Vibes Rule Everything Around Me
And why they should rule everything around you, too
As the title says, I’d like to make the case that vibes are one of the most important thing in the world. That’s it’s vibes all the way down. And if we all collectively decided to optimize our lives by vibes, world peace would be around the corner. Or at minimum, we’d all be a bit more fulfilled and joyous.
Before I go further, it’s important to acknowledge the privilege of optimizing for vibes, which is made possible only by satisfying your basic needs and wants first. Jack Butcher at Visualize Value has a great visual spin on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs that does a wonderful job of articulating this hierarchy, putting vibes at the highest order (i.e. self-actualization).
There are several ways to define vibes. According to Wikipedia, vibes are an emotional reaction to the aura felt to belong to a person, place or thing. Linguistically, vibes are short for vibration and resonance. Here’s a few visceral descriptions of times when I personally have felt vibes:
Vibes are swaying like a singular amoeba with groups of strangers at a concert
Vibes are losing yourself on the dance floor
Vibes are “yes, dude!”
Vibes are snuggling in bed
Vibes are an hour whiteboard session that feels like five minutes
Vibes are riding a clean right-breaking wave
Vibes are uncontrollably laughing with a group of people about something ridiculous
Vibes are flow state
Vibes are losing track of time
tl;dr: vibes are when something feels deeply, indescribably right. You know the feeling, when you wouldn’t want to be with any other person than the one you're with, when you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world other than where you are at a specific moment. Things just click when the vibes are right. It’s a synchronicity with the universe.
And with that, I’d argue that you should optimize your entire life around finding and maintaining good vibes over everything: marry based on vibes, select jobs based on vibes, follow hobbies based on vibes, move to cities based on vibes, dress based on vibes. Everything sorts itself out if the vibes are right. When the vibes are off, things fall apart.
Alright, I’ve written enough in the abstract. Time for a concrete example. What might making a decision based on vibes look like versus more traditional decision making models (e.g. pro/con lists, external validation heuristics, etc.)?
Let’s say you’re deciding between two job offers. Company A is prestigious with a good brand, a lot of employees and strong social capital. Their job offer pays incredibly well and you know there will be stability with this job. However, you’re not too excited about the work and during the interviews, you didn’t feel like you clicked with your future colleagues. They were nice enough, but not necessarily your type of people.
On the flip side is Company B. It’s a smaller company with less stability and brand equity, none of your friends or family have heard of this company. The job they’re offering you has less pay and stability than Company A’s offer; however, you’re excited about the work and you hit it off with your future colleagues during the interview process.
If you took a traditional decision-making approach to choosing between the two job offers, I’d venture most people would end up choosing Company A. For example, if you used a pro/con list to make the decision, there would be so many more pros for Company A: stability, pay, comfort, social cache, etc. If you made the decision based on external validation heuristics (e.g. what people would think about your job when they heard it, how your LinkedIn profile would look with Company A’s logo on it, etc.), you’d most definitely go with Company A.
In either of these cases, if you go with Company A, you would be more miserable day to day. You would not look forward to working with your coworkers; the work would be less stimulating. And with that, you would not perform at your peak. I would know, this was the decision I made for my first job out of college. I went with Company A. My manager ended up being a total asshole who would mock me in front of my coworkers. I also had to wear a tie. It was fun to say where I worked when I went to the bar, but overall, life sucked that year.
However, if you were to make the decision based solely off vibes, you would go with Company B. The end result: you would be more happy day to day, you’d enjoy your coworkers, you’d enjoy your work, and you would progress faster in your career because of all these things.
The vibes-based decision making framework can be applied to all areas of life decisions, big or small:
Who you marry: pick the person you vibe with the most
Where you hang out: pick the place that resonates the most with your soul
What activities you do: pick the hobbies that make you feel flow
Life is all about decisions. Humans are better than all other animals at decision-making, but we’re still suboptimal at it. We’ll never have enough information to make well informed decisions. So a good set of heuristics are the most powerful tools in the world. Good heuristics lead to good decisions, which leads to a good life. Most people use suboptimal heuristics for decision making: what will make them feel safe, what will make other people happy, the list goes on. But if you use one heuristic, I say make it vibes. Vibes are the pathway to the soul. Make decisions based on vibes and you’ll have very few regrets.
A counter argument to a vibes-based decision making system could be that vibes are a short term, fleeting experience. Therefore, if you optimize for them, you’ll not be investing in the long term and subsequently not make progress towards a meaningful life. But life is just a daily experience. Compounding effects occur when you are consistent, even if that consistency is mundane. Optimizing for vibes creates consistency and a joyous present. There isn’t a better balancer for short term happiness and long term compounding effects.
So, next time you need to make a decision, look for the vibes. Forget everything else. I bet you’ll be happy with your choice.