My theory: life is all about striving for more. More power, more influence, more impact.
What do you really desire in life?
I’m a huge fan of Zen and Buddhism, but the problem with their philosophy is that it emphasizes “non-desire”. The buddhistic tendency is to strive to eliminate all forms of desire, want, and attachment in life.
We should strive to eliminate false forms of desire (false desires superimposed on you by society), but we should always strive to improve ourselves, and to never stop our own self-development.
Help yourself before helping others
If you look at a plant, it always strives for more. It strives for more nutrition, more sunlight, and strives to become bigger, and to become master of all the space around it. The plant continues to grow, and dig its roots deeper and deeper into the ground. It seeks to get bigger and bigger, and block out the sunlight (of the competing plants). In a sense, a plant is “greedy” and “self-centered”.
In modern society, to be “selfish” is synonymous with “evil”. I disagree, I think that we must be “selfish” or “self centered” and develop ourselves, before we can seek to help empower or help others.
An ancient proverb says, “Don’t seek to water the lawn of your neighbor, if your own lawn is parched.”
Another proverb I got recently,
Help your knee before you help your ankle (your knee is yourself because it is closer to you, and your ankle is other people).
I ultimately think the purpose of life is to help empower others and humanity as a whole — present day humanity, and future humanity.
But before we can help others, we must strengthen and help ourselves. Because if we’re not strong enough to shoulder our own burdens, how can we shoulder our own burdens and the burdens of others?
Maximum upside with no downside
Striving causes a lot of people stress, anxiety, and misery. But the problem is that a lot of people strive with having too many expectations. Thus my solution is this:
Strive for more, but don’t have any expectations.
Which means, always strive to become more powerful, influential, and to continue to develop yourself. But don’t be disappointed if your expectations don’t play out in reality. Which means, don’t have expectations for your effort in life, because you can be the smartest, most talented, and most hard-working person, but in order to achieve what we expect in life, we also need a bit of luck on our side.
Avoid boredom at all costs
We must strive more in life or else we won’t have a reason to wake up in the morning. If we don’t strive in life, we don’t have the zest and vigor for living. If we don’t strive in life, we become complacent and stagnant in life.
Personally I think that ennui (boredom and existential dread) is the worst human feeling. It is worse than stress, anxiety, and fear. Because at least stress, anxiety, and fear can often impel and propel us to doing stuff, and doing stuff in life. Ennui and boredom just causes us to dread life, and to numb the feeling of existential dread via drugs, alcohol, and mindless entertainment, media, news, and video games.
How to strive for more
For me, hunger is what drives me— literally and psychologically.
Consider, if you’re a lion, you’re sharpest when you’re hungry. You have the “motivation” to hunt. If you’re fully satiated and full, you have no reason to move. You just end up sleeping and becoming lazy.
This is why I fast (don’t eat) during the day. My physical hunger drives me to do stuff — to research, write, walk around, move, photograph, distill information, to make videos, make movies, etc. And in the evenings I feast (I eat a ton of food as a reward) then enjoy my sweet sweet sleep.
Also, I find that skepticism is a good driver to continue the quest, search, expedition, and adventure of knowledge-seeking. I’m not easily satisfied with the “answers” I get from modern psychology, sociology, and self-help. This is why I delve deeper into the works of the ancients and poets/historians of the past to discover deeper “human truths/knowledge” such as studying Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, Epicurus, Democritus, and more contemporary philosophers like Nietzsche and Fernandinho Galiani.
Also I find to strive more, don’t self-deny your desires. Don’t feel guilt for striving to achieve your desires and dreams in life. Just be brutally honest with yourself what you desire in life, and whether the “utility” of achieving your desires will truly make you feel happy. For example, buying a BMW will bring you only momentary pleasure, whereas the daily act of making photos or art is going to bring you deeper satisfaction and pleasure in life. This is why I believe in making something everyday, or being “creative everyday” as a good solution to finding deeper, more meaningful happiness in life.
Never stop striving. Never stop your hunger for more. Seek to keep learning, to keep exploring, to keep questioning, and to not be easily satisfied.
Let your curiosity drive you forward, and don’t let self-doubt, fear, or the haters or nay-sayers get in your way.
BE BOLD, be brazen, and be strong. Fulfill your child-like curiosities, and never stop augmenting your own inner-wisdom and knowledge.
Find more meaning and purpose in your life:
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- In Praise of a Dynamic Life
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- Photography Therapy
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- Take Your Play Very Seriously.
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- Memento Vivere
- Destroy in Order to CREATE
- Trust Your Body More Than Your Mind
- Make Photos to Make Meaning in Your Life
- Seek Knowledge, Not Information
- The Purpose of Human Life
- How to Overcome Impedence
- Why I Love Death
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- Why I’m Happy
- Why I’m So Prolific
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