Posted by: James Shannon | February 12, 2010

Why Pursue Excitement? Because Telling the Grandkids About the Season Finale of the 6th Season of Survivor doesn’t Cut it Somehow…

lifwelwas_poeDon’t sell your life short. There’s a world outside your TV room that begs to be explored… (image source)

Tonight, I write about a philosophically intimidating question:

Why?

Why should I care?

Why is pursuing excitement important?

Why bother?  Life’s too stressful / scary / out of control…

Pursuing excitement is important because in the absence of it, boredom takes root.  Think of boredom as an internal rot, eating away your soul bit by bit.  Think of the last time you were bored … didn’t you feel desperate to do something to stimulate your senses?  It’s not a good place to be — so we search for activities to fill that void.

The problem with this approach is  that we often take the path of least resistance to fill that spiritual void, turning to TV/idle internet surfing or other passive entertainment sources to quench our boredom.  While indulging in these activities isn’t necessarily bad in small doses, the problem lies in using them as a fallback every time we experience boredom.  By hooking ourselves up to The Box (television OR computer), we stifle our creative side, we learn little (because what we learn is very unfocused and not self-initiated, it’s hard to make the pieces fit together in a way that facilitates learning), and our muscles atrophy from disuse.

When we pursue excitement deliberately, we engage in an active learning process. When we climb a rock wall for example, especially when starting out for the first time, we engage in a process of trial and error, developing new body use/brain patterns.  Adrenaline is released, charging us up in a way that no car chase in a movie can reproduce.  Once we reach the top of the wall, a sense of accomplishment that cannot be matched by watching your team win the championship 5 times in a row — is produced.

roccliwalbeg_poeJoin Meetup and connect with groups that can ease you into activities like rock climbing … it’s easier than you think! (image source)

But we still are hooked on TV in spite of this.  Why?

Because we perceive it to be easier to live vicariously through the amazing people we see on the air, than to go out and do it ourselves.

There is one sub-surface feeling though that clings to us while we watch though, that causes us anxiety that builds slowly yet surely with every passing year.

Regret.

We want to do these amazing things — travel to exotic places, possess the dream job, be known by people the world over — and under the surface we know that we have what it takes to make these dreams come true.

But self-doubt and fear of failure loom like executioners in the shadows, seemingly waiting to cut us down if we dare to try to do what we what to do with our lives.  These bogeymen keep us where we are, while the real enemies, boredom and regret, hollow out our souls day in and night out.

Pursue what excites you, actively, today.  Or end up regretting you didn’t hike up that gorgeous mountain in Indonesia 30 years ago — because your body is now withered and stricken by terminal heart disease.  Because you didn’t go for it then, you lie in your hospital bed — bored out of your skull…

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