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Alex Morton
Alex Morton

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Enlightened Self-Interest

This quote serendipitously came into my life recently, and I haven't been able to get it out of my head:

Striving is fine, as long as it's tempered by the realization that, in an entropic universe, the final outcome is out of your control. If you don't waste your energy on variables you cannot influence, you can focus much more effectively on those you can. When you are wisely ambitious, you do everything you can to succeed, but you are not attached to the outcome-- so that if you fail, you will be maximally resilient, able to get up, dust yourself off, and get back in the fray. That, to use a loaded term, is enlightened self-interest.

(Dan Harris, 10% Happier)

If this isn't something that inspires consistent action day after day after day, then I don't know what is.

Each time I come up against something that's really tough right at the beginning, I think of this quote just as my motivation starts to slip. And each time I do something a bit out of my comfort zone (apply to a job that's way out of my league, start in on a complicated side-project, or get rejected in any way), I think of this and of how important not being overly attached to the end result is.

It's a bit like a 'what's the worst that could happen' reminder paired with the idea that everything always works out in the end - and it definitely gives me a healthy dose of perspective to keep on keepin' on.

This post was originally published on February 13, 2020 on my blog.

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