Does life has a meaning and our job is to find it, or is life itself the meaning of everything? Do I’m worth to the extent I built, designed, produced, completed, concluded things and activities, or my value as a person is to simply live life intensely in every moment, with passion, love, curiosity and desire to grow, avoiding constraints as much as possible?
We all ask ourselves this kind of questions sooner or later, even without realizing it. And perhaps it is precisely for this reason that most people are afraid of loneliness, because it is in those moments when we are alone that we ask ourselves questions to which we do not give an answer.
Life is much more of a series of frantic cycles searching for results
Eastern philosophies, especially Buddhism and Taoism, taught for thousands of years that the secret of happiness lies in knowing how to live here and now. A fascinating concept, but few people manage to apply it, perhaps because it doesn’t find fertile ground within us and remains a simple phrase to be mentioned from time to time.
What if the problem depended on the fact that in our society, for thousands of years, is conveyed an accurate but misleading message that compels us to live constantly under pressure which develops limits and mental disorders that prevent us to fully exploit our potential?
Since childhood, the family instilled into us the idea that we should quit soon playing and fantasizing, and we must learn to use the tools and the environment to build things, learn a trade, produce results and always accomplish everything we started. The message is clear: life is basically made of cycles divided into planning, execution and conclusion.
If you think about it, everything we do goes through these three stages. We are encouraged from childhood by the family before, then the school and the society, to design, execute and accomplish one thing after another. Studies, sport, work and social life, must all be strictly marked by the results. The results always have priority over the activities and things themselves.
At school we are constantly encouraged to study well and pretty much but to prepare for the exams, ie at intermediate or final steps that represent a time limit, a conclusion, a goal. In sport we are judged not so much for the passion that we devote to it, but the results we get. The same happens at work and in social life, our value is directly proportional to what we have built, realized or accumulated.
That this is the reality is confirmed by the expression we often use to define the others. Have you ever noticed, for example, that some of the phrases used when we refer to other people are: “he is a great businessman, he built an important company … or accumulated a lot of money …” or “she is an extraordinary writer, she sold so many books …”
In short, everyone seems to be greater, capable, smart and happy in proprotion to how many things has completed, what have concluded. Success and happiness seem to be intrinsically linked to the results and not the passion and love dedicated to the activities. On the other hand, when we want to define a person considered unsuccessful we often use the expression “he didn’t do nothing in his life …” Then we are victims of the “conclusionism”, if you allow me the neologism.
Conclusionism: The deadly trap into which we all fall
Here then for all our life the conditioning to complete, reach, produce results, produces a constant stress that is surely the basis of many mental disorders. How could it be otherwise when looking around us we see only professional sportsmen showing premiums reflecting the results obtained or wealthy businessmen who measure their value based on how much money they have accumulated.
Who didn’t ask himself at least once: “What is the meaning of my life, what I’ve concluded so far?” And about to the models offered by the society, feels he didn’t achieve anything and is overwhelmed by depression. But perhaps the problem depends only on how to ask the right questions.
The questions that help us get out of this vicious circle that keeps us enslaved, are different. First of all in front of everything or potential choice we should always ask ourselves a serious and healthy “Why”? As children know, asking always “why?” is a master key that opens many doors.
So far come other questions such as: it’s all here? What do I really want? What do I really need? These questions are especially challenging, but should not be considered as a direct request to our unconscious, which as a kind of guardian angel should tell us what we’re missing. They should be considered and used as tools to help us create a map, determine a route, and therefore the direction in which to move. But we are the ones to choose the road. And to guide us should always be our passion, desire and curiosity.
For example, if we choose a job based on how close to home is, the salary we earn or how we feel comfortable in it, life will never change. We will remain in our comfort zone, dying a little every day of boredom, for the repetitive routines and lack of stimuli.
However, if we choose our work thinking about what we like and truly satisfy us this will not be difficult and limiting, but finish enriching our lives, forcing us to continually expand our comfort zone. This is an important change of perspective, because we have to start thinking about what we like and want, and then choose accordingly the path that will take us in that direction.
If in your life are only the results that count and you’ll feel normal, happy and fulfilled only when you’ve completed all that you proposed to yourself, and then your mind will always be in the future. The future for you will be the point of arrival, the “board of examiners” to which to give an account of your actions. So you’ll miss the here and now, you’ll always feel under pressure to achieve results that will always and only be in the future. And at the end of life, when you will wonder what has been the sense of it, you won’t have an answer; you can just mention the results, which are often just empty numbers.
The secret is to consider the future as the energy that creates and determines your development, your growth. You shouldn’t consider the future as a goal, an examination which brings results. Rather you have to let the future come to you like a warm wind that sends you sensations and images. Through intuition, imagination and perception, you can see then what is in your future, and with help of love and passion you can live intensely here and now, moment by moment, growing a little bit every day while turning yourself into a new person.