Brain Food #753
What do you desire?
Thoughts of the day
One of the main messages behind yesterday’s post was that we should not rely on old models and ways of thinking that belong to the past — not just a past situation or environment, but also a past self. Research claims that our personalities do, in fact, change over time (and, thankfully, they get ‘better’, what psychologists call the maturity principle).
If this is true, then our wants can serve as useful north stars and provide a sense of direction but, like maps, they should be revisited from time to time. We are undergoing a constant process of self-renewal, but any narrative, especially that of life itself, requires some sense of continuity.
And so, we need to have frequent interactions with our past selves, made possible through records held in diaries, notes, resolutions, or any other fragments we left behind. If we look closely enough, we will discover we are all storytellers, in our own ways.
I start my end-of-week retrospective with a seemingly simple question: “What do you want?” or, as Alan Watts asked, ‘What do you desire?’
Reading through past answers can help you understand if what you wanted yesterday is still what you want today. And if the answer is no, it is perfectly acceptable to let some wants go.
“The trouble with setting goals it that you’re constantly working toward what you used to want.”
— Sarah Manguso
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