Never be “done”
Isn’t it great when you pass that exam, get that job, or run that marathon?
It’s exhilarating, your endorphins get high and you go and celebrate with your friends.
But then what?
After that initial boost, you feel empty, you look back and it doesn’t seem like a great deal, you recalibrate your aim and go out and look for more.
This is the thing, achieving goals is a bottomless pitch, you can never fill it because it’s not about the goal or about the desire,
It’s about you
The reason you keep aiming at all these targets is because, deep down, you don’t feel you are good enough. You are trying to fill the gap that was created by your ego, the gap between who you think you are and who you want to be.
That gap is completely imaginary and it can not be filled with money, food, sex, love, or goals. It can only be filled by realizing that it doesn’t exist. There is no gap outside of your imagination.
When you realize this you can start working on the real problem: your perception.
Don’t pursue anything just because you feel you should, do it because you enjoy the process. Goals are overrated, what you really need is a purpose and you can only find it by doing some soul searching.
But there is one thing you should cultivate: hunger.
When you are hungry, when you have a desire, you feel alive, you feel driven, you want to quench your thirst.
Enjoy that moment for it’s all you need, all you want.
Our minds are achieving machines — they see the prey, they go for it, they catch it- Nothing wrong with that. Except, it won’t bring you satisfaction. It’s like scratching an itch.
The fun is in the chasing
Fishing is a good example. People enjoy fishing for the art of it — the preparation, the equipment, the waiting — for the game. They don’t care so much about the final result, that’s why they call it fishing, not catching.
In 1968, the french sailor Bernard Moitessier, participated in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race. A Non-stop, single-handed race across the world. After weeks of solitude, harshness, and danger he came towards the end of the race and was about to win. Then, he abandon the race in order to continue circumnavigating the globe for a second time.
Bernard realized something that we all know but have problems accepting; The goal is not the point, it’s the journey that counts.
Think about the times you were truly happy. Were you done? Or were you halfway through?
It’s not when you cross the finish line, it’s not when you build your home, it’s not when you get to the top of the mountain. It’s the journey that counts.
You want to stay right there in the middle of the action and for that you need hunger. Cultivate your hunger and never fully satisfy it.
Hunger is the goal.
If you feel unsatisfied, incomplete, unfulfilled, and searching; stay there, you are already where you want to be.
Imagine a life with no goals, no dreams, and no ambition. There is a name for that:
What good is that?
That’s an empty life, a death before death, a pointless existence.
You need to strive for something and enjoy the struggle. The more you suffer, the bigger the reward. It’ seems counter-intuitive but it’s what you want, an easy life is not worth living.
We all need a certain amount of stress in order to grow. Every time you exercise or take on a mental challenge your body and your mind grow as a result. If we remove all the difficulties the system goes down to a bare minimum, a comatose state in which there is no stimuli for growing.
That’s why people deteriorate so quickly after retirement. All of a sudden, all challenges are removed and they end up watching TV for 10 hours a day and doing very little exercise.
Life is about the strive
There is a story about a boy who is eager to help a butterfly to emerge from the cocoon by making a dent on it. The butterfly got out easily but was unable to fly. She needed the struggle in order to develop her wings.
That’s what happens when we make it too easy for ourselves or others; we don’t develop our potential.
How to stay hungry
Realize that there is always a lot to learn and to discover, keep pushing yourself, develop your curiosity, share with others, challenge yourself but above all: enjoy the moment while it’s happening, don’t wish your time away.
Life is messy but mess is good. Learn to be calm in the middle of the storm, even if you are sweating, even if it’s painful, even if it’s chaos because that’s the moment you will remember with nostalgia.
Don’t fall for the illusion of control, there is nothing to control.
Stay hungry my friend.