“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.”
The grass is not greener on the other side because it is not your grass. The only grass that can ever truly satisfy you with its greens is your own grass.
It seems that everyone wants to be cool, don’t you think? As in, if I’m ever going to be a dad, I want to be a cool dad. Or, I want to be a badass grandpa. Or, I want to be a teacher, but cool.
What makes cool, cool?
It’s a decision, that’s it. The personal decision to say this is cool, and that’s it. To rest satisfied with your grass, and to care for it, and to be proud of it.
There is a great, great song by Fat Freddy’s Drop:
The firsts sentence: Well the more I try to change, well the more I feel the same.
Don’t you feel that way sometimes? You run and you run, but you’re still there every time.
I believe you can get Stoicism and self-improvement wrong.
You see, you’re not really trying to change, you’re trying to become more you, but better. I know, it’s complicated.
Have you ever been with “apparently cool people” and stifle yourself by trying to come up with something cool to say, or trying to be cool? I’ve certainly been there. It’s annoying, and it doesn’t work. You cannot try, you can just be.
A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.
To be content, the only thing you need to do is to own yourself. Whatever you think is cool, will be cool, as long as you believe it, and stand by it.
Civility, of course, needs to enter the equation, else you start stomping on other people. But with that handled, whatever you think is cool, will be cool, you just need to ‘believe your shit’.
Well the more I try to change, well the more I feel the same.
We’re always looking and trying and trying to be this and that and reading books and listening to podcasts and wondering what it is about the unique that makes them unique. And so we train, and improve, and emulate, and we get better, only to find ourselves again, where we started. Only to find that it was our grass, the grass that we truly wanted.
Get better, sure, but get better at being yourself.
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.”
― T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets
Thanks for reading,
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