The constant and often unexpected challenges in our life can be exhausting to deal with. Fortunately, we are sometimes given respite from our struggle by experiencing moments of happiness. This temporary dose of endorphins helps us forget the daily grind and many of life’s deeper problems. There are many ways to achieve this sense of euphoria, but ultimately it can be achieved by two modes of action: retreat or advance from our problems. I would like to suggest “advancing” as a way to create a mental environment in our minds where happiness is more likely to grow. To advance towards the things we fear, by heightening our self-awareness and consciousness, relieves us of the need to get away, to exhaust ourselves from over-analysis, and to waste our time with indecision (retreating).
The way we perceive the world is through our minds, so it is important to cultivate a fertile environment where the seeds of peace and happiness can grow. For a good portion of my life, I thought that the goal of life was to be happy. But then, that belief metamorphosed into the philosophy that happiness isn’t the destination but the way. But something about this belief seemed to lack a balance between eternal optimism and the harshness of reality. I recently heard a piece of advice from @ryannicodemus from The Minimalists that helped me find that balance:
“I stopped chasing happiness once I realized that happiness is a symptom and not the purpose [of a life lived well].”
There are many things outside of our control in life, but the choice to advance towards (or retreat from) our fears is entirely up to us. Peace and happiness are scarce in many peoples’ lives because it is easier to run away, ignore, or justify our problems as a victim. If we handle our life as most other people do, then we too shall live an unremarkable life with unfulfilled dreams similar to those who complain about lack in their finances, love, health (exempt from certain situations) or career. The upside in demonstrating courage is exponentially high: to advance towards our problems, and realize that nothing short of physical death will stop us, allows us to go through them. What we fear, once conquered, transforms into an invigorating energy within us. We have been transformed. The new us can now aim higher and achieve things that our former couldn’t even concieve.
Advance through your fears, advance through your life. Retreat from your fears, retreat from your life.
Jay-Ram is a former Industrial Chemist turned writer who aims to help others use deductive reason and the scientific process to gain deeper insight into people, and create deeper, meaningful relationships between his fellow humans.