Lying flat, or 躺平 in Chinese, is a recent trend that started in China and had grown in influence. From China it expanded out to more and more places, with many young people choosing to ‘lie flat’.
In simple terms, lying flat refers to the giving up of goals and dreams, choosing instead to live each day as it is. No longer working hard for financial freedom, no longer working hard for a house they know will need to work 30 years to pay off, no longer aiming to get married simply because the financial burden is too high etc. The people choose to be contented with the little they had, refusing to work hard to achieve more. As long as they have enough to survive, that will be sufficient.
In the West, we have gradually seen more people having grudges at the blood sucking big corporations who give out pathetic wages, being unhappy with greedy landlords who keep on increasing rental prices, being angry with the system for making the cost of education and medical so high, etc. People all over the world has gradually accepted the fate that they will never achieve the American Dream, or the Singapore Dream, or the China Dream. Dreams that each country sell to their citizens, knowing full well that the overwhelming majority will never be able to achieve, with the intention of making the citizens willingly get into the rat race all for the purpose of extracting every last bit of time and labour out of them for the insane profits of the capitalists.
To make it worse, the older generations who benefited from relatively higher wages compared to living cost are criticizing the younger generation for refusing to get an honest job and work hard at it, but instead choosing higher risk unstable returns such as crypto currency trading, livestreaming etc.
Interviews around the world showed increasing despair in the younger generations. China chose to lie flat, some South Koreans even said it is a crime to bring an innocent life into this crappy world (I am unable to find back the video interview), Japan has more and more NEETs and hikikomori. All over the world, the young adults have started to give up on their lives, and the elder generations who enjoyed the benefits but are not supporting the younger generations made it all the more worse.
Note that I am not saying that collectively, the older generations should make a better place for the younger ones. This is the job of the government. But surely, most of these older generations have children of their own, many of whom they chose not to help in the name of training them up to be independent. From increasing cost of education, housing, daily necessities and everything else, the younger people has a much harder time trying to work for the exact same resource their parents had. Yet, failures are only met with nothing but contempt and disappointment.
Yet, do we just give up and die? No, despite this, we have to stand up, work hard, work smart and achieve the financial freedom that belongs to us. This life is ours, although we do not live in good times, but we do not exactly live in horrible times either. Yes the Covid is affecting everyone right now, but the Black Death wiped out 1/3 of Europe’s population. Yes the blood sucking capitalists are squeezing us dry, but we do not live in an era of war where the winners rob everything from your possessions to your body and your life. We worked till we are tired and often feel like giving up, but do not forget that women in Middle East and the lower caste in India do not even have the most basic of education, opportunity, respect and dignity. From ancient China to modern day Eastern Europe and even the great America, the land of the free, thousands of sex trafficked girls and women are suffering from a fate far worse than what we could imagine. The seafood many of us eat are also harvested off the coast of Thailand using slave labour. Throughout history and into modern times, many men and women would give up everything they had to be in our shoes.
Our lives are difficult, but we have hope. If you can read this, you have minimally a basic education and an internet connection, while every 5 seconds one child die from starvation. I do not mean to undermine what everyone of us are going through. I am suffering myself too, from rising electricity, water and gas (for cooking) fees to increasing tax rates, from an indirect cut in salary to never ending inflation. There is hope, but the hope is far and small, and the path is difficult to walk. Once a while I make a wrong move, be it in business or in the financial markets, and I back-track 2 steps.
But as long as you work hard, and just as importantly work smart, to continually review and improve on what you can do, surely you will see some success. Along the way, for every 3 steps forward, you may have to back-track 2 steps, and over time you may feel tired, but just remember that as long as you are moving forward, persist till the day you reach your goal.
Read up on articles, learn from books, watch Youtube videos (exercise discretion though), try and experience for yourself all kinds of legitimate and safe ways to earn the extra money. Bit by bit we learn, and little by little we improve. We may very well never reach the financial freedom we aim for, but in all probability, we will be better off than many others, giving us the much needed breathing space and freedom.
Afterall, we are educated free adults in a free and peaceful society. Our lives are ours. Take charge and be in control. And always remember, there are countless men and women who would give up everything just to be at where we are now.