“…during the first period of a man’s life, the greatest danger is: not to take the risk.”
Soren Kierkegaard, Selections from His Journals
I’ve been thinking a lot about meaning lately. I’m at a point in my life where I’ve grown comfortable. I have a cushy job, a nice apartment for which I pay very little rent, and sufficient enough free time to do sports and dedicate extra work hours to my projects. Honestly, it is fantastic.
And yet, I want more.
What is it that I want?
But first, let me tell you about an idea, the idea of completion. There is never going to be completion. Have you ever noticed how we all function that way? Do we all want to be “complete”? But the fact of the matter is that we are never going to be fully complete, there is always going to be something more, as change will never stop happening. However, if you just accept this idea, and realize that it all is just a massive process until your death, you’ll function way better because you’ll stop thinking about some point in the future instead of what you’re doing at any given moment.
Trust the process.
But where was I, ah yes, what is it that I want. It changes, of course, the things that you want today are not the same things that you wanted as a kid, that’s why my little preach about completion. What do I want right now? I want something I can do, every day, which can motivate me enough to do the following:
“To have to crawl through a barbed-wire fence without having some enticing end in view testifies to an ascetic strength of will which [few possess].”
So, I remember, when I was a kid, I had this obsession with survival tools. I loved the Swiss knives my dad gave me as presents to use on camping. I freaking loved camping and I loved exploring while being in the wild. Today, I still love doing that, but now I can do it in a grown-up manner. I also love telling stories, I love writing about this now.
But am I doing this every day? Not really, I’m working on my cushy job, because it is what gets me paid. And do you want to hear a secret? I think I’m still not living 100% of the things that really infuse me with meaning for lack of courage. I still don’t feel I can actually put my meaning to work and dedicate my life to it. I guess I’m terrified about not being able to achieve in the areas of my life that I really desire to achieve.
I am sure as well that I am not alone in this situation. How many people are just happy they have a job, any job, to feed their kids? I don’t even have kids. But the desire for meaning is right there, inside every one of us.
Being courageous will not ensure success, it will only push your probability of success up. But I don’t think that success is the matter here, but the rewards of courage, of starting, on facing ridicule and failure in the name of your calling. That’s it.
“The opposite of courage is not cowardice: that, rather, is the lack of courage. To say a person is a coward has no more meaning than to say he is lazy: it simply tells us that some vital potentiality is unrealized or blocked. The opposite to courage, as one endeavor to understand the problem in our particular age, is automaton conformity…People lack courage because of their fear of…being subjected to “social isolation,” that is, being laughed at, ridiculed, or rejected. If one sinks back into the crowd, he does not risk these dangers.”
Rollo May, Man’s Search for Himself
We must leave the crowds if we are to pursue our potentials.
Sometimes, my roomie asks me, with an unfixed face, why the hell are you still working?
I feel kind of guilty as if I should already be chilling. Or maybe it is the weekend, and I excuse myself from working on my projects because it is the weekend. But the truth is that my unrealized potentialities will eat me from inside if I don’t come to meet them. And the mock, the ridicule, it’s all worth it.
So, get yourself to work, on what matters, for some time, every day, for trust me.
“Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.”