Perhaps life’s purpose is the very lack of it

“The existence, the physical universe is basically playful. There is no necessity for it whatsoever. It isn’t going anywhere. That is to say it doesn’t have a destination that it ought to arrive at.” – Alan Watts

If you are like me, you’ve often asked yourself what’s the purpose of life is.

I guess most of us strive towards something greater at some point in our lives, yet this ‘something’ is highly individual, and we cannot all be right, can we?

Whether it’s a certain achievement like building a house, landing a dream job, and producing a piece of art, or living a virtuous life in order to get to heaven, there is no singular truth.

We have many different religions and probably a greater variety of perspectives on life and death than we have Homo Sapiens walking this planet. It follows that the existence of an ultimate, general purpose for us human beings is highly unlikely.

 

Live on purpose rather than for a purpose

So what if this purposelessness is actually the purpose?

Maybe there’s no glory to attain, nothing to accomplish and nothing to be. This means we can decide for ourselves who we want to be and assign meaning to that, instead of to some higher goal.

Maybe we can do whatever we wish, shape ourselves in whatever way we want. If there’s no destination but one of our own devising—nowhere to move unless that’s where we aim to be—then we can just relax, make the best of it and enjoy our time here. We can live on purpose rather than for a purpose.

 

Why your life is not a journey

I highly recommend that you check out the video below in which philosopher Alan Watts explains why your life is not a journey. He compares life to a musical composition: there is no purpose to it but the thing itself. We do not listen to compositions because we want to arrive at some destination; we listen to it simply for the experience of listening to it.

So if life is like music, let’s sing, dance, play and travel the world! The thing is, it doesn’t matter. Be who you want to be. But don’t go chasing after some superfluous thing that won’t actually bring you joy. You are already where you have to be. Best enjoy the ride!

Can you accept a compliment?

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” – Leo Buscaglia

Can you accept a compliment?

Without feeling embarrassed.
Without needing it.
Without playing it down in your head.
Without immediately wanting to return it.
Without letting it pressure you in one way or the other.

Can you let it be, without adding anything to it? Allowing it to be perfect as it is.

Can you just let this compliment fill your heart with joy?

I’m guessing most of us find it difficult to accept compliments sometimes. But let’s not have that stop us from trying anyway. Because the capacity to gracefully accept compliments is a treasure. It’s a gift that we can only give to ourselves. And yes, we are worth it.

The student’s mindset

“Your mindset matters. It affects everything – from the business and investment decisions you make, to the way you raise your children, to your stress levels and overall well-being.” – Peter Diamandis

This is a brief post on a way of thinking that I’ve found to be useful in difficult times. We’ll call it the student’s mindset.

Having a student’s mindset means that you attempt to find teachings in anything that happens. Practically speaking this means that you might turn difficult life events into valuable lessons, and meaningless suffering into meaningful challenge.

It may sound pretentious, but it really isn’t. Surely life will still drag you down, but rather than just being helpless, or frustrated with it all, you could try to see such events as an opportunity to learn about yourself and the world around you.

 

The student’s mindset in action

I’ve found this mindset to be applicable to a large spectrum of hardships. For example, say a new building is being constructed next to your apartment and loud noises from the construction site wake you up at 7:30 am each morning. You can become angry about it every single day and perhaps even fantasize about physically harassing some of those construction workers. But you could also see it as the perfect opportunity to wake up earlier and see what that brings you.

Or if you were to break a leg, you could sit around in your apartment all day, binge-watching Netflix, and feel useless. But you could also see it as an opportunity to reconsider your life goals, and perhaps take some online courses.

Or say your spouse was to break up with you, leaving you feeling sad, depressed and unconfident. While these feelings are totally legit and you should allow yourself to feel them, you could also try to see this event as an opportunity to learn about yourself. You could see it as a chance to rediscover who you are without this other person by your side, what you want out of a relationship, or perhaps how you could have been more vulnerable, less dependent, etc.

Or even if a loved one were to die. While this is one of the worst things that could happen to you, it does not necessarily mean that you cannot also ascribe positive meaning to it. Yielding the student’s mindset you might find yourself pondering the deeper questions of life. You may find a deeper appreciation for things that you previously took for granted. Death can teach you about gratitude as much as anything, but you do have to open up to that possibility. The student’s mindset can help you with that.

 

But it’s not easy…

Please note that I’m not saying that adopting such a mindset is easy, because it’s not. It might take you many years of effort to cultivate it. Personally, I think I’ve only been scratching the surface of it in my own life. I nevertheless feel that the student’s mindset has significantly improved my overall well-being.

Experiment with it yourself, and try it on for size!

A lover’s first kiss

“Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns, it calls me on and on across the universe.” – John Lennon (from the song: Across The Universe)

As we walk from the tapas bar to the night museum, our hands finally touch. In a suggestive way that is. Definitely not convincing but it’s better than nothing. I wonder whether she likes me too. Although this thought suggests that I like her… and I’m not quite sure about that.

It’s a beautiful midsummer evening in a beach-side European city. I’ve been traveling for the past few weeks and the road is starting to feel like home. I’m becoming quite comfortable here, very tranquil, without a doubt on the horizon. Until I met this girl that is.

There’s just something about her. She’s pretty, tan-skinned, but otherwise very ordinary, yet she intrigues me. Perhaps it’s the slight language barrier. Perhaps it’s because she’s staying in the hostel bunk next to mine, making this a ‘girl-next-door’ kind of crush. Perhaps it’s the fact that I’ve spent most of the past week with another girl, and feel confused about meeting someone else.

Whatever it is, I can’t say that I’m in the zone. The zone, you know? Where everything you do just works for some reason. Or at least you think it does. And when it doesn’t, you don’t care. It’s a sense of invincibility, a kind of flow state that can last for days, weeks even. Perhaps that’s what I’m looking for in this girl, to get into the zone, to feel alive again! But right now that’s not really working out for me.

The two of us went to the beach today, and while we had fun, there was no touching. If there was any flirting at all, it was very slight. That being said, when we went out last night, she surprised me by joining me in leaving early. I guess the signals were there, it just felt like risky gambling to me. Like I would risk everything, my whole bubble of comfort, simply for trying something with her. But it doesn’t matter, does it? Because here we are, touching hands, near that night-museum, on my last night here.

 

A lover’s first kiss

The museum’s entrance fee is beyond our backpacker-budgets so we decide to keep walking. And that we do, without any sense of direction. To walk is easier than talk.

We touch hands a couple more times, and I even put my arm around her for a while. She doesn’t seem very enthusiastic about that, but she doesn’t object either. I still have no idea how she feels about me.

We buy a couple of beers and find a park bench where we finish them. I’m glad to finally have some proximity, this might get interesting, except that it doesn’t. Some toothless old lady ruins the moment. She wants a beer and will not leave us alone. We give her one but she creeps us out. I guess we should leave.

So yet again we walk, without holding hands this time, and still no sense of direction. The moon is smiling down on us but I’m starting to feel restless, a feeling I always get when I’m being indecisive. I need to lead us somewhere, no girl would ever want to walk around by night randomly for hours, would they?

I put my faith in Google Maps. It directs us to another small park. We walk over there to sit down and finish our beers.

We arrive and find ourselves amidst a lovely flower garden. Sadly there aren’t any benches. At this point, I’m done being indecisive though, so I lead the way, find a quiet part of the garden and sit down at flower level. I wonder whether she’s comfortable with this but she joins me, seemingly oblivious to my misgivings.

I still have no clue whether I can kiss her. I honestly have no idea. I usually do; whether there’s a touch of hair, an exchange of glances, a bite in the lower lip, I can typically tell whether a girl wants me to kiss her. But this girl… she really doesn’t make it easy for me.

In some way, a man gives all of his heart to a woman when he goes for the first kiss. It’s the defining zero-or-hero moment when she decides whether she’ll have him or not. With the hundredth girl it may be easier than the tenth, but sometimes you come across someone who can make you feel like it’s your first kiss again.

That’s how she makes me feel like it’s my first time. So I nervously wait for a more fitting moment. Any signal, anything. Any moment would be better than NOW. It’s my last night here so I gladly talk about that, hoping to avoid any uncomfortable silences.

Then suddenly I’m captured by a strong sense of finitude. This moment won’t last, we won’t last. Nothing will last. If not now, then when? All there is, is now. I don’t know whether there will be another moment like this. The only moment I can possibly count on is this one.

This sense of urgency pushes me to take the leap. She never really made long eye contact before, but when I touch her back she gazes into my eyes, so I go for it. And when our lips touch she responds. Not shocked, which part of me expected, but passionately. Like she’s been waiting for this all day.

 

A timeless moment

In that moment we connected more deeply than any language could express, on a level that goes beyond logic. It could only be felt, not rationally understood.

We remained there for quite a while longer, enjoying the blessing of being together. Of course that moment did not last either. Nor did the feeling of connection, nor my ‘flow’ state. I just held her tightly until it was time to let go.

In a year it will probably be a beautifuland perhaps heavily distortedmemory of what once was. And while I know that not even the memory will last, I like to think that such moments are timeless: a first kiss between lovers, a meaningful moment of warmth and passion. And that, in some way, we’ve created something, together. Something that will outlive us all.

To grieve

No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear”- C.S. Lewis (from: A Grief Observed)

To grieve is to be afraid. It’s to be confronted with mortality in its nakedest form.

To grieve is to realize that everything we know will someday perish. It’s a violent awakening from the dream of being in control.

To grieve is to be completely in the dark, where the simplest of tasks are beyond us and we hardly recognize the person in the mirror.

To grieve is to have a deep wound that reopens at random, having the bandage ripped off when we least expect it.

But grief is also a blessing in ways. It’s love in its most striking disguise. It’s a logical consequence of having cared deeply.

To grieve is to hurt more intensely than anything we’ve ever felt, but it’s also a deep gratitude for all that remains in our lives.

To grieve is to be numb, but it’s also to be sensitive beyond measure. It’s a means of finding essence, beholding beauty, and being alive in one of the sincerest of ways.

Grief.

Everyone faces it sooner or later. Will it conquer you, or will you dance with it? Will you hide from it, or greet it respectfully, like an old acquaintance you’d rather have avoided but ‘here you are’?

Grief.

Let us not drown in our sorrow. Let us sail its mighty oceans and emerge from it anew—like butterflies from cocoons—more empathic and humane, more consciously awake.

Oh grief.

Be kind to me. Show me the light and I will fetch it. Show me the path and I will walk it.

Grief.

My 5 favorite books of 2016

“Books are a uniquely portable magic” – Stephen King (from: On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft)

Reading good books is one of the great delights of my life. And while  reading preference is probably highly personal, I always find it useful to learn what like-minded people are reading. For that reason, I’ve decided to share my favorite 5 books that I read in 2016. Without further ado, here’s my top 5 in no particular order:

 

Deep Work – Cal Newport

I’ve read several of Cal’s books over the years and they’ve definitely transformed my professional life. Cal is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University who’s been writing and researching productivity ever since he himself was a High School Superstar.

In Deep Work, Cal defines deep- and shallow work and describes a recent trend towards shallow work—which is work that is easily replicated and doesn’t require intens focus—while deep work, the opposite of shallow work, is becoming increasingly rare and valuable. He then suggests several ways of implementing deep work into your life and getting more out of your typical workday.

I’ve been experimenting with deep work ever since reading this book and found that blocking my e-mail, Facebook, and several distracting websites completely during the day was both effective and necessary to sustain it. I also swap my iPhone for an old Samsung phone that doesn’t have internet when I feel like getting serious. This may sound a bit extreme but Deep work made me recognize the value of not having my work interrupted.

Anyone who wants to feel more confident about finding a job in a future full of automation, would do well do read this book. You can find an animated summary of Deep Work here.

 

Ego Is The Enemy – Ryan Holiday


While the title of this book would be terribly misplaced in a spiritual or psychological context, ego, as defined more superficially by Ryan Holiday, is actually the enemy. And fighting it should be an important goal in any ambitious person’s life.

In this book, Ryan defines the ego as “an unhealthy belief in one’s own importance” and offers down-to-earth, practical advice on how to keep this ego in check. The relevance of fighting the ego is illustrated perfectly by my favorite quote in the book: “it’s impossible to learn that which one thinks one already knows” – Epictetus.

Ryan makes use of case studies of both success-stories an failures. He uses these to come to conclusions about how to tune the ego for success and, more generally, living a good life. I found these case studies very educational and they make for a fun read!

This book was almost dethroned from this list by Adam Grant’s Originals. The books have a lot in common and both are full of wisdom and practical tips. However, I chose Ego Is The Enemy for the simple reason that I enjoyed reading it better. The interesting case studies definitely contributed to that.

Find an animated summary of Ego Is The Enemy here.

 

John Lennon: The Life – Philip Norman


I’m a huge fan of biographies. Reading well-written biographies of interesting people is, in my opinion, one of the most worthwhile investments of one’s time.

I’ve read several biographies this year. Most of these were biographies of scientists, such as The Wright Brothers by David McCullough, The Man Who Loved Only Numbers by Paul Hoffman, Faraday, Maxwell and the Electromagnetic Field by Nancy Forbes and Basil Mahon, and Genius, a Richard Feynman biography by James Gleick. So it was nice reading about a musician’s life for a change!

While Genius would have been my favorite biography had I read it for the first time this year [1], John Lennon: The Life, is also a masterpiece. And it has one of the most fascinating of subjects ever. What a character John was!

It’s been a delight to read about John’s developments as both a musician and a person. Also, let it be no secret that I am a huge Beatles fan, and this book covers the history of the Beatles quite well. I’m particularly impressed by the writer’s objectivity in covering the Beatles’ conflicts leading up to their breakup.

This is a must-read for any Beatles fan, or, in other words: everyone!

 

On The Move – Oliver Sacks


For some reason Sacks never really got under my skin. I read his Muscicophilia a few years ago and remember disliking it. In fact, I didn’t even finish it. As a Neuroscience student I found his conclusions somewhat shortsighted and I didn’t like his tone. I guess I just wasn’t ready for his work.

The experience of reading Sacks’ autobiography, On the Move, couldn’t have been more different. It got me to deeply appreciate this man, who struggled with many of life’s greatest questions as well as his homosexuality in a time when it wasn’t socially accepted at all. Sacks was also quite the traveler (hence the title) and the book portrays many of his adventures on the road as well.

Whether you’re a fan of Sacks’ work or not, I highly recommend On The Move: A Life, especially if you’re interested in writing or the medical sciences.

 

Nexus (trilogy) – Ramez Naam


This list wouldn’t have been complete without some fiction in it. Besides the Nexus trilogy, I loved reading Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother and Homeland, its sequel. In the end, Nexus won the battle for this list because of the exciting neural lace-like technology it describes.

While one could argue that the Nexus books aren’t written that well, I think the story more than makes up for the writer’s lack of experience in fiction-writing. In fact, the story has touched me deeply. I found it extremely interesting to read about the direction in which our future may very well be headed.

The Nexus books introduce us to a world where technology, rather than just turning us into Pokémon Go zombies, makes us more humane. A drug-like technology called Nexus, allows brains to interconnect and encourages a deep understanding between people. At the same time, this technology also causes huge political issues, leading to a war between the conservatives, who are driven by fear of it, and the liberals, who are fighting for their freedom. I love how the writer depicts the dangers of fear and ignorance in policy making, and I believe this will become increasingly relevant in the coming years.

Overall, I found the Nexus books extremely interesting. They directly touch many of my interests, such as Neuroscience, technology, programming, and transcendental experiences. I often couldn’t stop reading.

Trans-humanism is coming, and it’s coming fast! If you wish to join the bandwagon, you could do worse than to start with these books.

 

Notes
[1] I would strongly urge anyone who’s even remotely interested in science to read Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!, authored by Feynman himself, and compliment it with James Gleick’s Genius, they’re definitely among my favorite books of all time

The tragedy of the nonconformist

“One of the greatest regrets in life is being what others would want you to be, rather than being yourself.” – Shannon Alder

In today’s world, nonconformity is often considered a virtue. And rightly so, as lots of extraordinary achievements directly result from individuals not submitting to culturally-determined standards. As such, we might do well to think different, as Steve Jobs would have put it. Être extraordinaire!

Be that as it may, as with all virtues, one must be cautious of gravitating towards its dark side. In the case of nonconformity, this happens when one isn’t just diverging from group norms, but is downright allergic to them. Here the nonconformist is adhering to the same rules as the conformist but simply acts inversely. This is unproductive as well as hypocritical, and I think it completely misses the purpose of diverging from norms in the first place: intellectual freedom.

I wrote a short story to illustrate this point.

 

The tragedy of the nonconformist

Imagine being a tall, proud sheep who has recently been moved to a new herd. This new herd is somewhat different from the ones you’re used to and you started noticing something odd.

Every day, when the shepherd rings the bell to announce that it’s time for dinner, all the sheep become excited and start rushing to the food, pushing and squeezing. Making dinner a less than pleasurable experience for you.

Seeing this happen daily, you quickly start to judge this behavior and, being the stubborn sheep you are, decide you want nothing to do with it. So, every day, whenever that bell rings, rather than walk towards it, you turn around and stare into the empty planes.

It goes on like this for a while, with you typically eating last, all by yourself. This gives you mixed feelings. You often feel lonely and wish you’d made some new friends. But at the same time you feel a gratifying righteousness. You feel special, different from those limited minds who participate in that same stupidity every day. You see yourself as a nonconformist, and it makes you feel superior.

Months go by since you first turned your back to the dinner-scene. Then, one day, the shepherd is late with ringing the bell, causing a particular excitement and restlessness in the herd. This makes you feel additional contempt and disgust, anger even. Can’t those stupid sheep see how dumb they look?

So when the bell finally rings and all the sheep make a run for it, you don’t even bother turning around. You simply stare at those morons, pushing and squeezing.

But then you see something, something you hadn’t noticed before. Some of the sheep aren’t pushy at all, they just smile when the bell rings and join the back of the line, chatting with their neighbors in amusement. They don’t seem irritated by the other sheep at all and are having a great time. In fact, they are having a much better time than you are having.

They seem approachable too, like they wouldn’t mind talking to you at all. As if the thought of you being different, for better or worse, has never even occurred to them. One of them even winks at you.

And that’s when you realize what a fool you’ve been. You were looking down on the other sheep while being just as reactive. You decide, there and then, to become like those sheep in the back of the line. Who just go with the flow. Who haven’t so strongly judged the behavior of their fellow sheep and alienated themselves as a result.

You decide to let go of your judgments. Sure you’ll have an opinion, and you probably won’t ever count yourself among the pushy sheep, but you won’t judge them harshly either. You realize that life is way too short to live in contempt. That you’d rather become someone who is loving first and a critic second. That a nonconformist is only that when there’s no contra-reaction, no allergy.

You compliment your mind on the incredible self-deception that it is capable of. But you decide to see things in a different light, and just be. You’ll be able to enjoy being part of this herd now.

So you start walking. Step by step. Excited to join the party and meet those inviting eyes. You step into the queue next to the guy who winked at you. You nod and smile. It’s a beautiful day and the sun is shining down on you. Life, it never ceases to surprise. What a wonderful miracle.

If I can do it then you can too

“Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.” ― Albert Einstein

If I would have to rank common sayings by how little sense they make to me, then one of the top contenders would certainly be: “If I can do it then you can too”, which is widely used by famous people, inspirational gurus and so called self-development ‘experts’ to encourage us nobodies to take action. However, as much as I’d like to believe in the feasibility of dreams, I think this saying is not only untrue but also potentially dangerous.

 

Why this saying fails

First and foremost, this saying doesn’t capture the concept of probability. Nor does it address the complex interaction between an individual and its environment that leads to a certain type of success. The saying suggests that ‘you’ (anyone) could—by adopting a certain mindset—reach the same level of success, which implies that the person stating it:
1) knows the exact recipe of his/her own success,
2) assumes that this recipe is one-fit-all,
3) fails to recognize the improbability of their success, i.e. the overwhelmingly large contribution of ‘luck’.

The fact of the matter is that a lot of successful people worked very hard to get to where they are. This makes them biased towards thinking that hard work was solely responsible for their success. However, they completely neglect to take into account the people who worked just as hard (and smart) and then failed. A group that is typically magnitudes larger than those who succeeded. This is where eyebrows should be raised, in particular on the faces of the scientific minded.

We are paying good money for advice, but most of it exists under the false paradigm of replicability. Whole industries are build on our insecurity. And worse than that, we put our day-to-day happiness in jeopardy. It’s hard to imagine a less rational world than one where millions of people are competing for recognition, and feel worthless in its absence. We are better than that.

 

A more appropriate way to think about success

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t pay for advice, or strive to be better versions of ourselves. Nor am I saying that it’s completely useless to study what successful people do. I’m sure there exist facts to be known about success in a particular field, at a particular time in history. What I am saying, however, is that we should avoid believing in the lie that we can all be the greatest… if only we tried hard enough.

The probabilistic nature of the matter won’t be addressed by exclusively studying success stories. We should recognize this whenever we read the latest analogue of ‘Think And Grow Rich’, and find ways to contribute that are both valuable and distinctive to our respective talents and skill sets.

So sure, let’s study how many shots Michael Jordan took before he won five Most Valuable Player awards. But let’s always be skeptics and find our own ways. Let’s be motivated by the successes of others but not be the consumers of their latest, cutting-edge magic pills. We can, by definition, not all be extraordinary—nor should we aim to be. Ordinary is exceptional enough. Work hard, ask questions and be a curious observer as your story unfolds itself. Ultimate control is an illusion, it’s about time we realize that.

Walk the path, any path

“The farther you go on your own path, the more you understand every other path. At the end, they all converge.” – Philip Toshio Sudo (from: Zen Guitar)

Not many things are as liberating as letting loose the perpetual and urgent sense of having to do more. Whether due to an underlying belief of not being enough, or simply the addictive dopamine rush of the next new thing, this sense is able to wreck contentment, work-performance and ultimately even the principal prerequisite of a fulfilling life: your physical health.
 

The path of the heart

The self-improvement industry counsels clichés like “follow your heart”, which, however true they might be, are surprisingly useless. I highly doubt that the answer is found in more of what the heart wants. Perhaps we ought to actually follow less of it, to save ourselves from drowning in the youngest of numerous passions and allow the heart to reveal its essence.

And what is this essence? It sure isn’t some preexisting, godsend calling to become a yoga-instructor (although if it is, that’s fine, yoga is great). Nor is it a job title, life-altering insight, or newfound mission statement. It’s something else, something greater.

In fact, it’s the path itself, or perhaps I should say ‘a’ path, any path. For it isn’t the label that the heart truly desires, it’s the experience. It’s the process of deeply plunging oneself into something, anything. To be captured by it wholly.

And to be good at it too. Not good in the sense that you’ll be loudly applauded by the many (although, again, if that’s the case, good for you sir), but good in the sense that you find a deeper means of self-expression and life-appreciation in it. That you may forget about everything else. A kind of craftsmanship if you will.
 

Depth over width

The heart longs for such immersion, and it can only be found by doing less rather than more… by not allowing your attention to wander all over the place, checking Facebook first thing in the morning, or watching Game of Thrones, while texting your spouse and answering the last few emails of the day.

It can only be found by being. Right here, right now. And allowing single-minded focus to seduce you into its captivating arms. It’s by appreciating depth over width that the heart wins. May it kindly light your way.

 

The grand paradox of acceptance

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” – Alan Watts

Consider these three equivalent statements:
• Accept a situation completely and unconditionally as is, in order to move past it.
• Give up the need for change in order to change.
• Cease to force growth and grow thou wilt
They describe a paradoxical force of nature that is independent of any deliberate human resolution: the deceptively simple act of acceptance. In my experience, it’s hard to overestimate its benefits.

Acceptance comes with a mighty wave of serenity, which can be ridden at any time but is more typically neglected. I wonder why… and I think we should change that.

 

To acceptance

Could we simply be observers as the secrets of the future gradually reveal themselves to us? Or would we rather hold on to the conceivably illusive notion of control. I think that answers to such questions matter.

One point of view may encourage negligence and passiveness, whereas the other might be a root of suffering. Every day, every minute, every moment we get to (feel like we) decide where we stand on this spectrum. Do we seize or release? Contract or relax?

As with most things, the truth of the matter is far from absolute. And the answer can probably be found somewhere in the middle. However, I wish to conclude with a gentle reminder of how good a life of acceptance can be, because I think that’s what the world needs a little more of right now. A soothing exhale.

“Stress is caused by being “here” but wanting to be “there,” or being in the present but wanting to be in the future. It’s a split that tears you apart inside. To create and live with such an inner split is insane. The fact that everyone else is doing it doesn’t make it any less insane.

If you have to, you can move fast, work fast, or even run, without projecting yourself into the future and without resisting the present. As you move, work, run — do it totally. Enjoy the flow of energy, the high energy of that moment. Now you are no longer stressed, no longer splitting yourself in two. Just moving, running, working — and enjoying it.” – Eckhart Tolle (from: “The Power of Now“)