Life tends to be a mixed bag of little wonderful moments surrounded by all kinds of little things to make you suffer.
Your date has been amazing, but the service at the chosen restaurant sucked and they got your order wrong.
You live in LA so you have the beach, the mountains, and the city all at your fingertips. It takes an hour in heavy, annoying traffic to get anywhere.
You have a great job, but your boss is really hard on you.
Your hobby became your job, but now you don’t have the same creative freedom.
Coffee is delicious! But a tiny bit too much caffeine gives you a blistering migraine.
These words from Jordan Peterson changed my approach to living:
Life is suffering. Right, indisputable.
What do you do about that?
You voluntarily accept it.
Then you strive to live in a way that reduces your own suffering, and reduces the suffering for the people around you.
The key though, is that this is not a linear relationship. You do not first accept the suffering, and then become able to live in a way that reduces it.
You make the choice yes, but the act of seeking out the small problems we have and fixing them is what makes bearing the burden easier. It is easier to encounter a bit of suffering, because now you can figure out how to fix the problem. Each time you solve a problem, each time you reduce your own suffering or someone else’s just a bit, each time you solve a meaningful problem, that is fulfillment, that is meaning.
This is meaningful work, solving problems which reduce the suffering we each have to live with.
What improvement can you make in your corner of the world?