January 29, 2009

Chasing Riches, Happiness, and Peace

It seems that most everybody wants to get rich quick. Or to become a raging success over night. Some may simply have a desire to find happiness, peace, and deep satisfaction. Others have a desire for all of these things in unison as though acquiring all of these in parallel leads to some sort of perfect trifecta of joy and bliss.

There is a misconception that that all of these are interrelated. So the thought goes, "If I become more successful, I'll have more money, which will provide me the opportunity to do the things that I have always wanted to do (really, you have an obligation to do this anyway, but that's an entirely different topic altogether), which will result in my happiness, which is really what the world is all about".

Chasing our desires is going to do nothing but leave us feeling depressed, frustrated, aggravated, and plain exhausted. Chasing, by its very meaning, indicates that we are trying to tackle an object that is perpetually moving. Every time that we appear to get closer to the reaching what we are in pursuit of, it moves, or we slip and fall, or something bigger than us steps out in front of us and gobbles up what we have been running after. Occassionally, we even chase it into someone elses eagerly waiting hands.

Unfortunately, people get caught up in the chase, and forget what it is that they started chasing in the first place. They start seeing many things to chase at one time. I see wealth over there, but hey, look, over there, happiness is much closer! If I can just get some happiness, I will feel more like chasing the money! So you run over to happiness, but once you get over to it, it darts off leaving you frustrated, bewildered, and at times betrayed.

I am not suggesting that there is nothing worth chasing. On the contrary, we have been designed and wired with intense desire and passion in our hearts and minds. If we had not been built with desire, then would have nothing worth working for. There would not be a reason to eat, or to drink, or even live. Unforunately, our desire and passion, however noble they may appear, are often misplaced and misdirected.

All that we really long for, desire, and need are provided, when we are willing to give our lives to a cause that is not about us, but is about others. It makes entirely no sense to me, but the more you work to achieve something, the harder you push, the farther you find yourself from reaching it, especially when it is a selfish pursuit. However, when you work for others, giving yourself over to the mission that you have been custom designed for without regard to your own needs, all that you were chasing seems to simply be provided.

Like my friend Scott was saying the other day, Growth = Less + Less, as opposed to the formula that we have been indoctrinated with (Growth = More + More + More).

Be mindful of what you are pursuing, and what it is that is driving you. Focus on the mission and work for others, and all that you have been chasing will begin to chase you.

January 27, 2009

Life Without Fuel

Without fuel of some variety, automobiles sit lifeless.

Without fuel in the form of the proper balance of proteins, calories, fats, and carbohydrates, our workouts are not as effective as they possible could be otherwise.

Likewise, the minds and bodies of all living things will not grow correctly without fuel.

Without fuel, great ideas grow moldy and rot in obscure journals, our minds, or are tragically lost forever.

Fuel is necessary for fire too. Fire keeps us warm, allows us to cook our food, and enables the refinement of precious metals and even land.

Fuel is what gets us to move past the barriers that are in front of us. Fuel feeds us so that we can overcome obstacles, achieve goals that are bigger than ourselves, and accomplish what we have been designed for.

Of course, fuel is not free. It costs each of us something. It costs us something globally too.

Fuel is exhaustible. Once it is used, you have to get more. But, fuel is necessary to get where you want to go. Without fuel, there is no momentum. Without momentum, there is no growth. Without growth, we cannot reach our goals.

We need to be appropriately fueled. If you spend too much time fueling, you never go anywhere. If you don't spend enough time fueling, your tank will not be full enough to reach the destination as quickly as you could, or could prevent you from getting to your destination at all.

Find what it is that fuels you. Observe the times of the day when you are most productive and most on fire. Identify the activities that ramp up your stores of energy, and then fill up the tank. The only thing left is to go and complete the mission and goals that you have been designed to complete, but always remember, you have to refuel eventually.