Yesterday, I was sitting in Comet Burger, a great burger and shake joint in my home town. Some of the fixtures behind the counter are straight out of the 1950s, good old-fashioned soda jerk fixtures, if you know what I mean. For whatever reason, I was fixated on one particular tap when the waitress walked over, pulled it, and filled a glass with water. At that moment, I was instantly transported to another level of consciousness.
No, I was not on drugs…
At that exact moment, a dozen swirling thoughts came together simultaneously and converted a logical conclusion that I have understood intellectually for years into a moment of satori (instant enlightenment) where that very same thought was internalized throughout my entire being. Here’s the thought…
“If I don’t like my life, it is my own damn fault.”
Living in the western world, I have or have had many advantages. I had schools to teach me, doctors to heal me, a stable banking system to hold my money, an economy that delivers all the necessities (and many of the desires) of life to me. Really, is there any excuse not to do exactly what I want, when I want, how I want? Nothing short of an outright injustice (murder, rape, etc.) could happen to me that I couldn’t in some way recover from. If I send a bad steak back, the world will not end. If I get fired, I will not die. If I express an opinion on something, the government does not show up at my door and haul me to prison.
Why then did I (and does most of the western world still do) believe that I can’t do exactly what I want, when I want, how I want? I believe it is because we have confused the ideas of “doing” with “achieving”.
For example, you might say, “I want to go to Disneyland.” That is not doing. That is achievement.
You might say, “I want to drive a sports car.” That is not doing. That is achievement.
You might say, “I want to make love to a beautiful women.” That is not doing. That is achievement.
What is doing then?
Doing is living your life in such a way that when you work you think about work and when you play you think about play.
Doing is keeping your current car clean and beautiful. Doing is enjoying the act of driving.
Doing is being in love with yourself and with your own life.
To try to achieve before trying to do, you sentence yourself to neverending misery. Your achievements are rarely met and, when they are met, rarely live up to expectations. To do first, without the thought of achievement, is to achieve bliss in each moment and increases the likelihood and frequency of achievement as a co-product of your actions.
Think of this the next time you pour water from an open tap.