Their lives often follow a pattern of defeat, recognition, redemption. They have moments of pain and suffering. But they turn those moments into occasions of radical self-understanding — by keeping a journal or making art. As Paul Tillich put it, suffering introduces you to yourself and reminds you that you are not the person you thought you were.
The people on this road see the moments of suffering as pieces of a larger narrative. They are not really living for happiness, as it is conventionally defined. They see life as a moral drama and feel fulfilled only when they are enmeshed in a struggle on behalf of some ideal.
This is a philosophy for stumblers. The stumbler scuffs through life, a little off balance. But the stumbler faces her imperfect nature with unvarnished honesty, with the opposite of squeamishness. Recognizing her limitations, the stumbler at least has a serious foe to overcome and transcend. The stumbler has an outstretched arm, ready to receive and offer assistance. Her friends are there for deep conversation, comfort and advice.
External ambitions are never satisfied because there’s always something more to achieve. But the stumblers occasionally experience moments of joy. There’s joy in freely chosen obedience to organizations, ideas and people. There’s joy in mutual stumbling. There’s an aesthetic joy we feel when we see morally good action, when we run across someone who is quiet and humble and good, when we see that however old we are, there’s lots to do ahead.
The stumbler doesn’t build her life by being better than others, but by being better than she used to be. Unexpectedly, there are transcendent moments of deep tranquillity. For most of their lives their inner and outer ambitions are strong and in balance. But eventually, at moments of rare joy, career ambitions pause, the ego rests, the stumbler looks out at a picnic or dinner or a valley and is overwhelmed by a feeling of limitless gratitude, and an acceptance of the fact that life has treated her much better than she deserves.
I rarely post long quotes from other blogs on my own. There’s a part of me that doesn’t want to become associated with ‘bloggers’ who never post their own content. I ought to publicly shame half of the ‘motivational’ speakers on Facebook these days. Oh, and Entrepreneur Magazine. Shame for your recycled share-bait.
Sometimes we’re in the stands, other times we are in the arena. Knowing how to differentiate between the two of these is a surefire way to boost your mental sanity.
Personally, I suffer from ‘potential anxiety’ that has caused an underlying level of stress in my life for years. I know a lot of others who suffer from this as well.
It’s the constant question that asks “am I meeting my potential to the fullest?” and it often triggers a caffeine-fueled scramble to piece together a business model, website, idea, or blog that I somehow feel will bridge this gap of feeling incomplete/inadequate.
I’ve been realizing that my time in Dallas has been an interesting portion of my life. I came here to meet certain goals that were defined before moving. They’ve been met. It’s time to move on to the next chapter of my life.
It’s time to take lessons I’ve learned over the past 8 years and apply them to the next leg of my entrepreneurial/life journey. While I haven’t attained an 8-figure net worth, yet, I have added many other items to my ‘net worth’ that I consider to be of equal – if not greater – importance than money.