On wanting what we get instead of getting what we want

There is a stoic saying: “Amor Fati”, which translates to love fate. In other words, we will be much better off, if we focus on appreciating the things that come our way, instead of striving for things, which we may or may not get and which are ultimately outside of our control.

I’m not arguing that we should succumb to apathy, but I am saying that if we stop resisting the things that happens to us, we might just be able to appreciate the things we have – because the truth is, if you are able to read this, then chances are you have a number of things in your life to be grateful for. And if you feel like you don’t, I guarantee that looking for things to be grateful for will change your outlook immediately. Looking for things to be grateful for is such a massive shift in mindset that it is almost unfathomable.

What’s important to understand however is that we’re not biologically wired to look for things to be grateful for. We’re biologically wired to gather resources for hard times, but our society has significantly outpaced our biology, and our technology has significantly outpaced our society. What this means is that most of us have enough resources to stay alive without worrying if we will starve to death – that is enough to be grateful for. What this also means is that we’ve created sufficient security for ourselves to not worry about being eaten by sabretooth tigers – our biggest worry is that our boss might get upset with us – which to our brains ironically is the same thing.

The point here is that in order to live our best lives – or in order to live a good life – we must stop focusing on all the things we don’t have, because if we stop to focus on all the things we do have, it turns out life is pretty sweet. And if you focus on the things you do have, people will start noticing that you smile more, that you’re easier to be around, and that in turn will give you more things to be grateful for.

I don’t want to presume that I’m in a position to tell you what to do, but I will say that focusing on the things I am grateful for on a daily basis has provided my life with immense value. This is not to say that my life is perfect, because it isn’t – but the quality of my life has improved immensely from jotting down a few things that I’m grateful for each and every day, and I encourage you to try it, to experience the effects for yourself.

2 thoughts on “On wanting what we get instead of getting what we want

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