We humans spend our lives striving for things.
We pour ourselves into the quest for more freedom, more autonomy, more happiness, more connection with friends family and humanity. We strive to bring the world under our influence and control. We immerse ourselves in self-development books and blogs. We take business and soft skills training. And on and on and on it goes.
It all seems to be mostly in pursuit of a better image. A better LinkedIn profile, more connections, more FB-‘friends’, so that we can advance our careers and improve our worldly measures of success – our business titles/status, our facade of ‘living the good life’ and our level of consumer spending.
And we really believe and buy into all this BS!
It’s all an illusionary deck of cards, a house of straw on sand foundations. All these things we strive for are ultimately always out of our reach and never achievable.
We don’t control our world and never will. As Seth Godin says ‘The only things we really control are our thoughts and our actions’ and the rest is all but an attempt to influence life to be the way we wish. A recipe for disappointment.
Freedom is also a nebulous concept. While some are freer than others, there is never true and unrestricted freedom in this world. There are always limits, constraints and boundaries no matter who you are or what you earn and spend. Social limits, physical limits, environmental limits and the big boogeyman we all face – time limits.
We strive for happiness ultimately in everything we do, every action we take. Our downfall though is a terminal short-sightedness, an addictive prioritisation of instant gratification to the detriment of long term reward. And so we dull our pain in alcohol, drugs, power, spending and more spending and wonder why things never get any better.
It certainly seems the more we strive, the more we crave these things, the less likely we are to actually achieving them.
None of these are likely to be ours if we focus on trying to bend the world to our will. Our circle of influence ultimately remains only ‘the tiny kingdom in our heads’. We can grow our influence but ultimately all that is ours are our thoughts and our actions.
All of these desires could be ours if we would but only understand the ‘illusion of control’.