“People wish to be settled; only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
I love the irony about our modern culture, we do everything we can so we can live “comfortable” lives, but once we get there, we get bored and unhappy. That is of course, if we ever even achieve that because most people will always have ever fleeting goals and ambitions about this life of “comfort and luxury” that they see in the media. It becomes like the carrot on the stick, every time you get close to catching it, it moves further away from you. I am sure you have heard this before, its the reason materialism can’t bring us happiness; and yet we all strive for it nonetheless. There are so many unhappy people out there in the developed world, and I would argue that there are equal amount of people with untapped potential. Why is that? how did we get here? how can we ever get out?
There are many reason as to how we got here but the main reason I want to talk about is the fear of discomfort. We are terrified of leaving our comfort zone, we are terrified to meet new people, go to new places, or travel to new countries; we are basically terrified of everything. This is largely due to the media and how we only see the bad side, simply because the good side is not interesting enough to get viewers. We have build a wall around us that blocks out anything that we are not used to. Everyone back at home asked me if it was safe out there when I was in South East Asia, that was always a question that kept on coming up over and over. To tell you the truth, I felt more safe out there than I have in some parts of Los Angeles or even some parts of San Diego. It is all in our heads; the mind is a powerful tool but if not trained, it can work against you. As a society, we have gotten to a state of living that we don’t need to keep on hunting and gathering constantly in order to provide food for ourselves and our families and as a result we have lost that inner drive. We have convinced ourselves to not strive for more and have suppressed that “will to grow” within ourselves. Some have tried to aim it at mental growth such as reading and acquiring knowledge. That is great and I love learning and mental stimulation too, but there is a limit to how much we can achieve from our arm chairs at home or in the office. Each unique experience holds so many different levels of reality, that you will never be able to learn from books, pictures, movies, or even VR. You can learn all there is to know about the lower calf creek falls but you will never be able to tell me the aroma that each rock, moss, plant, bug, dirt, and sand adds to the atmosphere, you can’t tell me how each droplets of mist feel crashing against your skin as the wind hurls them in every direction, you can never feel the immense pressure of the falls pulling you down as you get closer and closer to the base, and you can never tell me about the inner peace you feel when you sit there and realize that all those elements have combined perfectly in that moment just for you.
So what is the moral of the story? It sounds cliché but go out there and get out of your comfort zone, challenge yourself, go to a new city, discover a new waterfall, meet new people, do something real and you will see how your mind, body and spirit grows from it. Once you get a taste of it, you will want to keep challenging yourself, and the more you do it the more you grow. You will realize that you are becoming a more complete person, and if you think about it, is there a better goal in life than to become a whole and complete person?
P.S. Yes I did really swim to the bass of the waterfall, here’s a picture if you don’t believe me! :p (Also be safe when you are trying new things, use common sense and your best judgment)