Humans are not adapted for paradise and security. Look at what happened in the Garden of Eden - Adam and Eve were left to their own devices, surrounded by luxury and pleasure. Instead of leaning in and enjoying this life, they got bored and decided to tango with the serpent. This is not to say that humans do not like a degree of security - sure we do, but we also need to have our foot in a world that is less secure and uncertain. This is what makes us feel alive - this is what makes people climb Everest, ride a rollercoaster or swim with great white sharks. These things make us feel vibrant and alive.
To better understand this need for risk, you need to understand the structure of the human brain. The left hemisphere is logic and reason. This is what you know. The right hemisphere is emotion and intuition. This is what you don't know. You want to live somewhere in between. You don't want to live your life hanging off the side of a cliff. You also don't want to live in a padded palace being fed oysters and champagne.
We are mobile creatures - we need to work towards something. It is this process that we love. Dostoevsky said you must pursue a noble aim. The emphasis is on the words pursue and noble. We do not experience any positive emotion unless we have an aim, we are making progress towards this aim, and we believe that the aim has some value.
So, here is a quick recap - we first need to find a goal, and secondly, we need to convince ourselves the goal is worthwhile Thirdly, we need to enjoy the journey towards the goal, and finally, we need to be aware of the sadness that comes after achieving the goal. Have you ever noticed how you feel the day after a great achievement - after acing an exam, closing a lucrative deal, running a perfect race, or surfing the perfect wave? You feel a little depressed. This anti-climatic feeling is due to the fact the game is over - and you need to find a new game.
Getting to the top of Everest cannot be the thing that drives you. Attainment cannot be the thing that drives you because attainment forces the game to end. You need to enjoy the process. The real satisfaction comes through the journey, and not the destination. Enjoy all the small towns you travel through. Stop to appreciate the progress you are making. Document your path, celebrate the people you meet, and the things you learn about yourself and the outside world.
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