When my wife was a teenager, she really wanted curves.
My teenage desires were different, but common. I wanted to be jacked.
By the time we both got exactly what we wanted, we wanted something else.
We wanted to be whippet skinny so we could run fast.
We wanted to look like tall, but ripped, 14-year-olds!
I spent twenty-five years only to get right back where I started.
I noticed that there is an enduring feeling of my body being slightly unsatisfactory.
Once I noticed this pattern with my body, I saw it elsewhere.
Personal safety, other people’s driving, my house, my finances, my life situation… In many situations, there is a slight feeling of unsatisfactory.
I’m always striving to attain satisfaction that’s is just-out-of-reach.
As a young man, I might have seen striving as a good thing. My drive for improvement, my competitive urges, a desire for self-improvement… we have lots of names for the feeling.
Some cultures call it misery.
See what it feels like for you.
When I work with others, we use a simple technique.
- Write down what will make you satisfied.
- Write down what will make you less afraid.
- Write down what will make you feel secure.
Out of your list, choose one thing and work towards it.
Work slowly, pay attention, write things down.
Give yourself at least 1,000 days.
Ten years might be better.
You might get there quicker.
With my body, I didn’t start to notice my pattern until I’d been at it for twenty-five years!
With finances, I was lucky, I saw my pattern after a decade, took a leave of absence and enjoyed my first retirement.
The fact that the lesson took a long time was helpful.
Good things happen slowly.
It’s tempting to short cut the process via cosmetic surgery, performance enhancing drugs, or cutting corners (fraud, tax evasion, deception).
Short-cuts rarely work because we fail to notice the slightly unsatisfactory feeling is following us everywhere,
My victories didn’t work, either. My successes left me wanting more and the feeling followed me around.
So I tried enjoying myself…
Pleasure can temporarily mask the unsatisfactory feeling and many use drugs, alcohol, fatigue and other techniques.
The trouble is… the associated hangovers are increasingly unsatisfactory as I age.
What to do?
If you can see the unsatisfactory nature of things then you might ask “who’s not satisfied?”
Once I could see the “unsatisfied person” it was easier for me to decide he wasn’t going to run the show.
At least, some of the time.