Isn't What You Have Enough?
What if we stopped chasing the undisciplined pursuit of more to fill a void?
Earl Woods, Tigers Dad was 11 when he started to swear at him during training. He would call him a 'little piece of shit' or tell him to 'fuck off'.
To test his mental toughness. He had a code word when Earl had gone too far.
'Enough'. Tiger was proud he never used it.
The problem with Tiger was that win after win, across decades. Nothing was enough. In 2013, when Woods reclaimed the No. 1 spot in the world rankings, Nike released an ad overlaid with a quote from Tiger: “Winning takes care of everything.” Does he still believe that?
Tiger spent his hole entire life chasing being enough through external things, women, approval from his Dad and gold trophies. Only to be left with a damaged reputation, broken family, internal suffering and a big void in his life.
The disease of more.
Maybe You Are Already Enough
The writers Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse Five) and Joseph Heller (Catch-22) were at a glamorous party outside New York City. Standing in the palatial second home of the billionaire host, Vonnegut began to needle his friend. He also described the exchange in a poem published in the New Yorker in 2005:
"Joseph Heller, an important and funny writer
and I were at a party given by a billionaire
on Shelter Island.
I said, “Joe, how does it make you feel
to know that our host only yesterday
may have made more money
than your novel ‘Catch-22’
has earned in its entire history?”
And Joe said, “I’ve got something he can never have.”
And I said, “What on earth could that be, Joe?”
And Joe said, “The knowledge that I’ve got enough.”
–Kurt Vonnegut (The New Yorker, May 16, 2005)
That is just beautiful. Profound.
We might believe there has to be this insecurity around our own achievement to keep improving. Joseph Heller wrote 6 more novels after Catch-22, including a best seller. From a place of satisfaction, that allowed him to do his best work.
How can you fully love what you're doing if all you are is sucked up by the people that shine 'above' you?
The Coaches Disease of More
When I just win one more championship I'll feel satisfied.
When I become a Head Coach I'll be happy.
When I work at a big time school I will feel better about myself.
No you won't. All you will do is move onto the next shiny object.
We look at the people we aspire to be and believe they must so fulfilled, their life must be perfect. It's not even close to accurate. Most are consumed by what more has to be done, what the next thing has to be pursued. They're looking at the people ahead of them. They have their own damn problems.
"When you realise there is nothing lacking, the world belongs to you." - Lao Tzu
The Way of the Superior
The more you 'need', the more it's going to hurt when it gets taken away. The more you are living based upon things that are partially outside your control.
David Deida said in The Way of the Superior Man, so eloquently:
“The superior man is not seeking for fulfilment through work and woman, because he is already full. For him, work and intimacy are opportunities to give his gifts, and be vanished in the bliss of the giving.”
Like children on the beach, totally encapsulated by the simplicity of making sandcastles. They understand (sometimes) the impermanence - yet can totally be present and satisfied with the process of building something beautiful.
It will be enough, and it will be washed away into nothing. And that is absolutely fine.
Being enough comes from the inside. Worship money and things, you will always be poor. Worship beauty and you will always be ugly. Worship power and status, you will always feel weak and inferior. And so on.
You already have what you need, it doesn't mean you can't chase, but the more you see yourself somewhat content with what is already around you - you can't be trapped by the endless pursuit of more.
You are enough.