Read the Think and Grow Rich book, and one of the points is that you have to have a goal that burns into your very being–a desire that you cannot contain, something that keeps you going during the day and awake at night. What do you desire?
Ever watch Lucifer?
I have wracked my brain for decades, going from interest to interest, all fleeting, all shallow. I am addicted to music teaching, but also any kind of teaching, but like most things, after a while, I have to take a break to maintain some sort of sanity and avoid burnout. I have some amazing knitting projects. I have entered those and other crafts into the state fair and won some pretty nice ribbons. I used to make Christmas baskets of homemade goodies–breads, jellies, fudge, and candies. I got very good at financial service. I have a vested interest in Toastmasters. But none of that is really a burning desire. Smoldering desire? Smoking desire? Nope. I thought college would focus my desire and even went back to school to get a degree in business, but though it was interesting, nothing sparked.
Dig DEEPER they said–all the books on “Having your best year ever,” and “Success in ___ easy steps,” (You can fill in any number in the blank, it doesn’t matter. There ARE no easy steps or the success would be cheaper.) “Finding the leader within you” and “21 irrefutable laws of leadership” tell you that unless you know what you want, you can’t help others get what they want. So deeper I went.
As I was pondering this apparent lack in my personal development about 3:00 AM yesterday, it came to me that the thing I most desire is this:
Are you ready?
Do you have a guess?
Understanding. What a weird thing to desire! Once you understand something, you’re never done because then you want to understand something else. I want to understand the Big Bang. I want to understand Special Relativity. I want to understand how people think. I want to understand group dynamics. I want to know why, when I’ve studied every leadership style, read dozens of books, watched dozens of seminars, webinars, podcasts, and workshops, I can tell you step by step how to be a leader and no one follows me. I want to understand how caterpillars become butterflies. I long to understand why some songs are popular and some are not. I wish I understood why my blogs have no readers. The quest for understanding is not the same as the quest for knowledge because facts without understanding do not answer questions.
When understanding is your underlying desire, it is hard to justify to those who long for proficiency in their fields, who long for a certain income, who crave a big audience, who long to help lots of people with their skills. What kind of job requires understanding as opposed to facts in evidence? Psychoanalysis? Understanding is gleaned from asking the right questions. And your understanding of your client is based on incomplete information because it is impossible for someone to convey thoughts, attitudes, perceptions, and philosophy to someone in such a way that every single darkened corner is flooded with light. Your total focus is in asking the questions that make the client self-aware and lead them to a better understanding of themselves. You will NEVER understand them totally.
Case in point:
If we continue in our current behavior, the earth will be destroyed in less than 50 years. That is a FACT! Deny it if you can!
Ok, denying it. It is the principle of unintended consequences. Greenhouse gasses cause the planet to warm up, the ice at the poles to melt. It changes the migration patterns of the birds and the sea creatures. It allows tropical flowers to grow in Nebraska. It makes things like the bomb cyclone happen. The reduction in the sheet ice also reduces the albedo or reflective surfaces of the earth which causes more absorption of solar radiation further raising the temperature. It may change the gulf stream and change the salinity of the oceans. What if it turned the Sahara Desert back into the rain forest it used to be?
Have you seen the pollen storms?
Never in my 60 years have I ever experienced that. Why is that happening? As the water heats up and the surface area of the oceans expands, there is more evaporation which causes more humidity which makes the air less stable. This increases the number and size of hurricanes and cyclones and bomb cyclones. What do we know about these clouds? The tops of the clouds increase the albedo of the planet, which cools the planet. The increased pollen causes more plants to grow and thrive. The fires cause more dust particles in the air which gives the moisture in the air something to cling to and increases the precipitation rates.
The earth is not a completely closed system since it receives energy from the sun continuously, but it is pretty darned close. The earth doesn’t care if there are humans on it. There will be life on the planet: civilizations, teeming and swarming life because of the proportion of water to land and the proximity of the moon. Greenhouse gasses are called greenhouse gasses because they are favorable to plant life. I tell you if you go back 10k years and say to man, “Man? QUIT PLANTING AND DOMESTICATING FOOD ANIMALS! 10 THOUSAND YEARS FROM NOW IT WILL KILL THE PLANET…AND PUT OUT THAT FIRE!” they will not listen. Note that the amount of dust and ash spewed out by volcanos completely dwarfs the number of particulates and gas in the air (including cow farts) produced by man and his manufacturing and agriculture. I could go on, but I won’t.
So here’s the thing. How does understanding this do me any good? Does it make me money? Does it make me famous? Does it make me powerful? No? Then why would I desire it? It’s a mystery.
Because I still get paid for giving music lessons and the financial business, I am not considered a drain on society, but if I only did what I desired, I would be reading, sucking up information and formulating theories and plausibilities for my own amusement and would be considered a lazy bum. My son Ben also ponders things like this though he’s more into human behavior than I. (https://puppettron.wordpress.com/) My daughter Jo writes fantasy/fiction based on a desire for understanding as well. https://ithilen.wordpress.com/2019/05/20/freshman-francis-the-library/
Maybe we all have that thirst for understanding, but for some, it’s not a craving or a desire, just a mild curiosity. Let me tell you though: once you have delved into the mystery that is understanding, every single other desire seems shallow and inconsequential. I am not ready to settle for a lesser desire. Though for the sake of society, maybe I should.