Struggling Towards Our Goals

An article from author and blogger Mark Manson indeed caught my attention. He expounded on the idea that we tend to want “the reward and not the struggle”, “the result and not the process”, the victory and not the fight. He reminded his readers that life does not work that way that “we are defined by the values we are willing to struggle for”, that “our struggles determine our successes”, and for us to choose our struggles wisely. I liked his approach that bypassed the unrealistically optimistic picture we often get, that all we have to do is want something and it will come, that success is inevitable. But more importantly I liked the implications his piece evoked in me of going beyond the application of such thinking to our personal problems and using it to resolve our social ones. Think of climate change, gun control, poverty, any number of issues, which involve our giving up something in order to reach results, maybe giving up options, or freedom, maybe involving a bit of sacrifice, certainly making adjustments of some sort in order for us as a society to succeed in resolving an issue. We are so often unwilling to undergo the costs of a solution, and that keeps our problems alive, forestalls any answers and keeps us sometimes from moving forward. To make the planet safe from the consequences of climate change we must alter our life styles; to be safer from the frequent occurrences of mass shootings, we must alter our understanding of what gun ownership entails. Bringing out our higher values demands we accept the costs, or as Mark Manson might say that we accept the struggles which will eventually lead to our successes. Whether on a personal or societal level, somewhere in our struggles our higher values will be called forth, come to the fore, and without realizing it we might even play a mini role in making a better society. Actually, I’ll admit that not avoiding struggles in order to reach a goal is an approach I’ve followed without regrets. If you haven’t tried it, as for example in dieting, I’d be surprised if it didn’t work for you too.