Are You a Lover or a Fighter?
Imagine you are playing a video game.
Imagine it's one of those games where you get to create the character you will play the game with.
What character would you create?
How different is that character from you, today?
Now imagine you aren't playing a video game. You're living real life. Which character are you creating to go about in the world?
We don't realize it, but we are continually creating the character that is us. Many of us go about living our life without realizing that we can actually change the character we play with.
We can create the characters we want to become and then take the habits to become those characters. It's surprisingly easy in theory, and unsurprisingly takes hard work in practice.
So here's my question to you:
To be happy, successful, alive life... your answer should be both.
This is part 3 of my series on happiness. You can find part 1 here. And part 2 here.
Here are my last two ways to maximize your aliveness, happiness, and meaning. I am convinced that to reach our full potential in this world, we all have to simultaneously be lovers and fighters. I will be writing about both of these ideas in depth in future newsletters, but here's a synopsis.
1. The Way of the Warrior
"This is your path and you will pursue it with excellence. You face your fear because your goal demands it. That is the goddamn warrior spirit." - Alex Honnold, Free Solo
"A harmless man is not a good man. A good man is a very dangerous man who has that under voluntary control" - Jordan Peterson
Sometimes you have to be a fighter (or a warrior). In today's world warrior energy is demonized. As I said in my letter called Why You Should Embrace Your Inner Warrior:
We see bad people doing violent, aggressive things and assume it’s because of the “warrior energy”. But they aren’t true warriors.
Good conflict is necessary. Justified anger can create a revolution. Creative destruction is necessary to birth a better world.
We must define our values and fight against evil whenever we can. We can and must be courageous. A hidden life of courage is a noble one, even if nobody knows about it.
It's scientifically proven that an easy life is not a meaningful one. If we make our lives easier, we may gain some happiness in the short term, but we lose it in the long term.
To find meaning and long term happiness, be a warrior.
Take responsibility for your lives and make it better. Use the tools of a warrior namely courage, strength, and discipline to shape the reality around you.
We are living in a spiderweb world, each thing we do (or don't do) creates a small tingling that can be felt on the other sides of the web.
We all collectively do shape and will shape the world around us.
Learn to love the challenges. Learn to love meaningful difficulty.
2. The Life of a Lover
“Sell your cleverness and purchase bewilderment.” -Rumi
"The art of seeing has to be learned.” - Marguerite Duras, The Lover
I've written about this incessantly in my post about Why Great Beauty is in the day to day and my post about the Great Beauty Journal.
To be a lover means to be a lover of life, but it also means to be a lover of people.
One of the biggest markers of happiness is how deep a person's relationships are with their friends and family.
How do you get deeper relationships?
Well, in today's world we all expect our parents, our siblings, and our significant others to save us. But love is about loving not about being loved. To be a lover, you have to share what's alive in you with others.
I talked about this all the way back in April in this post.
I read a book by Erich Fromm called the Art of Loving and it gave me a lot to think about.
Here are a couple quotes:
“Love is primarily giving, not receiving…Some make a virtue out of giving in the sense of a sacrifice….For them, the norm that it is better to give than to receive means that it is better to suffer deprivation than to experience joy. For the productive character, giving has an entirely different meaning…Giving is more joyous than receiving, not because it is a deprivation, but because in the act of giving lies the expression of aliveness.”
“He gives him of that which is alive in him; he gives him of his joy, of his interest, of his understanding, of his knowledge, of his humor, of his sadness — of all expressions and manifestations of that which is alive in him. In thus giving of his life, he enriches the other person, he enhances the other’s sense of aliveness by enchanting his own sense of aliveness. He does not give in order to receive; giving is in itself exquisite joy.” - Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving
Next time you interact with someone, ask yourself are you expecting them to share their aliveness with you? Or are you enriching the other person by sharing your aliveness?
I will be writing more about warriors and lovers as I am trying to be both a lover and fighter in my own life.
I find that greatness is all about the when. To be great you have to know when to embody the lover and when to embody the warrior. You have to be a paradox capable of strength, courage, and daring but also capable of love, flow, and presence.
And this concludes my series of the secrets of happiness. Next week, we will be back to the shorter more focused posts.
But before then I wanted to ask:
Are there any secrets in your life that make you happier and more alive?
I would love to hear them.
Talk to you next week ,