Distinguishing Between An ‘Easy’ Life And A Rich One

It occurs to me that if you/i are to play BIG then we need to become skilful at distinguishing. Today I want to distinguish between an easy-comfortable life and a rich one.

The Default: The Lure Of The Easy-Comfortable Life

To a large degree the promise and lure of technology is that it will rid our lives of hassle, save us time, and free us up to focus on what really matters.  So it is not surprising that we lap up every new technology even though, on the whole, we do not find ourselves living/experiencing richer lives.

What is going on here? Let’s take a look at the phenomena. What do we do with the emptiness-space created by new technology?  We fill it up!  What is it that we fill it up with?  We fill it up with some form of junk: browsing the internet, reading trashy magazines/novels, hanging out on social media sites, watching tv, hanging out in the pub with the same crowd doing the same stuff, eating more food then we need just to entertain ourselves…..

Why do we free up time only to fill it up with junk?  Take a good look at the context.  We have been conditioned and have become comfortable to living from the context of ease-comfort. Being addicted to the easy-lazy life, we embrace technology to take out more of the challenges-problems-effort from our lives. When that does happen we are too lazy to use the freed up time-space to do anything other than that which is easy/comfortable for us.

What does this all amount to? I say the lure of an easy-comfortable life is addictive especially in our cultural context. And it is vicious trap.  The easier-comfortable we make our living, the more we invite banality and boredom into the experience of living.

Allow me to put it bluntly: a life without challenges/problems ends up being experienced as a problem!  

What Does A Rich Life Look Like?

It occurs to me that a rich life is full of challenges-problems that call forth the best in us: our ingenuity in grappling with, learning from, and overcoming challenges-problems.

This was brought home to me recently when I was discussing consulting engagements.  I found myself saying that I like the difficult consulting engagements, the more complex/difficult the better. When I looked into this I found the following: the easy-comfortable consulting engagement show up as boring-dull. They lack that which calls me forth, keeps me on my toes, brings out the best in me, leaves me with a sense of satisfaction.

What’s missing from easy-comfortable consulting engagements?  Meaningful-worthy challenges-problems. And the sense of discovery, engagement, learning, mastery and satisfaction that goes with grappling with and overcoming challenges-problems.  Furthermore, I notice that when I am immersed in the challenging engagements, self disappears, the sense of time disappears….

Will any kind of challenge-problem do? Yes and no.

Yes, in that a life that lacks challenges-problems will inevitably be experienced as dull-boring-empty – you/i just need to give it enough time for the ‘honeymoon’ period to be over.

No, in that the challenges-problems that show up as relevant-meaningful are those that we encounter when we travel the path that we find our innermost selves called to travel.  So if you find yourself called to travel the path of turning conflict into peace then it is the challenges-problems that get in the way of you travelling your path are the ones that matter. Why? Because if these challenges-problems did not exist then you would simply-quickly reach your objective. Game over. Then you are left with a sense of emptiness in your experience of living.

Summing Up

It occurs to me that you/i are mistaken in striving for the easy-comfortable life if by taking this path we expect to experience aliveness-joy-fulfillment.  This path can only leave you/me experiencing a sense of boredom-dissatisfaction-emptiness in the longer term when the glamour of ease-comfort has fallen from our eyes.

It occurs to me that the access to the experience of aliveness-joy-fulfillment-freedom is going for and living a rich life: a life lived on the path of possibility where plenty of challenges-problems (small and big) show up and which call us to be BIG in grappling with them and overcoming them. And even if we do not overcome them, we have experienced  a meaningful existence, a rich life.

Is it possible to mix up a rich life with an easy-comfortable one? It occurs to that the answer is yes. Here I am reminded of my trekking days when it would take time, awareness, attention to detail and considerable effort to trek up a mountain. And upon arriving at the peak, usually tired-exhausted, I’d take time out to simply enjoy the scenery, eat-drink-sleep. And then get ready for the next trek.


Nelson Mandela: A Master of Being?

I am not in a position to say anything about Nelson Mandela. Why? I didn’t know him at all, I simply know of him. What I notice is that a big deal is being made of his death. Why?

It occurs to me that Nelson Mandela embodied a certain way of being. A way of being that is uncommon in our age. What kind of being am I pointing at?   Being a stand for a possibility that speaks to many of us, a possibility that moves-touches-inspires many of us at the very deepest level:

“I think his main legacy will be instilling confidence among all people in South Africa, instilling the knowledge that people are equal, all people regardless of colour; that people can live in peace and harmony and love.”

-Fellow ANC political prisoner Ahmed Kathrada

Looking through is ‘work’ I find myself deeply touched by some of his saying. These I share with you for they may also call to you, touch you, and open up new possibilities and avenues. It occurs to me that if you and I are to generate value from these quotes then we have to live them not just read them.

There is no passion to be found playing small–in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

“One of the things I learned when I was negotiating was that until I changed myself, I could not change others.

Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”

“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy.”

“There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”

“It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.”

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we led.

“There is a universal respect and even admiration for those who are humble and simple by nature, and who have absolute confidence in all human beings irrespective of their social status.”

One cannot be prepared for something while secretly believing it will not happen.

“There are few misfortunes in this world that you cannot turn into a personal triumph if you have the iron will and the necessary skill.”

A winner is a dreamer who never gives up

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