I've always struggled with why there is bad in the world.
Well, technically the world isn't bad. Nothing can be bad. We just perceive it to be.
So knowing that, why would we be wasting time developing iWatches and fancy airplanes when we could put all the world's effort into creating a permanent dopamine drip inside our heads?
I think it's because we need the bad. We need the bad to define the good.
We were born to adventure. We were born to push the limits of possibility. Our lives are built around going to bed a cooler person than when we woke up.
If were born with everything we wanted, we would live hollow lives. It's the contrast that adds depth. It's the mountains that define the valleys.
The first time I had coffee I wanted to cut off my tongue. The first time I drank a beer I seriously questioned the decision making ability of every grown man I had ever met. Both of those drinks were sickeningly bitter.
But now I drink my coffee black and my beer...cold. I enjoy the bitter. "The harder the battle, the sweeter the victory."
Imagine a life of comfort where you never have to do anything that scares you.
It might sound nice. It might sound relaxing. But do you want to die as the spokesman for Cottonelle? Do you want to be remembered as "that guy who always felt safe and secure?" The girl who "never did anything that scared her and always played it safe." Go for it. You could just get Amazon to send recurring deliveries of chicken nuggets every wednesday and watch re-runs of full house in a Snuggie.
Now that's living. That's what it's all about. Right?
What are the most valuable things in your life?
What are you most proud of? Breathing? Being able to do basic math? Liking the taste of ice cream? Not me. I'm proud of the things I sweat and bled for. I'm proud of the things that I never dreamed I could do.
I'm proud of doing the things that scared me. I'm proud of doing the things that challenged me. Even the same achievement multiplies in its value based on the depth of the struggle. Today my hard drive crashed on my laptop. I'm writing this from a different computer and it already froze up and I lost a couple hundred words.
So even though it may not be better than other posts, it has more value to me. Human emotions operate on a much deeper level than happiness and sadness. A worthwhile life is not built on carnal pleasure. It's also not destroyed by excruciating pain. So what is the meaning of life?
I think Viktor Frankl might say it best in his book, Man's Search For Meaning:
We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life.
Find meaning through embracing the challenges. Find value in how you behave in the hard situations. Meaning will add years to your life, but it more importantly it will add life to your years.
So there must be a guide to point us in the right direction, right?
There is. But you're not going to like it... I don't like it. (But I also kind of love it.) That guiding force is your fear. Fear is your compass toward your dream life. People have been trying to tell us this forever!
"Everything you want is on the other side of fear." -- Jack Canfield
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt
"Always do what you are afraid to do." - Ralph Waldo Emmerson
but most profoundly of all:
"I think fearless is having fears but jumping anyway." -- Taylor Swift (I don't even think that grammar makes sense...but man do I love her "Blank Space" music video.)
Fear is your compass to fulfillment.
It's kind of a sick and twisted concept. But it least it's simple: Follow your fear. There's glory on the other side of the tunnel. You won't be able to see the light on the other side...maybe even for awhile. You won't ever be ready. You won't ever be totally confident. You won't ever grow the courage. You grow the courage by doing it even though you aren't ready. It's not easy to do. It's not fun to do.
But it's worth it. And once you embrace that heart attack in your chest it's actually kind of fun.
I learned a lot about myself. I learned a lot about how fear influenced me. I gained a lot of personal power.
What scares you? Run toward it (or run toward chicken nuggets.) You decide.
If this article got you excited you might want to go over to DopeStoke and grab the three mini-adventures to reboot your life. Or don't.