How often do we hear those around us express some interest or desire in life goals, but no indication of how they plan to pursue it, or if they truly plan to pursue it at all? And how often do they die or age past their ability with those desires left unfulfilled?
Urgency And Focus
There is a sense of urgency which one has every reason to feel, but which often seems only transient in humans. When one feels it, it appears so simple, as if nothing could possibly cause one to waver from the path it suggests. And if one has learned to think clearly and for himself, the goals which matter to his life become easily identifiable as one realizes the gravity of his situation—the situation of being alive and faced with the choice to pursue his own most profound goals and create a life worth living, or to stagnate and live a life of only the hypothetical. And consider how much stems from this decision: putting forth the effort to start a business, create something of value, or learn some skill may lead one to a drastically different life—in a different city or country, surrounded by different people, working on a different job.
However, it seems that many people (or, maybe, potentially anyone given a certain state of mind) appear unable to even consider this. Any life different from the ones they live and the ones directly ahead on their current paths is entirely alien and incomprehensible to them; as I alluded to, the reality—including the costs and the benefits—of their goals seems nonexistent; and because the goals could only be brought to fruition by the person’s conceiving that reality and acting according to it, in a sense they do not exist.
Wasting Your Potential
This is especially disgraceful and frustrating to witness when one realizes that he has everything to gain from the pursuit of his desires, but also everything to lose by failing to do so. Clearly, one has everything to gain because by fulfilling his most sovereign aims he may create the life he most desires, not only by applying his own effort well, but also by attaining the environment most conducive to such a life. Also, it may not be immediately obvious, but the difficulties inevitable in one’s life become less painful; indeed, when one leads a life that prioritizes the realization of that which he values most highly, then he is well-poised to rebuild or redeem value that is lost. In other words, a man who creates value is far better equipped to replace something important in his life which he loses, either through his own work or with the help of those around him, as one attracts the value of others by producing value himself.
In contrast, when one settles into a practical life in an environment which does not foster creativity and self-actualization, he is much more likely to develop the socially-induced intoxication which kills one’s sense of urgency. And although this leads to a relatively predictable course of life, difficulties are inevitable, and a life that compromises one’s ambition prepares one only to accept damage done, rather than to redeem it. Sometimes, this may renew the sense of urgency. But even when this happens, it seems to be natural for this to die, and continue to recur in intervals which become shorter and farther between as one ages.
It seems to be human nature, and it’s appalling to me. People I’ve known, even some in their first year at college, speak like ancient, dejected husks—and even those with lofty goals show little initiative to pursue them. But if it’s not truly unavoidable, and one needs only kill, all at once, whatever self-doubt or social dependence suppresses the urgency, then I’m certain that there is no easy way to do this. No, the only possibility is through one’s raw effort to counteract it—in the pursuit itself.