For increased clarity.
So we all create these little systems to give ourselves rewards. It’s almost like we’re rats in a maze, but we create the maze, and we decide how much cheese we get at the end (corresponding to the difficulty of the maze). You could say your life goal is to climb Mount Everest, and that takes a lot of time, but then you’ve climbed Mt. Everest and you feel like “Man, I’m amazing!”
And here’s an example that relates to my life a lot: I love skiing. If you’ve been around me for a while or seen my apartment wall (plastered with ski maps) you probably know that. So it’s kind of become a life goal for me to ski as much as possible. I mean, someone asks if you had a million dollars, what would you do? and my stock answer has always been “Go skiing a lot! And then donate some and invest some, etc” - it gives me something to say to answer that question.
More than that, though, it gives me a way to experience a reward. I know that, when I’m skiing, I’m doing a good thing, not in the traditional sense of “doing a good deed” but in the sense of “it’s making me happy.” I know that I’m not missing out on something, because, when I’m skiing, what else would I rather be doing? Nothing! I’d rather be skiing! And it’s pretty easy for me to experience this: just get out to a mountain and buy a lift ticket. Infinite gratification for $39/day!
And I wonder, is this worth pursuing? Clearly not as my ultimate life goal, but as a goal in general, it seems pretty good. I can ski for a long time, (into my late 70’s if I’m badass like my grandparents) and every time I do it, I get better and skiing gets more fun. It’s an arbitrary system of goodness and an arbitrary way to live, but hey, aren’t they all?
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