the village, they said, “You are poor, You need to go to Bangkok to pursue success in your life.”

So I felt bad. I felt poor. So I needed to go to Bangkok.

When I went to Bangkok, it was not very fun. I worked very hard, eight hours per day at least, but what I can eat is just a bowl of noodles per meal,  And where I stayed was very bad, a small room with a lot of people slept. It’s very hot.

I started to question a lot. When I work hard, why is my life so hard? It must be something wrong, because I produce a lot of things, but I cannot get enough. 

I tried to study in the university.

And I start to look at subjects in the university, in every faculty, most of them had destructive knowledge. If you learn to be an architect or engineer, that means you ruin more. The more these people work, the mountain will be destroyed more. And a good land will be covered with concrete more and more. 

If you learn agriculture, that means you learn how to poison, to toxicate the land, the water, and learn to destroy everything.

We have so many people who finish from university, so many universities on the Earth, so many clever people on this Earth. But, our life is harder and harder. We make it hard for whom? We work hard for whom right now?

I started to think about why I have to be here in Bangkok?

I thought about when I was a kid, nobody worked eight hours per day. Everybody worked two months a year, planting rice one month and harvesting the rice another month. The rest is ten months of free time. 

So, I feel like it’s something wrong in there, I cannot live in this way of living. So, I decided to quit University, and went back home.

When I went back home, I started to live like I remember when I was a kid. I start to work two months a year. I got four tons of rice. And the whole family, six people, we eat less than half a ton per year. So we can sell some rice.

And then I dug two fish ponds. We have fish to eat all year round. I start a small garden. Less than half an acre. I spend 15 minutes per day to take care of the garden. I have more than 30 varieties of vegetables in the garden. 

I start to do earthen building, it’s so easy. I spend two hours per day, and in three months, I got a house. I keep building at least one house every year. Now, I have no money, but I have many houses.

And another friend who’s the most clever in the class, he spent three months to build his house, too. But, he had to be in debt for 30 years. So, compared to him, I have 29 years and 10 months of free time. 

The next thing is clothing.

I feel like I’m poor, I feel like I’m not handsome. I tried to dress like somebody else, like a movie star. To make myself look good, look better.

I spent one month to save money to buy a pair of jeans. When I wear it, I turn left, and turn right, and look at the mirror. Every time I look, I am the same person. The most expensive pants cannot change my life. 

I started to think more about that. Why we need to follow fashion? Because, when we follow fashion, we never catch up with it, because we follow it. So, don’t follow it, just stay here. Use what you have.

And the last thing is, when I get sick, what will I do?

Sickness is a normal thing, it’s not a bad thing. Sickness is something to remind us that something is wrong in my life.

So, when I get sick, I need to stop and come back to myself.

I learned how to use water to heal myself, how to use earth to heal myself, how to use basic knowledge to heal myself.

After I rely on myself in these four things, I feel like life is very easy. I feel freedom. I feel free. 

Because they have a lot of time, they have time to be with themself. And when they have time to be with themself, they have time to understand themself. When they understand themselves, they can see what they want in their life. Many people see that they want happiness. They want love. They want to enjoy their life.

We were taught to disconnect ourselves from everything else, to be independent, so we can rely on the money only. We don’t need to rely on each other. But now, to be happy, we need to come back, to connect to ourselves again, to connect to other people, to connect our mind and body together again.

Life is easy. The four basic needs: food, house, clothes and medicine must be cheap and easy for everybody. That’s the civilization.

But, if you make these four things hard and very hard for many people to get it, that’s uncivilized.

So, now when we look at everywhere around us, everything is so hard to get. So I feel like now is the most uncivilized era of humans on this Earth.

I feel like it’s wrong, it’s not normal. So, I just want to come back to normal.

To be a normal person, to be equal to animals. The birds make a nest in one or two days. The rats dig a hole in one night. But the clever humans like us spend 30 years to have a house, and many people can’t believe that they can have a house in this life. So, that’s wrong.

it’s not normal. So, I just want to come back to normal.

This is what I’ve been thinking all my life. Amazing how a person on the other side of the world shares the same sentiment.”

“I think greed and comparing ourselves to others are driving factors that need to be changed.”

“Wow!! exactly how im feeling in one video, we can do it!!! we have to stick together in order to take back power.”

I first listened to Jon quite a long time ago on his TedX talk. I listened to this again in this pandemy and what his said brings out a whole new meaning to me… Hopefully I may find a way to go back… Thanks Jon and Sustainable Human. This is a channel whose content always rings true to my mind and reverberates in my soul. Namaste…”

“It’s so correct. We need to realize the true value of life and the facade we have created about illusionary life is a sham for all of us. Thought provoking and the right call for our times. Thanks for bringing it out to the universe. We all need this true life, not a phony life.”

Thank you ver much 💖🥰 for your beautiful message. It touched my heart & made me cry 😢. Blessings for you….”

“Wow this hit home real fast. Deep within nearly all of us, there is a fundamental desire to feel our connection with the all. Intuition, gracefullness, love and freedom from the illusion of the ego..”

“That was beautiful. if we could merge this philosophy with science and nurture the natural world rather than destroy it, we could keep the creature comforts, power, internet, clean water, that humans are now unwilling to give up, but live the simple life regardless.”

“It feels great not to worry about how nice my clothes are or what people think.”

“Greatest Video I’ve Ever Seen!”

“Brilliant! In essence this teaches happiness is area where mind and intellect meets. So long as those two are in conflict one experience distress. Mind is the seat of desires, emotions, feelings, and intellect is the seat of decisions, distinguishing, reasoning. When mind says one thing and intellect contradicts, or vice versa, there is a problem. Other creatures have only mind, and intellect is very less developed compared to humans, so mind and intellect are in more harmony. Once again, kudos and very brilliant!”

“That’s true, the animals make their homes quick and we slave away for 30 years or more trying to pay one off. What happened to us?”

Check out Jon Jondai’s website and his work at the Pun Pun Center for self-reliance.

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