The Desire For More
I’m not that picky of a guy. I don’t run around wishing for more of the same. Or more money. Or more women. Or more pleasures. One can get too carried away with that type of stuff. It’s not exactly that fulfilling to keep on wishing for more or for more good stuff to happen in your life.
It’s like being on a treadmill with a carrot dangling in front of you. You work tirelessly to achieve that carrot, and then once you get that carrot, you’re offered a larger more enticing carrot far off in the distance! It’s like a never ending journey where you are never satisfied and just simply eat more and more carrots for the sake of eating.
It doesn’t sound like a desirable way to live. I used that word again. Desire. What exactly is desire exactly? And is it good or bad? Or a double-edged sword?
After all, who doesn’t want more. We work our way through life trying to achieve more. Trying to gain more. Trying to wish for more. For ourselves. For our families. For our communities. This desire for more leads us to innovate, to improve, to better ourselves as a human race.
Countless scientific discoveries, breakthroughs in medical science, and technological innovations have happened because the human race’s collective “desire” for improvement. For more. It’s what keeps us alive and prosperous. It’s what makes USA the most powerful country in the world. It’s what makes a capitalist system thriving.
So, this desire for more isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s parade here. It just seems like it needs to be tempered with a little bit of skepticism. Like everything in this world - it’s not the end all be all cure of everything. The desire for improvement is good when taken in reasonable doses.
But, when it runs out of proportion. When this desire is what encompasses your entire life, it could be more of a problem than a solution. The desire for more has also led to greed and corruption in the political system. It has led to politicians currying monetary favors from lobbyist groups - and bettering their personal lives instead of the lives of the people whom they serve.
The desire for more has led to needless wars and doctrines that have led to the suffering of countless lives. It has led to political and racial tension. It has led to a constant unwavering need for peace throughout the world. The desire for more has led to anxiety. Has led to dissatisfaction of the present. Has led to the feeling that “if only I can achieve this or have that, then my life would be okay.”
It’s consumerism at its best and the worst. It’s what makes commercials so eloquent and seductive - leading us to purchase countless useless things via Amazon or Target or other retailers. This desire has preyed upon us from the very beginning - when teachers ask us what we want to be in our life. It has led to goal setting and reaching for the stars - when the Earth would suffice.
Again, it’s not all that bad. It’s just wise to rein it in every once in a while. Personally, for me, I’ve been victim to this mental attitude as well. I’ve wanted big things when I was young. I thought I was special. After all, I excelled in schoolwork and academically. I was at the top of my class. I didn’t know what I wanted exactly, but I felt like I was destined for big things. I thought I was going to be a superstar. A supernova. A cataclysmic all-encompassing hero.
Little did I know, that when I reached college, I was surrounded by supernovas. Stars that shone megawatts brighter than I ever could. And I was stunned and discouraged - partly because of my desire for superstardom. My expectations had been shattered by the geniuses that surrounded me at Cornell.
The desire for more had consumed me and led to a sense of inadequacy for the present. Like I was not enough. And as a result, social anxiety followed me for a multitude of years. I was blinded and confused with where to go now, with this desire for more dashed and suspended. I was looking for guidance and it took me awhile to adjust course and find a new desire.
It was not an epiphany nor a one-hit wonder but a constant struggle. This desire for challenge. For growth. For improvement led me to Toastmasters. Led me to develop and practice my public speaking skills in a supportive environment. Allowed me to nurture myself with like-minded individuals. Allowed me to battle through my social anxiety and hone my self-confidence.
The desire for more had propelled me instead of held me back, in this case. It was a double-edged sword. One that can give back as much as it could take away. So, what exactly is the moral of the story in this case? What is the lesson learned for me?
Well, I learned that the desire for more, if used well, can lead to positive change. And can have a lasting impact of service and helpfulness. The desire for more, if focused more on others rather than oneself, can lead to a mentality of giving back to the community. This desire is not something that we can nor should get rid of.
After all, it has led to our human race being where we are right now. With medical breakthroughs, technological innovations, and some of the most peaceful times throughout world history that we can ever imagine.
The desire for more, like many things, need to be used in the proper direction. Exactly what “proper” means is in the eye of the beholder. But, I trust that as a collective human race, we will harness this desire for growth, peace, and the spirit of giving back.