In your 20’s you're driven by desire. You’ve been so accustomed to pleasing others, seeking positive feedback, seeking status, chasing money… you do all you can do get external rewards.
You’re drive makes you blind to most others, and you’re somewhat self-centered, by only as a byproduct of your intense focus on shaping your own self-image.
At some point, however this fuel starts to fade… its unsustainable. Failures occur, mistakes happen, burnout happens, and the stimulus that you used to rely on has become your sparring partner, a necessary fight that fuels you, but also breaks you down.
Like sugar, the energy that comes from a drive for status as a source of power is unsustainable. You burn through it faster, and the rewards of recognition fade and you find yourself needing more. This can lead to great external success. But this success gets ever more hollow if it’s not balanced by energy and contentment outside of the superficial.
And so somewhere you sense that there has to be something else and that’s when your world starts to turn.
Shaking off the sugar hits leads you to be somewhat at a loss. No longer driven by the fear of loss, you’re forced to find within you a new type of energy, one that sustains, one that is holistic. It burns less bright at the margin but it has a much greater depth. Your vision grows beyond what you used to see – encompassing much more of life: New emotions, deeper relationships, a wider perspective on what life has to offer.
Because the trap of the superficial drives is that it is extremely limited, relative to the diversity of experience available to those who can leave it behind.
You may love to eat sweets, but all the while you are unaware of the other tastes and their combinations – like spicy, umami…
And as you start down this path to change your center of gravity away from the need to create a self image for others to reward, to discovering yourself, and the world, what is already there…
You find that the depth below is boundless. You laugh at how much you have missed that was right in front of your eyes. You look in awe of what exists already, on it’s own, without any of your doing.
You are split into two worlds.
The external still has its joys, and its still fun, but it’s substance is seen for what is; fleeting. The depth of exploration takes commitment, and bravery, but its discoveries last – in fact it’s not that they last but they are eternal, sturdy to stand on.
Your choice of fuel becomes more available – and your actions reflect your stimulus. Reactively pursuing goals has its own consequences, which sometimes you accept.
But discovering who you are at its depths has no limits. The fuel burns long, and deep. The satisfaction starts small but slowly builds, granted by courage.
All wisdom is hard won.
But the hardest step is a shift to the center of your gravity that puts the world in a new perspective beyond a reactive life.