From a blog post by Phillip Moffitt:
… our culture teaches you to constantly judge yourself based on superficial measures: How much money you make, the car you drive, the clothes you wear, the level of recognition and reward you attain at school and at work, how beautiful you are. But this perspective flattens life. It denies the possibility of finding a deeper meaning to your experience. If you measure your self-worth and effectiveness according to these superficial cultural standards, then each time you suffer, you are forced to interpret suffering as humiliation.
Recently, a dharma teacher asked a roomful of Zen students why we began sitting. One man said, “Because life really sucked,” and we all laughed.
Someone else said: “That’s why I started sitting. And after I did, life got better.” We all nodded.