Growing Pains

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Reading this Dalio’s Principles book and I stopped to think, trying to figure out how come he believes people are driven by an innate need to evolve.

I did tweet about it a few times until I realised something that rings true:

Getting to solve more interesting problems than I have now only becomes an option when I am ready and willing to expose myself to the risk of pain and failure. Respectively, it stops being an adventure the second solving these new problems become painless and automatic.

Yet here I think the drive isn’t here “evolution” as he seems to believe, but why not curiosity and wonder?

For a joke, imagine there is a scale which determines whether you are adventurous or not:

Being allergic to pain versus being allergic to boredom

While boredom can become comfortable enough as it provides us the sense of security with its predictability – it comes at a cost – mainly time and health – here I suspect solving the same repetitive problems for an extended period drafts an invitation for Insanity and Alzheimer’s.

So, if you’re more allergic to pain than you are to boredom – you’ll pick comfort. If you are more allergic to boredom than you are to pain – taking on new and strange challenges is something that comes to you naturally.

It could be possible that you don’t feel particularly allergic to either, that can be bad, too. You’re comfortable with where you are, you don’t see that you HAVE TO expose yourself to pain, and you don’t mind being bored, occasionally…

Maybe these states fluctuate. Sometimes you’re more on one side, you nervously stick to everything you know and feel safe with; then you swing to the other – you look for new things, take risks; and sometimes you’ll just take a break from both.

And it very much is possible to be allergic towards both – resulting in behaviours which provide instant gratification. Escaping pain, escaping boredom – party, drugs, alcohol and video games being the perfect realm for it.

Since boredom can become comfortable, maybe the magic cure is to figure out something that makes us a little masochistic – hits our head in the right way to make us want to expose ourselves to the risks of a bit of failure, pain and humiliation.

That’s all a luxury, though – first, you have to survive.

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